Here it is, last but not least, the blogpost about my night adventures in Berlin. You probably know it, and some of you might even have experienced it: in Berlin, partying is a lifestyle, a philosophy. Clubbing is part of the culture of the city, just like the Wall, vintage shops and Curry Wursts. Of course, you know me: I immediately felt happy as Larry, in my element!
The first night, after driving 800km, we were way too tired to do anything, and it was Wednesday anyway, so we weren’t really missing anything. But the day after, we woke up super excited already, and spent the day thinking about one thing: kicking-off the party week-end in style! So after a cosy dinner and a few drinks at the apartment, we decided to go to the Michel Berger Hotel, a place that had been recommended to us by a lot of people. Michel Berger is some kind of youth hostel, but nothing to do with the regular: it’s decorated with taste and has a very cool bar, quite calm, open all day until 1 or 2 in the morning. We had amazing cocktails in a great environment, with good music. It really felt like the perfect place to meet up with some friends and start the party – and it’s probably just as nice during the day!
The menu at the Michel Berger hotel/ photo @jeroendncl
Then, we went to the Chalet, a small club located in Kreuzberg that the friends we were with knew well. It actually doesn’t feel like a club at all, more like a house party: people dancing on the couches, DJ playing in a corner, mixed toilets (like more or less everywhere else in Berlin), people making out on the stairs… We stayed there a couple of hours, dancing: the music was great! Then, we went to sleep, knowing we had a busy day ahead.
Lamps decorated with magazines at the Michel Berger/ hotel photo @cpizzutilo
We actually spent Friday night on the couch, digesting the amazing pizza we had at Il Casolare and watching a movie. But Saturday, we finally got down to business!
After dinner, we headed to the hotel where I stayed last April with Sophie, the Mandala Hotel, because they have this great cocktail bar that I didn’t get the chance to check out last time. It is indeed worth a visit: they have a very large choice, very classy but not snobbish environment and very acceptable prices (about 10 euros for one drink).
Some of the great cocktails at the Mandala hotel/ photo @jeroendncl
Around 1 am, even if it was a bit early to start, we decided to go to Kater Holzig, a young club that we had heard a lot about and were excited to discover. And boy, that was a smart choice! Not only did we arrive at the best moment to avoid a too long queue, but when we entered the club, the party had already started – or probably hadn’t really stopped since Thursday! This place is crazy, to say the least, it’s even a bit magic if you ask me (ok, I admit I was a bit drunk when we arrived but still). It looks like a squat turned into a playground for adults, with rooms everywhere, a Fotoautomat…
The yard at Kater Holzig/ photo @cpizzutilo
We made new friends waiting in line for the toilets, where some girls were “having a good time together” (true story), people we had never seen gave us shots, Miss Kittin played the best set, we danced with people wearing costumes… and suddenly, you look at the clock and it’s 8.30. The sun is coming up outside, and still people keep coming in. Our friends had left for a few hours already, but my boyfriend and I had something in mind, something we wanted to scratch off our bucket lists: go to Berghain, the most legendary club in Europe, and see if all the things we’d heard and read about it were true. The best advice we got from friends was to try to get in on a Sunday morning, to avoid the huge lines and the angry doormen. And there we were, 20 minutes away from the place, at 8.30, on a Sunday Morning. We just had to give it a try!
Sun comes up over Berghain/ photo @jeroendncl
Once we were there, surprise: there is not a single soul waiting in front of the old industrial building. So we did our best to look as local as possible, act jaded and detached, and… it worked! Last step before getting in: we get thoroughly searched. Bags, pockets, they check everything to make sure we don’t carry drinks, drugs, photo cameras, and maybe weapons too. A few minutes later, there we are, on the ground floor in the middle of this huge building with a very heavy techno resonating in the stairs. We then started exploring the building, excited to finally see with our eyes the things that we had heard so much about: the incredible music, the BDSM guys, uninhibited audience … well, in the end, we’ll keep a rather disappointing memory. Clubbers were not very sociable, the vibe wasn’t exactly happy, BDSM’s were quite sober and the toilets were incredibly disgusting (although the Kater Holzig prepared us for this, but hey, there’s a limit to filth). So yes, I guess maybe we were there at just the wrong time, maybe because it was the Sunday before New Year’s Eve, maybe because we were coming from a super festive place and the contrast made Berghain look too dark… anyway, less than an hour after we took a taxi and went to bed. I’ll probably go back one day if I get the chance, because I think that so many people cannot be wrong at this point, but if you’re and Berlin and you can only go to one club, then go for Kater Holzig.
From all those experiences, I also learned some useful advice:
– Make sure you always carry the cash you’ll need: everything has to be paid by cash (entrance, drinks, cigarettes…). Knowing that the entrance costs between 10 and 15 euros and drinks are 6-7 euros, calculate what you’re gonna need and find an ATM before going out.
– Like I was saying before, in general, toilets in clubs are pretty dirty. Hopefully, I am always carrying paper tissues and hand sanitizer with me, which helped to clean up a bit and avoid bringing chlamydiae back home.
– No matter where you go, unless you’re really really lucky, you’re gonna wait in line to get in a club. To make sure you get in, avoid arriving drunk, having groups too big, talking loud… people in Berlin are very tolerant, but they don’t really like tourists, so try not act like one ;)
– Careful, remember that in Kater Holzig and Berghain, it’s forbidden to take pictures. They’re very serious about it, so don’t even think of breaking that one and only rule.
– You’re in Berlin, for God’s sake! Enjoy yourself, let go, talk to people, dance your ass off!
You can find all those places and many more on the “To Do in Berlin” list that I created on Foursquare et that you can follow with your eyes closed!