Berlin is a city like no other. A creative hub; it is a city that promotes art, music and creativity more than any place I’ve visited. Famed for its club scene, DJs and electronic music production, Berlin never ceases to amaze and enliven partygoers young and old alike. However lucky we are to have a great music scene in Leeds, no other city can really compare to Berlin. The ‘weekend’ doesn’t really exist as we know it in Berlin. Its nightlife is not restricted to Friday and Saturday, but tends to last from Wednesday through until Monday night. If you’re so inclined, you can party all week long. This July, LSi’s club team headed to the epicentre of all things house and techno in order to fully immerse ourselves in music and prepare for our new roles as editors. Here are my highlights and recommendations of the best of Berlin nightlife from my weekend.
It’s somewhat ironic that the bar with arguably the best view in Berlin is almost entirely invisible to the public. Owing to the beautiful evening, we headed to Klunkerkranich, a bar beneath the stars. Unless you know where to find this hidden gem, you could be just underneath its extensive rooftop garden without even knowing. Located above a shopping mall on Karl-Marx-Straße, Klunkerkranich is huge and very welcoming. That being said, it fills up quickly, especially on sunny days, so get down early (before 6) and you’ll also save yourself the 3 euro entry fee. Reasonably priced drinks, local DJs and the incredible view makes Klunkerkranich the perfect place for summer socialising in the Neukölln neighbourhood.
After a brief thunderstorm, we left Klunkerkranich just before closing at midnight and decided to head to nearby club Loftus Hall. It’s resident advisor description reads:
‘Beyond the green gate,
At Maybachufer 48,
The wild wind weaves,
A trail of Fallen leaves‘
and it is run by the team behind (now closed) Kleine Reise club and their respective record label. Loftus Hall takes its name from a supposedly haunted mansion in Ireland, surely a reference to its somewhat sinister-looking location, and its Irish founders. A self-proclaimed ‘vintage venue’, the club’s interior has hardly changed since it opened as a pub over 50 years earlier. Small and friendly, we experienced the soulful house and techno Kleine Reise prides itself on amongst a great crowd. Helping everyone to celebrate the club’s birthday were DJs, Kate Miller, Dan Close and Polly Phone, who each adhered to the event’s promise ‘real HOUSE; real DEEP; real TECHNO’. For only 5 euros before midnight and 8 after, Loftus Hall is definitely worth the visit.
Club der Visionaere
Following a busy day at the David Bowie exhibition at Martin Gropius Bau, another sunny evening meant the perfect opportunity to visit my favourite Berlin bar, Club der Visionaere. Located on the river (about as ‘on the river’ as you can get), the deck is the perfect place to listen to music, drink, dance and socialise with friends. It seems that Club der Visionaere is perfect for any time of day. It is an eclectic mix of casual day drinkers, music ‘heads’ and party animals who are most definitely still out from the night before (it is now 6pm). But it is perfect for any of these people, and a real summer venue, due to it being almost entirely outdoor. The bar and dancefloor area is about half the size of my kitchen, but decked out with a brilliant soundsystem and continually welcoming among the best DJs in Berlin. The great thing about Club der Visionaere, and the thing that makes it so different to other venues, is the fact that you can be blissfully unaware of who the DJ is, or what the schedule is, but you know you’re going to enjoy yourself. Good House music is a favourite here and it’s all about having a good time.
After dinner and a brief nap we headed to Suicide Circus, next to Urban Spree, for a night hosted by Killekill and friends. Excited to see headliner, Tin Man, we stood nervously and silent in the queue, having been turned away a couple of years ago on the grounds of being English. ‘English? No.’ After a 45 minute wait and a confident reply in German when asked ‘wie viele?’, we got in. Needless to say the group of loud Nottingham lads behind us did not. At the ticket station we read a sign ‘Tin Man will not play’. We didn’t care. Inside, one half of German duo Dadub, Daniele Antezza, performed an energetic techno fuelled set, enhanced by impeccable mixing and an almighty sound setup. Following him was The Marx Trukker, who, armed with a drum machine and a hefty studio mixer, performed a live set of an incredible standard, and for a while we stood in awe of his crazy energy and skill. Favoured by the29nov, who have created visuals for a number of his tracks, his live performance was phenomenal and matched, if not surpassed the brilliance of his productions. The outdoor garden provided a complete paradox to the thumping techno of the main room, and as the sun was rising, the upbeat house of resident DJs Flush and Stype was a welcome escape. The garden is the perfect place to chill and chat on a sofa or dance under the shelter of a strungup parachute, and the DJs that play here are guaranteed to make you want to do the latter.
The night we were most excited for! The return of Leeds’ favourite promoters, Louche, but this time in renowned Chalet club, Berlin. The line-up: DJ Sprinkles, Awesome Tapes from Africa and Lawrence. We arrive just before 3am, in time to catch DJ Sprinkles’ set which spans from 3-6. The intellectual, producer and DJ, real name Terre Thaemlitz, earned a place in Resident Advisor’s top tracks of last year with his remix of Francis Harris’ ‘You Can Always Leave’, and his sound is instantly recognisable. Living and working in Japan, Sprinkles is usually hard to come by in Europe, and everyone at Chalet that night surely knew how lucky they were to be amongst the crowd. His set was irrefutably Sprinkles; hypnotic and magical and expertly blended. Meanwhile, Chalet’s garden played host to Awesome Tapes from Africa aka. Brian Shimkovitz, who entertained the crowd with his typical, carefully selected West African repertoire. His set was energetic and fun, the perfect accompaniment to a beautiful sunrise. Ending the party was Dial records’ very own, Lawrence. Providing an upbeat and house-filled end to the night, his set energised the crowd so much that I forgot I was even supposed to be tired by this point, and could have happily danced the whole day away. Yet another fantastic show by Louche. They will be sorely missed in Leeds.
Leaving Chalet at around 8am, Sunday was our day of rest. We woke only to watch Germany win the world cup, which, from its capital, was a pretty exciting experience and the perfect end to another successful weekend in Berlin. Until next year!
Photos: blackdreamer.com, Benjamin Buxbaum, residentadvisor.net