Nachtleben: Berlin nightlife

In terms of its nightlife Berlin is best to be described as perplexing. It hosts a huge selection of clubs and bars. In the shabbier district of Kreuzberg you can find laid back and relaxed bars, which are often heaving with people and in many places include the option of dancing. Then onto the renowned […]

In terms of its nightlife Berlin is best to be described as perplexing. It hosts a huge selection of clubs and bars. In the shabbier district of Kreuzberg you can find laid back and relaxed bars, which are often heaving with people and in many places include the option of dancing. Then onto the renowned nightclubs where many choose to dance their way into daylight. Berlin’s nightlife is incessant, and as long as you have the stamina and know where the party‘s at, you can easily enjoy the delights of socialising, drinking and dancing seven nights a week. The city also has a population that is dedicated to its nightlife. This can be seen through the quality of the broad selection of music that the city has to offer, with RnB, hip-hop and techno nights, right through to the Balkan dubstep and Russian Gypsy-orientated nights. The majority of clubs in Berlin are blasé about confining themselves to one style of music or one clientele base, and this is what gives them a more casual and informal ambience. Yet the pretentious and ‘superior’ clubs are plenty, and still worth going to in order to gain a full experience of Berlin. So get in the ‘schlange’, (which means queue but translates as snake) and enjoy the diverse nightlife experience that is Berlin.

If you’re interested in knowing what particular nights are taking place at various clubs or what live acts are performing, pick up a free nachtleben Berlin guide. They are usually found lurking among the postcards and flyers found by the toilet facilities in bars/cafes/clubs. Or you can pick up Zitty or Tip at most kiosks for a couple of euros.
Unnamed Bar, Oranienstraβe 33-34, U1, U8 Kottbusser Tor. This bar is evidently ‘too cool’ to constrain itself or adhere to the norm by giving itself a name, but oddly it completely succeeds in pulling this off. Swarms of young people travel from all over Berlin to meet in the latest cool bar. This bar is a great place to socialise, its hazy, smoky interior adding to the grounded and unpretentious atmosphere. The abundant collection of non matching furniture as well as the clearly nonhealth and safety approved ‘balconies’ enhance its nonchalant attitude and brand this as the perfect place to start off your weekend.
A-Trane, www.a-trane.de, Bleibtreustraβe 1, S75, Savignyplatz. For those well-versed in jazz clubs or even those who have never been, this place fits the criteria; crowded with jazz enthusiasts, check, small, check, smokey, check….. Definitely a worthy experience, with new and upcoming artists performing for free on Mondays and Saturdays, it’s a great way to have your first encounter with jazz without having to pay the hefty prices for the more established musicians. It’s certainly beneficial to reserve places online beforehand and arrive on time, otherwise you will find yourself standing up, sweaty, at the back of a crammed room.
Shisha, Krossener Straβe 19, Friedrichshain, U1, S75, S7, S5, S9, S3, Warschauer Straße. Going to a Shisha bar is a relaxing and social experience in a fast paced capital city like Berlin. Smoking Shisha has become a popular reserve of the twentysomethings of Berlin, and this particular bar in Friedrichshain has a vibrant collection of ten different flavours ranging from melon to vanilla at an appealing price of approx. 5EUR each. Shisha is quite a large establishment with private, dimmed lighting in the evenings where you can quite easily smoke away the hours with the accompaniment of good conversation. There’s also outdoor seating where you can read a book and enjoy the haziness of shisha in the sun.
DachKammer, www.DachKammer.com, Simon-Dach-Straβe 39, Friedrichshain, U1, S75, S7, S5, S9, S3, Warschauer Straße. From the outside, you’re drawn towards this bar due to its disorganised, cluttered appearance. After entering, you will find yourself transported back into the 70s, the purposely dated blasé furniture strewn around both floors adding to the ambience. This bar is perfect for a casual, relaxed drink, and the maze of rooms offers a variety of chaotic furniture whilst adding an element of eccentricity to this spacious bar. With most beers at 2,80€ and special Monday to Friday cocktails only 4,10€, this bar is definitely worth a visit and is often found to be swarming with students. The welcoming atmosphere and dusky lighting separates this bar from those more select and pretentious. Try to aim for the happy hour, daily from 7pm to 8pm, in order to make a saving.
Am einem Sonntag in August, Kastanielle 103, Prenzlauer Berg, U2, Eberswalder Straße. This bar is located in the popular and vibrant area of Prenzlauer Berg. Its relaxed and laid back atmosphere secures its firm popularity with those who enjoy sitting and chatting late into the evening. Best for a lazy Sunday, or any other afternoon, lounging about in the hazy sun, as the name suggests. The outdoor seating area has a tranquil vibe and is contrasted with the inside, which has crazy, shiny, sequinned
gold curtains and blood red walls. This bar is a really interesting space but the prices for cocktails and other long drinks are quite steep so it may be best to stick to a beer for this one.
Cake, 31-32 Oranienstraße, Kreuzberg, U1, U8 Kottbusser Tor. Cake is a remarkable place to, by chance, suddenly stumble upon well into the twilight hours. Your immediate instincts tell you this is a bar, yet when you enter you discover the place to be bursting at the seams with the most bizarre assortment of people, all dancing to the eclectic variety of music. With an entrance fee that is insignificant and cheap drinks, you can easily dance your way into the next day to Manu Chao, Justice and German rap as well as Turkish folk, all blaring out of the sound system. Saturdays seem to be most popular. This is definitely one to visit, especially if it`s on the way back home at 4am.
Kaffee Burger, Torstraβe. 60, Mitte, U2, Rosa Luxembourg Platz. If you are partial to some Gogol Bordello, Balkan Beat Box or you just want to liberate your talent for Cossack dancing along with everyone else, then the twice monthly Russendisko is where you need to be at. This is a night that cannot be defined as you have no idea what you might find yourself ‘dancing’ to- a Katy Perry Russian remix anybody? By the time a song is replayed later on in the night, you’ll find yourself ecstatic and singing along to the ‘Moskva, Moskva’ lyrics. Kaffee Burger hosts a wealth of different musically themed nights, ranging from soul and funk to dance punk and Balkan ska. Kaffee Burger is definitely well worth the visit just for the random music selection alone, and with cheap entrance and a busy throng of people, it has certainly secured its popularity for the future. The décor has not been altered from its GDR days and the majority of the alcohol is averagely priced. One thing to watch out for is the vodka shots which come in the standard Russian size of a teacup, and will certainly leave you on the floor after busting your Cossack moves.
Café Zapata, Oranienburger Straße 53-56, U6, Oranienburger Tor. Café Zapata is the adjoined bar that complements the Tacheles project. When entering don’t be discouraged by the general disorganisation which rules the site, as it is a vibrant and interesting place which desires to be explored. It often has a variety of new and interesting acts going on simultaneously, and the generally relaxed and casual mood in the frenzied centre of the city gives Café Zapata an interesting contrast in comparison to the other bars in the area. It’s the perfect place to relax and socialise with cheap beers.
Club der Visionaire, Flugraben 2, U1, Schlesisches Tor. This bar/club has an incredibly relaxing setting on an arrangement of barges on the canal side in Friedrichshain. It hosts a variety of DJs and other experimental musicians, and in the evenings there are usually interesting acts taking place so you can dance your way into daylight on the canal side. It is often crowded with those who want to sit in the sun and enjoy a cool beer and some techno beats by the water’s edge. Definitely worth visiting even if just to watch others drunkenly navigate their way around on the swaying barges. Drinks are well priced and the atmosphere is always relaxed.
Zu Mir oder zu Dir? [Your place or mine?], Lychener Straße 15, U2, Eberswalder Straße. Compared to many of the Berlin bars, this one is quite lavish, and interestingly decorated with a kitsch 70s theme. After entering you will notice the double bed for lounging on, which continues the insinuation of the title. Although the bar is not that large, there is an huge choice of very comfortable seating and the DJ starts quite early on in the night. Drinks are well priced and the bar attracts a variety of stylish people. Also don’t forget to observe the disco ball in the toilet.

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