Ten of the most famous nightclubs in Berlin
Berlin is synonymous with club culture. Hardly any other city in the world has such a thriving and diverse club scene. It is the proud home of a large number of clubs, party series and other late-night events. Although Berlin's reputation as a techno capital is world famous, and remains the dominant type of music celebrated in Berlin, it is not the only one. The following is true: in almost all the well-known clubs there is also a bit of queer action. Most places are queer-friendly. And even in clubs that are not explicitly queer, queer parties are always on offer. In this guide you can find out where you can completely relax and enjoy the music.
'Berghain' is neither the oldest club in the city nor the oldest on this list, and yet it could be described as the mother of all clubs in Berlin. Its international reputation is unsurpassed. With its wide selection of music, unique location in a former power station and famously strict door policy, 'Berghain' has become a veritable myth in itself. Closely connected to the gay sex club 'Lab.Oratory' in the same building (more info on gay cruising places in Berlin here), 'Berghain' is both hedonistic and sex-positive, making it a place where no one has to hide. Besides the 'club night' that runs from Saturday night through to Monday morning, there are also concerts and other cultural events on offer in the calendar.
Am Wriezener Bahnhof, 10243 Berlin-Friedrichshain
Website of Berghain
The 'KitKat Club' is famous for its sexually permissive parties, which are curated according to different themes catering to a mixed, queer-friendly crowd, for example, 'Carneval Bizarre', (more info on fetish locations for FLINTA*s to be found here). In addition, there are party nights sometimes aimed at an open, mainly gay audience ('Piepshow'). In Berlin, the connection between techno, permissiveness, and sexuality is inextricably linked to 'KitKat', which has paved the way for many other club concepts.
Brückenstraße 1, 10179 Berlin-Mitte
Website of KitKatClub
When it opened in the abandoned vault of a former department store in 1991, 'Tresor' was considered Berlin's first purely techno club. Although the club had to leave the location, which is now legendary in itself, its new home is just as spectacular. Since 2007, 'Tresor' has resided in the basement of a huge, disused heating plant in Berlin-Mitte. Nothing has changed in the high-quality programme and its accompanying reputation. A queer techno party also makes use of the club's location: the 'Herrensauna' (Men's Sauna) is one of the best-known and most hardcore party nights in the city.
Köpenicker Str. 70, 10179 Berlin-Mitte
Website of Tresor
'SchwuZ' also has its own longstanding history. The biggest nightclub and venue for the queer community in Berlin was founded in the 1970s (see here for more info on exclusively queer clubs in Berlin). In keeping with its claim to be a meeting place for the entire queer community, the programme of events is diverse and colourful. However, it's not just techno fans who get their money's worth at 'SchwuZ'. Pop, hip-hop (see here for more info on queer hip-hop parties in Berlin) and even Schlager (in particular at the infamous, naked Schlager party), are also on offer.
Rollbergstraße 26, 12053 Berlin-Neukölln
Website of SchwuZ
Berlin is techno-mad, and where better to experience techno than at '://about blank'? This club has not only two interior dance floors, but also a huge garden area. In summer, the garden is an inviting place to recuperate from dancing under the leafy trees. The best-known party series, also popular with the queer community, include 'Staub' and the gender-inclusive 'Polymotion' (see here for more info on sex-positive places for FLINTA*s).
Markgrafendamm 24c, 10245 Berlin-Friedrichshain
Website of ://about blank
In an abandoned apartment building, 'Wilde Renate' has been running a salon for almost 20 years. Once illegal, the club has since been legalized - and is still one of the most creative institutions in Berlin's nightlife. Renate's programme includes parties, as well as interactive shows, and performances. In summer, the beer garden is very popular. In the queer community, however, this club is mainly known for queer and often sex-positive parties, including 'TrashEra' (see here for more info on queer techno parties in Berlin) and 'House of Lunacy'.
Alt-Stralau 70, 10245 Berlin-Friedrichshain
S Treptower Park
Website of Renate
Along with Berghain and Tresor, Watergate is one of Berlin's best-known international club venues. It is undeniably one of the most beautiful too. Stretching from Watergate, the view extends across the Spree to the Oberbaum Bridge, over whose medieval-looking towers the well-lit underground trains rumble at night. However, 'Watergate' did not make its name with its location, but primarily with tech house and house music. These cheerful alternatives to the otherwise often rather sombre Berlin Sound encourage you to dance through the night.
Falckensteinstraße 49, 10997 Berlin-Kreuzberg
S + U Warschauer Straße
Website of Watergate
'Kater Blau' boasts a decidedly unusual and exciting history. This has partly to do with it being the second re-incarnation of 'Bar25', a once very popular open-air club of the 2000s that made a significant contribution to establishing Berlin's reputation as an exceptional party metropolis. The club is located on the Holzmarkt site, a unique little creative village on the Spree that is a destination in itself and that has so far managed to hold its own against all the commercialization and gentrification ravaging the city. Unlike clubs like 'Berghain' and 'Tresor' with their stark industrial design, 'Kater Blau' has a relaxed, almost festival atmosphere. This is achieved by the club’s playful architecture, which relies a great deal on huts and circus props made from scraps of wood.
Holzmarktstraße 25, 10243 Berlin-Friedrichshain
S + U Jannowitzbrücke
Website of Kater Blau
The techno club 'Sisyphos' has provided Berliners with many enjoyable summer nights. This is thanks to the very large outdoor area with beer garden, which the club has at its disposal, thanks to its location just outside the S-Bahn ring in Berlin-Rummelsburg. Its large gates are guarded by duck sculptures, the club's heraldic animal. Passing through the gates, you enter a small village and an alternative world that tempts you to stay for days on end. From food and drink to dancing and good vibes, everything you desire can be found here.
Hauptstraße 15, 10317 Berlin-Rummelsburg
Website of Sisyphos
'RSO' is a relative newcomer on the scene, which is part of the Revier Südost complex in a former brewery in the Berlin-Schöneweide district. Although the location may be new, its operators are not. Until 2020, they were responsible for the hip Neukölln club 'Griessmühle'. In the newly enlarged location, they have implemented a very diverse programme. In addition to parties, this also includes the queer designer market 'Subaermarket', public performances, for example for the Eurovision Song Contest (ESC), and stand-up comedy events.
Schnellerstraße 137, 12439 Berlin-Schöneweide
Website of RSO
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Word: Frank Schröder