I am not a cool kid in Berlin. Never was. And now I am a mom – the ultimate in uncool.
The truth is, I never even tried to get into Berghain (reportedly the coolest club in the world with an infamous door policy and no camera rule). I certainty wouldn’t make it in. Even though Berlin is one of club capitals of the world, I don’t feel guilty that I never partook.
Not going to clubs did not prevent me from staying up so I late I saw more sunrises in a year than the rest of my life; it didn’t stop me from dancing my way through the city’s bazillion festivals; and it won’t stop me from partying wherever I find myself. I’ve never needed a club to have a good time. I much prefer to forgo the long lines, critique at the door and expensive entry and despite the city’s reputation, there are plenty of low key dance spots in Berlin where you can avoid the stress and just dance.
I had only visited this century-old ballroom for Kaffee und Kuchen (coffee & cake) before last weekend. At that time, I was pleasantly surprised to find waltzing couples of every age and orientation, but simply filed it away for a chill Sunday out.
But on Saturday evening I arrived to a going away party and saw the crowd transform from elegant dance lesson to full-on cheesy party hits. There was Thriller (natürlich) and the macarena (what!?). The older crowd melted away as a live band fired up the stage playing classic pop that everyone could sing and dance to.
There was a cover (7 euros – not cheap), but the door policy and non-existent line allowed us to just saunter in. Plus you can count a visit here as a cultural stop as the building is a protected monument.
Address: Auguststraße 24, 10117 Berlin
Feel like you are part of a Peter Fox music video as you walk into this Kreuzberg institution. While there are plenty of big concerts, my favorite nights are the fairly informal dance events like (the possibly ending?) Soul Explosion. Once a 1950s cinema, everyone from Iggy Pop to David Bowie have partied here. Join the sweaty masses as you dance like no one is watching..as they certainly won’t be. Everyone here will be cooler than you.
Address: Cuvrystraße 7, 10997 Berlin
Club der Visionäre
Part waterway fantasy, part weeping willows greenery, part dance club, this place is so Berlin. Located just off the Spree on a busy canal, dancers need to watch their step (or their alcohol intake) to make sure they don’t tumble right in. Its open-air ambiance makes it the ideal warm-up, or after-hour bar, in the summer.
Address: Am Flutgraben, 12435 Berlin
This dingy club always sets exactly the right mood for me to dance all-night. I can’t really say why. The consistently great bands? Intimate setting? Affordable drinks? Location in the vast corporate wasteland of Mitte? I just know that I always leave smelling of smoke for days, sweaty and happy.
Address: Ackerstraße 169, 10115 Berlin
Madame Claude is definitely a tourist hot spot as its most identifiable feature is that the place is designed upside-down. Like couches, bar, and lanps all dangle dramatically from the ceiling.Its a gimmick (and one that looks pretty grimy if you look too close) but it rarely fails to please my eye.
Even better than this silly design ploy are the almost hidden rooms that hold the shows. Follow the people to the barely marked door and enter a tiny space pumping with music. Once your ear drums have had enough, go back to the lounge where you can sit on furniture (right-side-up) and locate one of the Fussball tables tucked into the many corners.
Another positive is that the cover is usually minuscule (as low as 1 euro).
Address: Lübbener Str. 19, 10997 Berlin
Badeschiff gets a ton of press because it is such an unusual outdoor space. I mean, where else can you swim in a barge in the Spree with a stunning view of the Oberbaumbrücke and Fernsehturm?
But after hours this place gets even cooler with people put their clothes back on. As daylight fades, DJs turn up the music and you can have a perfectly chill dance party right on the river.
And in your eagerness to hit the pool, you might not not notice the many warehouses you pass walking in, but this vast complex known as Arena hosts flea markets on Sundays, events like roller derby, and dance parties many other nights of the week.
Address: Eichenstraße 4, 12435 Berlin
So this is where i get my sweaty, geeky dance on in Berlin. Have a place to add? Tell me about it! I love to embarrass myself on the dance floor.