There are two commonly asked questions at the front of the Berghain queue. The first is ‘How many people?’ and the second is usually ‘Who are you here to see tonight?’ If you can’t name at least one of the DJs playing, then it’s very likely you’ll be on the receiving end of a head-shaking ‘no’ from the bouncers.
But it definitely won’t hurt to try. Or, at very least know the phrase: ‘Sorry, I don’t speak German’ – or ‘Tut mir Leid, ich spreche kein Deutsch.’ So, while it is true that it isn’t necessary to speak German to get into Berghain, politeness definitely plays a part and showing that you are making an effort can make all the difference.
If you want to be smart about it, there are certain times when you are much more likely to get into Berghain. On a Saturday night, or Sunday morning, when the lines are the longest, it’s far more likely you will be turned down. However, going very early on Sunday morning or very late on Saturday night is often a sweet spot. The line is considerably smaller and the Sunday mid-morning crowd hasn’t descended yet.
At the end of the day, even with its cult following and amazing techno, Berghain is still just a club. So relax, most people get knocked back because they look completely out of their comfort zone, and no amount of black clothing or leather can hide it. Take a deep breath and remember, for all the rejection stories, it’s still one of the most frequented clubs in Berlin, so the odds are in your favour.
Rejection is always a little soul-crushing. But, sometimes it does come down to luck: maybe Berghain was too full, perhaps there is a big guest list, or maybe you looked too bewildered. Sometimes the key is persistence. If you get knocked back, go back for round two – worst case is you will be rejected again. Often if you are, the bouncers will tell you why, and at least then you’ll know for next time.
As Sven Marquardt, the world famous Berghain bouncer said, he doesn’t like pastels and will never wear boat shoes. So, while the door staff are keen to point out that they welcome diversity, it helps to have a certain edge when trying to get into Berghain. Embracing your personal style is encouraged, however, having an ultra-preppy style probably won’t translate into the hard techno atmosphere of Berghain.
If you want to get into Berghain, go easy on the pre-drinks. While it is a symbol of hedonistic culture, Berghain embodies a very Berlin approach to partying, which is: enjoy yourself, but be respectful. If you are extremely drunk in the line, it is very likely you will be rejected.
Many people attest that to get into Berghain you have to wear black. In fact, while Berlin black is recommended, having your own personal style will probably work in your favour when you’re at the front of the Berghain queue.
Berghain’s culture is built upon the people who love to rave, and their strict door policy pays homage to that. The club is meant for techno-lovers and people who are all about the music. And they aren’t wearing this season’s latest fashion, they’re wearing what is most comfortable to rave in for 12-plus hours.
Berghain’s door policy might seem strict, but it’s nothing compared to the strict no photo or video policy once you enter. If you manage to pass through the maze of bouncers at its entrance, you will be met with a rigorous bag search and people taping stickers over your phone’s camera. Why? Because the cardinal rule of Berghain is no photos or videos. So, if you want to get in, keep your phone in your pockets and refrain from any selfies until after you’ve left.
It might sound obvious, but if you genuinely want to get into Berghain to experience its amazing sound system, world-class DJs and mecca of technoculture, then you will. Most of the regulars are music nerds, Berlin lovers and techno worshippers, their styles and appearances differ, but Berghain is built on diversity. So, if you’re excited to experience the club, for all it has to offer, the likelihood is that you will.