How to make sense of Berlin’s massive techno scene?
Yes, finally! You’re moving to Berlin and can’t wait for your first weekend out. Now you check Resident Advisor and... What?!...so many choices. Too many choices! Yes, Berlin is indeed the techno capital of the world. So how do you make sense of this bewildering offer and make sure you end up at the perfect party?
Berlin has a seemingly endless amount of clubs and event spaces and lots of them play techno. But even if you’re an open minded techno fan, on some nights you’ll want some heavy bangers, while on others you’ll look for smoother vibes. So where in Berlin should you head to listen to the style you want?
For your sweet ears, here is a short list (soon to be expanded) of some of my favorite clubs with some samples of tracks and mixes that best represent the style played when I was enjoying my time out. Hope this helps you pick the right place at the right time!
Of course, music and atmosphere vary a lot depending on the party, night of the week, and foremost on the DJ playing. This article is based on my personal experience. You might end up with something completely different from what I describe here, but usually things do tend to follow some sort of constant. Oh, and if you want a second opinion, why not talk to a local?
Sisyphos, with its magnificent outdoor area and three dance floors, is one of Berlin’s most popular festive institutions. You can expect a mix of digital techno on the Hammahalle floor, some more funky house and tech house in the Wintergarten, and deep and sunny vibes on the Strand outdoor floor. The door can be hard to get through if you don’t speak German, especially if you try to get in on a Sunday night. Just be glittery and not a douchebag and you’ll have one of the best weekends of your life.
The Keller is a sweaty basement in Neukölln with two relatively large areas. The venue hosts concerts and DJs so the music style varies a lot from night to night or even during the night. However, I would say the mainfloor is mostly tech house and techno, while the back room is more downtempo techno and chill house. The door is quite relaxed and the vibe is very nice, though it tends to get a little too smoky down there...
KitKat, a.k.a Kitty, is Berlin’s infamous fetish club where you can indulge in your favorite NSFW activities. Go there with a very open mind and you’re sure to have lots of fun. The club has a super cosy side with a pool, sauna, large lounge area, and even live jazz early in the night. In the other area, you’ll find four dancefloors and various rooms, bright and dark.
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Griessmühle is one of my favorite clubs because it is pretty much bullshit free: easy and respectful door, good music, powerful sound system, very cool location, and beautiful outdoor area. Griessmühle is one of those clubs where the party really matters, and I have heard genres ranging from disco to acid techno. So here I’ll just share some mixes from a few of the best DJs I have seen there:
An old apartment building turned into a club; like Berlin does it best. Renate has a characteristic broken down, squatty feel, though a lot of effort has been put in decorating certain areas. You’ll find a multitude of cozy little rooms on two levels, ideal to meet strangers, chill, smoke a joint, or do whatever it is you’re into. The venue has four dance floors:
This old coin factory in the heart of Berlin is home to a wide variety of events, from art exhibits to – yes, techno parties. There aren’t parties going on every weekend, so definitely check out the event schedule before you just go there, but some of the best parties I have been to in Berlin have been in the Alte Münze. Numerology is one of those events, and Alte Münze’s raw industrial feel fits ideally for the party’s dark music style. It ranges from techy breaks to dark drum and bass, and of course to heavy, fast, industrial and brutal techno. Even though the party takes place only once every couple of months, I thought I would mention Numerology because of its sophisticated line ups and because the quality of the music is really extraordinary. The next party is coming up in late April with Adam X, Pessimist, 47 label boss Tommy Four Seven and other really cool artists. Be sure not to miss it!
So that’s it for now. I hope this little list gives you a good idea of where to start your Berlin nocturnal adventures. Of course, there are so many clubs and events that are not mentioned here and that you might love too, so definitely do some exploration on your own - that’s what being new in a city is all about! Don’t hesitate to share your favorite discoveries!