Club / Indoor / S – 500-2k
Berghain is an enigma that has captured the attention of global music lovers, making it one of Berlin’s most sought-after clubs.
Since its grand opening in 2004, Berghain nightclub has skyrocketed to fame as one of the most iconic clubs in Berlin. Located on an old power plant site between Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain, the club’s surroundings are known for their diverse culture and late-night eateries.
Famed for its selection of techno music, the four-story Berghain boasts the illustrious Panorama Bar with unmatched house beats.
The popularity of the legendary Berghain is mainly attributed to its strict entrance policy and tales of wild, nocturnal happenings.
With weekend events lasting for a full 48 hours, this nightclub stands out from any other spot on the planet. From sunrise until dusk, you can find people flocking outside Berghain hoping to get inside.
It takes more than just a stroke of luck to gain access into the iconic Berghain. Its former patrons suggest that dressing like a local and not displaying too much enthusiasm are essential entry requirements. Applying to university is nothing compared with getting past the bouncer at the techno church.
Here is everything you need to know about Berghain.
Founders Michael Teufele and Norbert Thormann were well-versed in Berlin’s hedonistic nightlife scene before they decided to open the doors to the now world-famous Berghain.
Their story started in the 1990s, when the pair ran the Snax gay club. After the club settled in a permanent location, it was expanded, revamped, and eventually named Ostgut in 1998.
Ostgut was the blueprint for the Berghain we know today. It had everything from the bullet-hard techno beats, dark nooks and unfiltered hedonism – oozing the feeling of an alternate world as soon as you step through the club’s doors.
Although Ostgut was the ultimate crowd pleaser for Berliners, Ostgut went kaputt back in 2003 – but the club took a well-deserved bow – the closing party lasted for 30 hours. Ostgut packed up, shut down, and its industrial buildings were inherited by the flashy O2 World Arena.
Fast forward to two years later, Teufele and Thormann finally found the perfect location to carry on the Ostgut legacy. In 2004, the duo moved the dance floor to an abandoned power plant’s concrete and a legend was born.
The perfect venue for Teufele and Thormann to resume Ostgut’s legacy was an abandoned power plant dating back to 1953.
Isolated from the hustle and bustle of the German capital, the venue sits near the border of two districts, Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain – which set the inspiration for the techno temple’s name.
One key element is the giant dimensions and open space, with the main dancefloor reaching 18-meters high.
The interior reflects the industrial history of the former coal-fired power plant – everything is infused with concrete and steel.
We already know that New York is dubbed as The City That Never Sleeps – but Berghain shares the same mantra.
Within its industrial walls, parties stretch over the entire weekend and deep into the following Monday afternoon.
Their routine opening hours span from 11:59pm on a Saturday night and end on Monday, challenging clubbers to sacrifice more than 24 hours to the techno god.
As soon as you pass the club’s doors, your eyes will lie on Säule, which is followed by the mainfloor. In here, booming techno and hedonistic vibes reign supreme.
The upper-level Panorama Bar is the place where house aficionados flock – although the music repertoire is open-ended and unrestricted most of the time.
Berghain’s first level is also home to Lab.Oratory, Berlin’s most famous gay sex club, notorious for its fetish parties – which are not for the faint-hearted.
Taking to the stage at Berghain is every techno DJ’s pie in the sky – and some artists seem to always pull the short end of the stick.
Of course, it’s not down to luck. Berghain’s seemingly arbitrary and entirely uncrackable selection process also extends to the audio decks. Adding fuel to a bullet hard techno Berghain session isn’t another gig – it’s a royal privilege.
DJ Boris claimed the spot as the most frequent performer at Berghain, with 123 bookings in 2021.
A quick Google search will bring up dozens of Berghain door rejects sob stories. From tales of people getting asked to step aside after years of being regular attendees to bouncers waving eager patrons away like they’re directing traffic, there’s no explanation as to why people are denied entry.
One thing is for sure – the rejection rate can get as high as 60%. Yep, you got that right – getting into Berghain is as nerve-racking as getting into your dream college.
Countless lists were created by fellow clubbers and Berghain lovers to discover the formula that would guarantee the shoo-in.
They might sound like the way to get the anticipated nod from Berghain’s infamous bouncers – but take everything with a grain of salt. In this techno mecca, there’s no guarantee that a secret recipe will do the trick.
Some common regulations passed around by Berghain thrill-seekers usually include things like dressing in all black (but not looking too plain or basic), speaking German (or at least a few words to show effort if you’re a tourist) and not looking too eager (but eager enough to know what DJs are playing if asked the common “Who are you here to see tonight?” question).
While nightclubs around Berlin remained closed throughout lockdown months, Berghain was able to open its doors again – but not for the reasons you might imagine.
The usual dark and strobe-lined dancefloors were replaced with a completely different vibe in July 2021.
Danish artist Jakob Kudsk Steensen, transformed the famous club into a 3D ecosystem using innovative technologies and softwares.
Berl-Berl, commissioned by Light Art Space (LAS), combined wetland recordings and extinct animals research with Berghain’s industrial space to bridge the gap between Berlin’s origin as a “swamp formed by a glacial valley over 10,000 years old” and the metropolis it is nowadays.
A no-photo policy isn’t unusual for high profile nightclubs.
But the club’s exclusivity extends beyond putting a sticker on your phone’s cameras (which clubbers sometimes bypass to sneak blurry pictures of the venue).
A quick look at Berghain’s Instagram page features only a singular post from 2014, which reads:
They still manage to have 109k followers regardless. Berghain gives little to nothing away about what goes on between the club’s four walls – guess you will have to discover the club by yourself, not through social media pictures.
The heavily-tattooed Marquardt has earned the title of Berlin’s most notorious bouncer.
His particular selection when it comes to who is allowed entry is what gained him – and Berghain – international infamy.
When asked about his opinion on what will grant people entry to Berghain in an interview with GQ, the grande judge strongly reiterated the subjectivity of the nightclub’s (non-existent) entry policy.
Although you’ll never get a guarantee until you’ve joined the ranks of Berghain’s seemingly-endless queue, this game claims to help eager Berghain visitors sharpen their skills to win the bouncer’s approval.
The game uses both your camera and microphone to simulate a real run-in with Berghain’s bouncers, examining your skills to see whether or not you’ll pass the ambiguous test.
Even if you ace the Berghain simulator on the first go, it can’t guarantee your tricks will work IRL.
But it wouldn’t hurt to give it a try, right?