The Quirkiest, Most Alternative Clubs in Berlin

Step higher Rave at Cassiopeia | © Robert Agthe / Flickr
Step higher Rave at Cassiopeia | © Robert Agthe / Flickr | © Robert Agthe / Flickr
Photo of Alice Dundon
27 March 2018

Berlin has one of the most diverse, alternative and electric nightlife scenes in Europe. Extending far beyond the famed techno haunts, the clubber culture is as rich and quirky as the people who call the city home. If you’re looking to party in a former bowling alley, explore your kinks in a safe environment, or lose yourself in live music, then we’ve searched out just the clubs for you.

Gretchen

Nightclub, Fusion, $$$
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Gretchen champions alternative music genres
Interior of Club Gretchen in Berlin, Germany | © dpa picture alliance / Alamy Stock Photo

Housed in former military stables, Gretchen is a mixed-genre music club and live music venue. The program covers everything from electronica, trap and house to experimental, avant-garde, funk and hip-hop. Located in Kreuzberg, the club has two floors, an outdoor courtyard and an industrial vibe, with a vaulted ceiling and thick, concrete columns.

KitKat

Nightclub, European, $$$
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KitKat is a fetish and techno club, that was opened by Austrian pornographic filmmaker Simon Thaur and Kirsten Krüger, his life partner. The music selection rarely deviates from techno and it’s normal to see people completely naked or in fetish wear. While you don’t have to disrobe to join the party, there is a general rule that you can only enter with an open mind, and on some club nights only with kinky wear. The motto of the club is “do what you want but stay in communication,” which reflects its extraordinarily open persona.

Ficken 3000

Nightclub, Fusion
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Ficken 3000 is an eclectic, underground club popular among gay men. With an inclusive and laid-back atmosphere, the club is open to everyone, except for the dark room, which is closed to people who identify as strictly heterosexual. The music program is diverse, including pop, experimental, disco and more. This club represents the permissive and open attitude many equate with Berlin.

Cassiopeia

Nightclub, Bar, Fusion, $$$
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Cassiopeia | © Aires Almeida / Flickr
Where suburbia meets nightlife, Cassiopeia gathers alternative souls from all corners of Berlin. Located down in the RAW courtyard, covered by ingenious graffiti and hidden beneath an old brick structure, this place screams boho, and gathers trashy-punk-pop party-goers, uniting all wild and raw souls who want to get a taste of the Friedrichshain life. Home of countless parties, but also with a milder touch in the summertime, Cassiopeia also boasts an amazing beer garden that is unique in both atmosphere and location.

OHM

Nightclub, Fusion
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Live DJ performance | © Pexels / Pixabay
OHM, formerly known as Shift, is located in a repurposed battery room of a disused power plant. Both an art and party space, this club is best known for its vibrant atmosphere and electronic-centric parties that regularly draw in Berlin’s techno kids.

YAAM Berlin

Art Gallery, Music Venue
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Outside YAAM in Berlin
Outside YAAM in Berlin | © Gerrit Burow / Flickr
YAAM, short for the Young and African Arts Market, has been around for over 15 years and is an important part of Berlin’s multicultural landscape. This multipurpose venue houses a beach, African street food, art markets and regular live concerts and parties. Considered a melting pot of culture, it’s the perfect chill-out spot in Berlin.

Arkaoda Berlin

Nightclub, Fusion
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Located in a former bowling alley in Neukölln, the newly opened Arkaoda is the sister club to a venue in Istanbul of the same name, opened in 1999. The Berlin space aims to bring the same spirit to the city, creating a nightlife and art-centric space to support independent music and art, while working with talented, like-minded people and collectives.