Berlin’s world-famous techno clubs are not worth it. Sure, if you get into the most exclusive, and infamous, club in all of Berlin’s nightlife, Berghain, you’ll end up with some street cred. You have to ask yourself though: is it worth standing in line for 3+ hours, just to risk being turned away once you finally reach the door? Now, that’s not what we call next level nightlife. This guide serves up the cold, hard facts about Berlin’s infamous clubbing scene and gives some suggestions for next level nightlife that actually lives up to the hype.
Techno clubs in Friedrichshain
Once a part of East Berlin, Friedrichshain now boasts some of the most widely known clubs in the world, including the infamous Berghain. The majority are former power plants or abandoned industrial warehouses that were turned into hedonistic techno clubs following the fall of the Berlin Wall. Each weekend, they challenge locals and tourists alike to see if they have enough punk, flair, and soul to get past the area’s notoriously discerning bouncers. It’s true that the clubbing scene in Friedrichshain is a non-stop party from Friday night to Monday morning. It hosts some of the best DJs in the world, and if you manage to get into a famed Berlin club, you’ll have a story for your future kids to prove that you were once indeed as cool and hip as you claim to be.
The not-so-cool part? Standing in the blazing sun for hours on Sunday afternoon, just to avoid the line that will inevitably triple in size by 4pm. No wonder Berliners party all night, only leaving the club once the sun has risen the next morning – if you’re going to stand in line until 3am, you better make sure it was well worth your time. The other not-so-cool part? The fact that you could wait in line for hours and still be turned away with just a glance and subtle shake of the bouncer’s head.
Disclaimer: not every single club in Friedrichshain operates this way. There are plenty of welcoming, popping clubs where you can spend a night (or morning) that you will never forget. They may not have the tout of Berghain, but they still have the grungy, daring flair that’s true to the area’s history and culture. Berlin nightlife doesn’t revolve around the very exclusive clubs so do yourself a favor and weigh your options ahead of time. You might be surprised by what the lesser-known neighborhoods and clubs have to offer you and the nightlife scene.
Trendy bars in Kreuzberg
Kreuzberg is Berlin’s golden child. The up-and-coming neighborhood is home to some of the city’s trendiest bars, and its elite food scene dominates southern Berlin. This makes it perfect for a night out on the town: try grabbing a late dinner, then heading to a rooftop bar to watch the sunset. The compacted nature of the area makes it easy to bar-hop, meaning you could hit up two or three places in the amount of time you’d wait to get into some of Friedrichain’s bigger names. Best of all, you have options. Whether you’re looking for a relaxed and lively vibe, or techno beats and strobe lights, Kreuzberg has it all in terms of Berlin nightlife. When you’re done, join the locals for a little pick-me up kebab or burger, as the area is also known for its late-night cheap eats.
Summer outdoor dance parties in Alt-Treptow
If you’re here for the summer and looking for some nightlife that is truly next-level, head on over to Alt-Treptow. The neighborhood lies on the western banks of the Spree River, giving its outdoor clubs gorgeous views. The breeze from the river helps to beat the heat, and you’ll always be able to catch golden hour, a.k.a. the lighting where everyone looks good. What better place to snap your “Look Mom, I’m in Berlin” selfie than on a rooftop bar or floating dock on the water? Not to be missed are the area’s dance parties that truly add a lot to the Berlin nightlife. Thousands of locals crowd onto the lawns, eager to celebrate that “live in the moment” mentality for which Berlin nightlife is known.