Berlin is famous for techno, but knowing where to go in a city so full of clubs can be a challenge. Read on for the best techno clubs in the German capital – and get ready for a night (or weekend) to remember.
Berlin’s club scene is known around the world, and for good reason – this city took techno to new heights. If you want to experience the techno-club scene yourself, you won’t be lacking for spaces to dance the night away. Conveniently, most of the clubs lie in a cluster along the banks of the River Spree – from the legendary Tresor to the exclusive Berghain. Just remember to do as the Berliners do: dress casually (preferably in black), leave the heels at home and please don’t rock up to the bouncer wasted. After all, with parties that sometimes start on Friday and end on Monday, clubbing in Berlin is a marathon, not a sprint.
Berghain is Berlin’s most iconic club – getting through the notoriously difficult bouncer and into the club is a rite of passage here. The queue might be long, especially on tourist-heavy Friday and Saturday nights, but you’ll up your chances of getting in if you wear black and act nonchalant. Once inside, expect a variety of spaces to dance in, including the main techno hall, Panorama (nominated for the 2017 Club of the Year at the Electronic Music Awards) and Lab.Oratory, a gay sex club with occasional themed nights (anything goes in Berlin, but you will be expected to dress the part).
Opened in 1994, KitKatClub is one of Berlin’s most well-known clubs. It embodies the inclusive, permissive spirit that defines so much of Berlin; sex, fetish clothing and an open mind are highly encouraged. Although bouncers are quite strict here, expect a friendly vibe once you’re past the cloakroom, where you’ll undoubtedly be among those shedding some layers before hitting the dance floor. Here, you’ll see all ages, body types and a broad spectrum of genders and sexualities represented (KitKatClub is queer-friendly, though some nights skew a little more towards the LGBTQ crowd). Once in, with techno beats pumping and whimsical lights, it feels like you’re dancing with friends. Off the dance floor, it’s up to each person to participate as much or as little as they want in any further activities – consent here is strictly emphasised, with no pressure to participate. Just keep in mind some nights swing a little sexier than others.
Located near the banks of the Spree in Mitte, Tresor is one of the original Berlin techno clubs and has been around since the ‘big bang’ of the city’s post-unification club scene – ‘legendary’ isn’t too strong of a word to describe it. For around 30 years, it’s been pumping out pulsating tracks, as well as producing its own via the house record label. Although Tresor’s original incarnation was in the vaults of an East Berlin department store, it’s been in a former abandoned power plant since 2007. The industrial aesthetics are still here: expect red lights and a labyrinth of concrete tunnels that connect three separate floor areas for dancing. Whether you’re after house, experimental electronic or – through a 30-metre tunnel – that classic Tresor techno in the club’s main vault, this world-renowned nightspot has a dance floor for you.
Once an illegal club, ://about blank’s programming mostly revolves around house and techno, but it cuts loose once in a while with the occasional disco night. Located near Salon Zur Wilden Renate, it has two main dance floors filled with Berliners, plenty of nooks to stumble upon and a garden where DJs spin during the summer. It’s open in the winter, too, where clubgoers can take a break around a bonfire. This spot is also a great space for the LGBTQ community, with plenty of dedicated queer club nights. Just come prepared for a long night, as many parties go into the following day (and not just early morning).
Located at the foot of Kreuzberg’s landmark bridge, Oberbaümbrucke, Watergate looks out over the River Spree as it cuts through Berlin’s centre, giving you a nocturnal view of Europe’s nightlife capital as you dance until the early hours. And it’s the place to go if you’re a true devotee of techno. The bouncers have been known to ask would-be clubgoers who’s on the bill to make sure people are coming for the music, not just a night out, so it’s best to research the line-up. After all, well-known international DJs have taken turns at this club, and a night here is often cheaper than going to see them in concert. Erick Morillo and Adam Freeland have made appearances, and Alle Farben, Pan-Pot and Sven Väth have played here, too. Catch the beats inside on the illuminated dance floor, or head outside to the terrace right on the water.
Like many Berlin clubs, Salon Zur Wilden Renate has an interesting story behind its location. This club occupies an old apartment building, making for an Alice in Wonderland-type experience, especially on nights when the quarterly House of Red Doors’ themed party takes over. Inside is a maze of interconnected rooms across three storeys, with DJs playing techno, house and some trippy disco. There’s also an outdoor courtyard with a bar if you need a break from the crowds (another good option is the tiny basement bar located just off it). It’s a great pick for hedonists looking to explore their innermost desires.
If you have a weekend to dance away, you’ll want to head to Kater Blau – a Spree-side spot that has an arty, upbeat vibe, making it a pleasant change from the gritty, industrial energy of most techno clubs in Berlin. Located in Holzmarkt, a quirky oasis-like urban village, Kater Blau plays techno, house and electronic music. Dance floors start inside and head outside, where guests get down on the deck of a boat permanently stationed on the river. The club is open from Friday night through to Saturday afternoon before reopening around midnight to carry the dance party through to Monday night.