As always, when visiting cities abroad, I dig out the local club-scene. Having seen nearly every club in Belgian I tend to think that I will never discover a place that rocks my brain more then before. Think so ... Till you land your ass in the Berlin place of things.
Last week I attended the international design and typography conference TypoBerlin, as you might have noticed. But suffering a light — some say heavy — ADD, sitting tight isn't quite my cup of tea. So, wWhat do you do when all you need is some good vibes? Right, you dive into a conversation with a wicked but good looking punker girl you meet on the street, try to charm her and figure out were she will be hanging out to go nuts. This new generation of punk has long left the guitar sounds they've once started with ... Clubs clubs clubs! White trash and deep dark sounds of bass, beats and bliips. that's what we're all into nowadays — acidlovers — moohaa.
I was so amazed by the power and entourage of the Berlin club-scene that a shortlist of these places deserved a small but detailed writing:
1. Berghain Panoramabar
By far the hottest club I've ever attended. No questions asked. Perhaps even one of the best in Europe! A very strict and selective door policy pimps that image, but no other choice is left with people lining up in front from midnight 'till 6 in the morning. The club is located in a former power plant in Friedrichshain, behind the Berlin Ostbahnhof railway station. With lots of the original equipment left as part of the interior creates a real nice raw atmosphere. The building is distinguished by its enormous dimensions, which accommodate an 18 meter high dancefloor and space for 1500 guests, and also its minimalist interior design, dominated by steel and concrete. The entourage of dance-floors is pure madness and spread across 3 floors with over 6 bars. The club contains a "cavernous" main room, as well as a smaller upstairs space called the Panorama Bar, which is decorated by enormous Wolfgang Tillmans photographs and tall windows with a view of East Berlin. As always with the really good stuff the club is very gay-friendly and thus houses a superbly open atmosphere, unfortunately there're no cameras allowed.
Berghain has a strong reputation for decadence and hedonism, and the basement contains a dark room specifically set aside for that purpose. Special guestlist is restricted to a few guests for each dj. As a special feature no mirrors or reflecting surfaces can be found anywhere in the club.
Berghain is named after its location on the border between Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain. Philip Sherburne has described it as "quite possibly the current world capital of techno, much as E-Werk or Tresor were in their respective heydays."
Berghain is the reincarnation of the "legendary" club Ostgut (1998-2003). This club itself emerged out of a men only fetish club night, called "Snax", which was held in different locations before it found its permanent home at the new club "Ostgut" as a part of a new concept. Quickly the "Ostgut" developed into a focal point of the Berlin techno-subculture since the venue was now open for all genders on regular nights except on those "Snax" club nights six to eight times a year. "Ostgut" closed down on January 6, 2003 following a 30-hour farewell event, and the former railway warehouse which housed it was subsequently demolished. Berghain opened in 2004.
A must see! On May 23 I sneeked in with Elfs and attended Monika Kruse who was totally letting go of control for her Saturday night session, fat dropping grooves and we were going wild — of course.
•> Am Wriezener Bahnhof. Berlin - Friedrichshain. Near Ostbahnhof station
2. Watergate Club
Watergate is a get-there-early-or-stand-in-line destination on weekends. So on Thursday, May 21, I found myself lining up for my 4th or so 2manydjs concert. can you ever get tired of these guys. Somehow they always find a way to rock the boat. And again they did so in the incredibly cozy 2nd floor of the Watergate club. The club sits directly on the river, with floor-to-ceiling windows on both floors, providing gorgeous views of the water and the illuminated Oberbaumbruecke.
The ceiling of the top floor has hundreds and hundreds of tiny LED lights installed behind a translucent material, sending cascading light and patterns from behind the DJ, above the floor, and back behind the bar.
•> Falckensteinstr.49, 10997 Berlin X-berg
Without any doubt the most famous club in Berlin, not to say Germany, or Europe. Without neglecting other clubs like London's Ministry Of Sound and others, Tresor has the status of being the top dancetemple.
The club has a very strong brand name in Berlin, Tresor is definitely worth a visit. They have a long-running record label and mix CD series which draws a lot of attention to the club, but the place itself doesn’t need any help. It’s housed in an enormous, partially functioning power plant in the east part of the city. The tunnel (pictured above) connects the main underground dance floor to the upstairs levels. This is actually the second installment of Tresor Berlin- the old club used to incorporate an actual bank vault.
The Tresor sound is almost always hard and electronic, your typical straight forward techno sound. The main room sound system and light show seems designed to drive you insane- in a good way of course.
•> Köpenicker Str. 70, 10179 Berlin Mitte. Near U-Bahnhof Heinrich-Heine-Straße