Berlin is an absolute must for the party-goer with bars, pubs and clubs to suit every taste, and some of the most original venues to be found anywhere in the world.
The city's famed ability to regenerate means that many a derelict shell has been revamped into the latest hip joint to be seen in. When looking for a place to drink in Berlin, you can find a place for every taste. Berlin has a splendid range of pubs and clubs to choose from, so be sure you will find something to suit your fancy.
Berghain & Panorama Bar
Touted by many as the best club in Berlin, Berghain is definitely not for asthmatic, weedy types who were always trying to skip gym. In this industrial-style warehouse club you'll find the hardest of Berlin's hardcore pushing squares 'til way past breakfast time. The beats are relentless, the atmosphere hedonistic... And the crowd? Well you're never quite sure if the menacing, bare-chested toyboys are scowling at you, or eyeing you up. Upstairs in the Panorama bar, things are very slightly more civilized - but not much. A friendly crowd processes packets of chemicals into buckets of sweat way into the following day!
Am Wriezener Bahnhof
Since opening at the ultra-exclusive Adlon-Palais in June 2003, Felix ClubRestaurant has somehow managed to seamlessly weave together the elements of a superior restaurant, bar and club with neither a hint of conflict nor compromise. A lot of credit has to go to the superb space of the venue, which combines elements of 1940s New York with artful contemporary stylings. The resulting environs proves to be the perfect spot for Felix's varied events programme which boasts everything from live music performances to sophisticated DJ nights.
Make a day of Cold War anti-nostalgia with a visit to the Stasi Museum around the corner, which shows off the offices of the last minister of the secret police who flourished before the Wall came down. There are even prison cells to reenact the fates of those who were brought to the grim, blocky building. When that display becomes too much, buy a beer and apply for an ID card at the theme bar, called "The Company". The cards will mark you as a Stasi informant, but also get you a ten percent discount--not at all offensive to the victims of the reign of terror perpetrated by the secret police.
Knowing everything about contemporary porn makes you a pervert; knowing everything about classic smut makes you culturally enlightened. Bear this in mind when we tell you that the name of this famous Berlin cocktail bar alludes to America's first hardcore porn movie 'Behind the Green Door' (1972), in which Marilyn Chambers shocked audiences by performing various sexual acts on nuns and trapeze artists alike. Behind the Green Door on Berlin's Winterfield Street you will find a classic retro lounge, which, true to its name, wouldn't look out of place in any seventies skin-flick. A drinks list longer than Ron Jeremy's schlong refreshes the parts that other bars can't reach.
If someone told you they were taking you to cocktail bar that serves sushi you could be forgiven for being nervous. After all, who wants to spend their evening surrounded by yuppies on Nokias boasting about the size of their annual bonus? No need to worry however. Haifischbar is in the rough and ready district of Kreuzberg, where most upwardly mobile types fear to tread; and, although it has a trendy reputation, there is no swagger to this laidback watering hole. Simply sip on some of the best Mai Tais and Long Island Ice Teas in the city and nibble on fresh slabs of sushi, should you feel peckish.
When this bar first opened it was simply called Building Site 173 - due to the simply facts that it was a building site and, you guessed it, it was located at number 173. For several months the owners canvassed ideas from their patrons on how they should do up their digs, before re-opening as this wacky cult classic club. The leopard-skin bar is just the start of a hotch-potch of quirky decor, which thankfully includes some very comfortable sofas and chairs. Events are similarly mish-mashed with everything from punk music to cabaret performances, vids and visuals and DJs spinning eclectic grooves. Did we mention the beer is cheap too?
This microbrewery holds the secret formula for three different types of its homebrand beer, and only a namby-pamby teetotaller will pass the chance to order it by the metre! Twelve times 0,2 litre glasses of beer will arrive at your table on a special metre-long wooden tray, and all that remains for you to do it think of twelve great things to toast to... The apostles, days of Christmas, your ex-girlfriends, whichever you can remember! The grub here is decent too. They open everyday during the week at nine for 'Giant Breakfasts' and on weekends for a family breakfast buffet. Great chance to introduce the kids to the pleasures of alcholism then...
Woken up on a complete stranger's couch fully dressed, stinking of smoke with a throbbing headache, bloodshot eyes and no memory of the night before? Blame it on Rio. In a city that's not short of anarchic venues Rio must rate amongst the best for sheer we-don't-give-a-damn-how-we-feel-tomorrow revelry. Rock up to this divey, ramshackle den of a club and you'll soon find yourself embroiled in a world of crazy sounds and deeds as live punk acts and underground electro DJs unleash audio chaos on the up-for-it masses.
Chaussee Strasse 106
fourteen eventful years Tresor was the undisputed colossus of Berlin's club scene, ever since it introduced the capital to techno music back in 1991. Those days were full of excitement, as a reunified youth (see the Berlin Wall) discovered electronic music together and danced to the wee hours of the morning in the underground vaults of the famous Wertheim store. In 2004 however Tresor was forced to close, and some believed an era had ended. But listen, the giant stirs... Tresor 3.0 reopens this May in an old power station.
The Oscar Wilde Pub
As with any city in the world you will always find an Irish pub, and Berlin is no exception with each district having a fair few to choose from. This pub is in a great location, just staggering distance from Oranienburger Tor U-banhof and just around the corner from one of Berlin's busiest streets for nightlife, the Oranienburger Strasse. Popular with locals and tourists alike, the Oscar offers Guinness, Kilkenny and Strongbow on tap as well as German beers and a large selection of Irish whiskeys. The staff are very friendly and the food selection is good, varying from the traditional Irish breakfast to Curry Schnitzel. They also offer daily specials and probably the best bacon butty in Berlin!
Situated on the cool-as-Leonard-Cohen-in-an-igloo Simon-Dach-str, Rockz is a Friedrichshain staple and justifiably so. The bar is a smorgasbord of visual entertainment, from the walls festooned with erstwhile LP covers to the ceiling covered in vinyl and bizarrely shaped guitars and the mounted cabinet featuring caricatures of hoary old Mick n' Keef in bath-chairs. All this plus from first drink to last they play rock videos and live clips on their four screens that range from the sublime (Rammstein, Iggy, Motorhead et al) to the amusingly ridiculous (scores of spandex-drenched hair-metal buffoons). There is a huge variety of alcohol on offer ranging from beer to cocktails and the staff are all unerringly friendly. Better still they also provide table service, so apart from the odd call of nature you can stay ensconced in your comfy leather seat for the equivalent of a working day.
This ultra-cool and alternative veteran of Mitte is housed in a former chocolate factory and has been putting on exciting and eccentric parties since time immemorial. DJs, bands, poetry, performance art, and book readings have all been known to take place here, where the friendly yet mischevious crowd tend to number mostly artists and student types. A great place then to hob-nob with the good people of Berlin and discuss the ravages of globalisation. As for Charlie... Well we didn't see any sign of him, but then we didn't look in the toilets, wink wink nudge nudge.
Ok, so it's not quite as much fun as being beside the seaside, but a trip to Strandbar, or one of Berlin's other beach bars, is certainly a great substitute for city-dwellers. Located in Monbijou Park, just next to the river Spree and opposite Museuminsel, Strandbar offers Berliners a delightful location for reclining on deckchairs, sipping a cold beer and waving at passing boats. The vibe is cool, laidback and sophisticated and parties can go on here long after dusk. It's amazing what an effect 250 tonnes of imported sand can have!
Clubbing cognescenti descending on Berlin will appreciate this throbbing hotspot, which regularly invites some of the world's premier DJ talent into its folds. Names like Adam Freeland, Chicken Lips and even Eric Morillo are commonplace in Watergate which specialises in house, break-beat and drum and bass nights. The actual club space ain't shabby either. With its floor-ceiling plate glass windows overlooking the Spree and cubic-minamalist decor you could easily be lulled into a false sense of sophistication.
Gay wellcome - SO36 has one of the most diverse programmes of any club in Berlin, and although popular with the queer community is by no means an exclusively gay venue. Everything from ragga and hip hop concerts, through to karaoke and gay Muslim nights, take place under SO36's renowned roof, with the weekly Sunday party Cafe Fatal proving particularly popular. If you go clubbing in Kreuzberg, the chances are you'll end up here no matter what day of the week it is. Oh, and in case you were wondering about the enigmatic name, SO36 takes its moniker from a now extinct postal code of the area.
Gay wellcome - 'Enjoy, relax, flirt' is the tagline of this upmarket cafe in the heart of Schoneburg's gay district, and it's hard to do anything otherwise when the sun is out and Berlin's finest are sipping cocktails on the famous Berio terrace. And whereas the outdoor seating steals the lime - as well as the sun - light, the sophisticated two tone interior of hard wood floors and white walls is also a rather nice place to enjoy a beverage. All in all a superior blip on the gaydar.
More from Berlin