I’ve discussed Berlin’s amazing opera scene in a previous post but it’s perhaps even more famous for its electronic music dance clubs. I guess that might depend on whom you are asking. Berlin is home to perhaps the most famous nightclub in the world, Berghain, which is located in a former power plant. Germany has always been on the forefront of electronic music (think bands like Neu!, Kraftwerk, Cluster und so weiter). After the fall of the wall, there was a lot of cheap real estate available on the former east side and the freedoms that came with it nurtured a vibrant club scene. Although Berlin has been known for its nightlife reaching back to the 1920’s when it was widely known as one of the most permissive and progressive European cities, in particular to freedom of expression for the LGBTQ community in a time when being queer was still very taboo if not outright illegal in most places. It was and remains a safe haven in many ways. Berlin continues to attract people from all over the world for its live and let live mentality and dwindling cheap real estate (though some would argue the days of cheap real estate are over). Berlin clubs rundown.
Which brings me to morning clubbing. I love to dance! My husband and I met at a party, basically on the dance floor. But staying up until midnight (or later) to go to a club is out of the question. However, the beauty of Berlin’s nightclub scene is that some clubs stay open all weekend. Which means on a Friday morning you can put your kids on the bus to school at 7:15 AM, be at the club by 8 AM and find yourself dancing in a haze of fake (and real) smoke by 9 AM surrounded by sweaty 25-year-olds who have been up dancing all night long. Now I realize this doesn’t appeal to everyone, but while going to an opera is a musical/aesthetic experience that I feel everyone should try at least once, so is dancing ecstatically to heavy bass at 9 AM while stone cold sober. The club we have visited is called Salon zur wilden Renate (Salon of the wild Renate) and is supposed to conjure an old-fashioned bordello. It is located in a pre-war apartment building close to the river Spree and includes 3 dance floors each playing a different style of techno with many smaller “chill out” rooms and a large outdoor seating area with boats, gazebos, a fountain and a bar. For an example of some of the typical music you might hear at this place…
flyer from the recent show we attended featuring DJ Jama
It’s just as dirty and smoky as you might imagine it would be. There is a strict no photo policy (they cover the camera of your cell phone with a sticker) to ensure privacy and to encourage people to live in the moment and not be on their phones in the club. The bathrooms alone are an adventure in and of themselves. Iced tea (my 9 AM drink of choice) costs the same as a beer, a quite reasonable 4 euro (5 bucks). The people watching is excellent and I’m happy to report that both times I’ve gone, I’ve definitely not been the oldest person there. There is a decidedly non-snobby element to nightclubbing here (though I should note some clubs are notoriously hard to get into ie. Berghain where people queue for hours on a Friday night at a shot of getting in). But for the most part, anything goes. You can be 43 years old wearing a t-shirt, jeans and tennis shoes (aka me) or 21 and wearing a sequined captain’s hat with matching sequined jacket and short shorts (aka me at 21) or perhaps just a wife-beater and nothing else or soiled onesie or bathing suit or suspenders without a shirt, etc, etc. A fanny pack is a must though. Extra style points for creative use of thrift store fashions that skew 1990’s (aka the last time I was clubbing in Germany). This past Friday there was a great female DJ and I got pulled to the front by another woman for a “Frauen Party”–all the ladies on the dance floor dancing right up in front of the DJ stand. So much fun!
And perhaps the pièce de résistance of morning clubbing as a middle-aged person? Amazing way of racking up those steps on the Fitbit. Just sayin’.
Also, Happy Spring!