Music is deeply embedded in Berlin’s culture, with world-renowned musicians of all genres regularly gracing the many stages the city has to offer. From underground dive bars to opera-singer-worthy venues, Culture Trip has picked the best places to experience Berlin’s live music scene for yourself.
The vibrant and international music hub that is Germany’s capital city has been gathering fans for decades. Musicians from around the world flock to the city’s eclectic music scene, adding their style to an already strong local community. Music pumps out of the city’s myriad bars and venues on a daily basis; from classical concerts and iconic pop bands to the latest DJ beats, Berlin has it all.
Kallasch and Moabiter Barprojekt, Unionstrasse
Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
This retro-chic bar in the relatively undiscovered Moabit neighbourhood offers a collection of musical options. Free open mic nights on the last Thursday of each month will have you singing along with your newfound bar friends. And while singer-songwriters are the main bookings, you’re also likely to hear blues, jazz and folk acts. Further your musical knowledge by taking part in their musical bingo and quizzes; just make sure to check the schedule ahead of time to find out what’s on.
Steeped in history, the Quasimodo Club is located in the basement of former 1920s dance hall, the Delphi Filmpalast. Just off Kurfürstendamm, it’s the ideal spot to rest your legs after perusing the street’s shops. The Berlin jazz club opened in the late 1960s in what was then the centre of West Berlin, and has offered live music every night of the week ever since. Branching away from its jazz-only early days, the club now also offers other music genres, including funk and soul. Famous names such as Prince and Chet Baker have taken to the stage in this unmissable stylish spot.
Don a suit or dress and make your way to the Philharmonic hall for world-renowned classical music concerts. Orchestras, opera singers and musicians from around the world have played at the Berlin Philharmonic. Its architectural design alone will have you dropping your jaw: the orchestra plays from the centre of the hall, allowing the audience incredible 360-degree views of the stage. The hall’s tent-shaped ceiling and gently sloping walls beautifully house its 2,440 terraced seats. Pro tip: Every Tuesday at 1pm, the Philharmonic offers a free 45-minute-long chamber concert in its main foyer.
The concert space at Silent Green is truly one to behold. The live music venue in Berlin’s up-and-coming Wedding district started its life in 1911 as the city’s first crematorium. Since 2013 however, people have flocked to its doors for a very different experience. The main hall’s domed ceiling offers an incredibly atmospheric experience, which is further enriched by incredible acoustics. Not only does Silent Green put on incredible concerts of varied music genres, but they are also the current home of record label !K7 Records, which has represented artists like Nick Cave.
Just a stone’s throw from Berlin restaurant haven Boxhagener Platz, you’ll most likely hear indie-rock and pop tunes blasting out from the relaxed Astra Kulturhaus. On any given night of the week, this well-established Friedrichshain concert venue offers live music acts from between €10-€40 (£8.50-£34), and has previously hosted renowned bands such as Death Cab for Cutie and The Whitest Boy Alive. It’s best to buy your ticket well in advance to secure a spot, and aim to arrive early to enjoy the beers from as low as €3 (£2.55) in the private biergarten.
This popular Neukölln establishment first opened its doors in 1880 as the concert venue, Neue Welt. Its current name only came to life around 100 years later, when it officially reopened as Huxleys Neue Welt – locally known as Huxleys. Steeped in history, it’s hosted political meetings, served as a military hospital during World War I, and was bombed during World War II. More recently, the hall has welcomed huge rock and pop talent such as Jimi Hendrix, Patti Smith and the Dire Straits, and it still invites famous bands and musicians to its historical hall.
It’s hard to miss the Tempodrom with its strikingly white tent-shaped roof. Situated near Potsdamer Platz, it’s a short hop away from many of Berlin’s historical sights such as Checkpoint Charlie and the Brandenburg Gate. Built as a modern-day amphitheatre, sounds echo and boom around its main hall, the Great Arena, guaranteed to send shivers down your spine. There’s something for everyone here as concerts vary from classical music to rock bands, and tickets sell in the mid-to-high price range.
A list of Berlin music venues would be incomplete without its most famous club, Berghain. Based in a former power station in Friedrichshain, this is the place to go to listen to techno music; be prepared to delve into its hedonistic scene as your body sways to the weekend-long beats. But be aware that it’s notoriously hard to gain entry, as its gatekeepers are seriously selective. The club opens from midnight on Friday and stays open until Monday morning. It’s so well-established in the Berlin music and cultural scene that it has been granted a similar cultural status to the Opera House.
Based on a static boat on the Spree River that was built in 1928, Hoppetosse is a truly unique location for a night out in Berlin. Make the most of the boat’s outdoor deck or look out over the river from inside the boat. Hoppetosse is owned by the famous Club Der Visionäre and, keeping its DJ list lean, Hoppetosse focusses on minimalist house and techno music. Dance the night away to Berlin favourites as well as a rotating cast of international names.