Of course, the list has to include the Promised Land of Techno — Berghain. Before making it into the holy halls of Berghain, you will have to wait patiently in line and get pass the bouncer Sven Marquardt (read this first about what he won’t like about you before trying). The inside promises some hard techno beats, dark rooms, ice cream bars and a place where you can easily forget time and space. Their excellent lineups and residents like Ben Klock and Marcel Dettman are a magnet for people to spend their weekends in Berghain.
Berghain, Am Wriezener Bahnhof, Berlin, Germany, +49 30 29360210
Kater Blau is the newer club or playground at the former Bar 25 (watch the movie to get the best impression possible). It has a completely different vibe than Berghain. Kater has a big outside area, a ship you can sit in, a swing in front of the restrooms to enjoy while you the wait and a small café that serves excellent pizza. Katermukke is the label belonging to the club; its regular label nights with DJs like Mira, Dirty Doering or Britta Arnold are always worth visits. And it’s one of the best places to spend a real Berliner Sunday.
Sisyphos is probably the place where half of Berlin spends their summers. The club’s outside area is huge; there’s a beach, an old VW van (you can sit in it or on top), a small hill to relax on and, of course, it’s even better to be there during the day than at night. But the nights are also worth staying until the sun goes down. The ‘Hammerhalle’ is one of the biggest dance floors in Berlin and will blow your ears off with their amazing sound system. If you don’t like it that hard, the ‘Wintergarten’ is the perfect place to enjoy smooth techno and deep house.
Sisyphos, Hauptstraße 15, Berlin, Germany, +49 30 98366839
Salon Zur Wilden Renate
The ‘Renate,’ as you call it in Berlin, is a rebuilt one-family house in Friedrichshain. Its charm consists of small rooms, either dance floors or places to hang out, cozy couches, benches and even beds, where you can take a break from dancing. The rooms’ décor and furniture will make you believe that you’re in your grandmother’s living room — in a club. In summer, people chill in Renate’s garden, sit in a wooden boat (boats are apparently a thing in Berlin’s clubs) or take photos in a photo booth.
Salon Zur Wilden Renate, Alt-Stralau 70, Berlin, Germany, +49 30 25041426
While Renate just looks like your living room, Golden Gate might become your actual living room. When everything else closes or you’re out of energy, Golden Gate is the last stop. The club is tiny, perfect to feel as comfortable as a home. The club normally supports not so big and well-known DJs, which is definitely not a bad thing. People don’t go to Golden Gate because of the music; they go because of the atmosphere, which is best on Thursdays and Sundays — it’s almost familiar. However, don’t be that demanding with the toilets and don’t take a closer look.
Golden Gate, Schicklerstraße 4, Berlin, Germany, +49 30 57704278
Watergate is probably listed in every travel guide about Berlin. Don’t freak out because of the long line full of tourists at the Oberbaumbrücke — that does not necessarily have to be a bad sign. Watergate’s bookers do an outstanding job with their renowned bookings from all over the world. Pan Pot, Stephan Bodzin and Ellen Allien are just a few to name who are regularly booked by Watergate. If you want to hear some nice tech house with a great view over the Spree, Watergate is the best place. The ‘Waterfloor’ downstairs is set directly at the water, perfect to watch the sun rise and dance along the Spree.
Watergate, Falckensteinstraße 49, Berlin, Germany, +49 30 6128 0394
The About Blank is a club located at Ostkreuz in Friedrichshain. The best parties in About Blank are definitely ‘Grizzly Nation,’ which takes place once a year at the end of September for a whole weekend, and its famous ‘Staub’ parties, which occur once a month. To get to know About Blank’s real vibe, go to a Staub party, held on Saturdays during the day. The music is excellent — mostly unknown but highly talented techno DJ’s make you want to dance all day long. One tip: inform yourself about the events going on when you want to get in, as the bouncers like to give a little quiz — they only let people in who know what’s going on inside.
Club der Visionäre
As stated previously, one-half of Berlin spends their summer in Sisyphos. The other half is definitely in Club der Visionäre or CdV, as you call it in Berlin. It’s not actually a classic club, but the great outside area and the crowd are a winning team. CdV opens at three in the afternoon, and people go there after work to have a beer. They also might come straight out of a different club for an afterhour in the sun, or people meet because they want to go out later. Not everyone will likely leave this place to go to another venue because it’s too good. However, if they do leave, the only reason might have to do with their sound system — the music is not loud enough at night.
Club der Visionäre, Am Flutgraben 1, Berlin, Germany, +49 30 69518942