In the early 2010s, Berlin started getting a bit more expensive, so artists and entrepreneurs looked for places where cheap, atelier-appropriate real estate abounded. Leipzig was just such the place, and these days, the 1,000-year-old city is hopping. Clubs have sprung up in random locations and are attracting top-level DJs. There are clubs well established on the scene, like the Distillery, but also many upstarts keeping things fresh. Here are eight clubs in Leipzig worth getting your hand stamped for.
The Distillery is one of the oldest clubs going. Reasonable drink prices, a non-snobby crowd, and cool location give this club a sort of living room, family vibe. Occasionally, star DJs like Ellen Allien, Carl Craig, and Richie Hawtin make an appearance, but more often the club makes space for musical experiments in techno, house, drum’n’bass and hip-hop.
This venue is located in a self-governed cultural center in Connewitz, Leipzig’s headquarters for alternative lifestyles. It hosts concerts of all kinds, from indie and pop shows to experimental, hardcore, and metal gigs. It also throws some of the most interesting house, techno, and drum’n’bass events in town. There is also a skate park.
The newest addition to the Leipzig club scene, Täubchenthal has blossomed out of a former industrial estate, making it one of the larger non-arena venues in the city. The main hall now features two massive chandelier light sculptures that give the place a cosy, chill vibe. Even the bathrooms are interesting – sometimes DJs play their sets from there.
This club is another one of the grandfathers of the Leipzig scene. Its owners relocated to western Leipzig before it was cool and now oversee the most sought-after minimal, techno and house parties in the city. There are also drum’n’bass nights and electroswing events. The DJs are often from the area though acts like Oliver Koletzki, DJ Hell and Onur Özer do make appearances.
As is the case with many of Europe’s prized nightclubs, the Institut Für Zukunft employs a no-photos rule and a strict door policy. The club aims to offer an alternative to the existing club scene, so its bookings favor functional and experimental incarnations of house and techno from a variety of world-renowned and local DJs. They also host lectures and debates about gender issues, club culture, and electronic music.
Not an actual street, but the local name for all the bars, restaurants, clubs and cafés jammed into the tiny Fleischergasse, Barfußgässchen and Klostergasse just off the main market square. German locals call it Das Drallewatsch, which means something in the direction of pub crawl. If sitting under patio heaters sipping Hemingway Sours while the jazz band noodles away downstairs sounds like a good time, then this is the part of town for you. It’s also useful as a warm-up to a longer club evening.
Techno, electro and their siblings are very popular in Germany, but it is possible to find clubs that play hip hop and other kinds of urban music. The club Velvet is right in the centre, which is good considering tequila and vodka are the drinks of choice. Lots of body contact on the dance floor and unisex toilets mean there’s no telling what the night will bring.
Where the beautiful people go to meet other beautiful people and do beautiful people things. Like buying extortionately priced bottles of champagne. Black and red upholstery is bathed in blue light, giving the place a sort of classy strip club vibe. Seats in the Grey Goose corner come with at 50€ minimum per person. VIP reservations can be had for a 75€ per person minimum.