Everything You Need To Know About Berghain In Berlin

Ah, Berghain — the Great White Whale of Berlin clubbing experiences. It's the Mecca of techno, one of Berlin's longest-operating music venues, and is as famous for its exclusivity as it is for its music.

Berlin clubs are like Disneyland for adults, packed with people expressing their true colors. Berghain was historically a gay club and still plays an important role in providing a safe space for the queer, techno-loving community to do as they please. People of all genders dance, drink, and sneak into designated dark rooms to hook up and enjoy the nightlife together.

There are several spaces within Berghain, including the main room, the ground floor Saüle space, and the upstairs, house-oriented Panorama Bar. The club is open from around 10 p.m. on Friday through 6 a.m. on Monday, and it's true that there are people who go in at the start of their weekend and crawl out, bleary-eyed, on Monday at dawn.

How to get into Berghain

Getting into Berghain requires passing a vibe check, and no amount of faking it will help you get into a club whose bouncers get a kick out of turning away the rich and famous (including, infamously, Elon Musk). Ignore people who tell you to "just wear black," and dig into the back of your closet for your rattiest pair of jeans, boldest boots, or a sleek leather or puffer coat. Or go the complete opposite direction, and opt for a full fetishwear look, latex and leather. No heels, mini-dresses, boat shoes, collared shirts, or suits.

Stick to small groups, two or three people max, and make sure someone in your group actually speaks German. Let them do all the talking — but don't talk too much. Don't be rowdy or chat loudly in the line, and know which DJ is playing that night since you might be asked. On the off chance you get in, make sure you have cash for the cover, which will probably be around €20.

Snacking at Berghain

Since clubbing kicks off late in Berlin, around 1 a.m., and lines for clubs are so long, there's a big pre-gaming culture in the city. Before you kick off your Berghain adventure, stop by a späti (short for Spätkauf, which loosely translates to "late-night shop"). It's like the Berlin approximation of a bodega, where you can buy a few liter beers for barely a euro or two each. 

It's legal (and common) to drink in public in Germany, so most people drink a couple of beers in line for the club, and people will even come around with shopping carts to collect your empty bottles, so they can cash in on the "pfand" or bottle deposit. Just don't get too tipsy, or you'll get turned away at the door.

You might also want to stock up on snacks at the späti, or grab a döner on your way since food options at Berghain are limited. The Icebar sells smoothies, sandwiches, and ice cream but often runs out partway through the weekend. The coat check (Garderobe) also sells simple snacks like chips or protein bars.

Drinks at Berghain

You're not going to find an elaborate craft cocktail menu at Berghain. At best, you might be able to order a whisky sour or caipirinha, but you're better off sticking to the basics. (According to Electronic Beats, someone stole a Berghain drink menu in 2016 and put it up for sale on eBay, spilling the tea, so to speak, on the club's offerings.) It has the fixings for mixed drinks and several beer options, as well as a selection of flavors of the non-alcoholic BioZisch sodas. (Try the Rhabarber, or rhubarb flavor, if you dare to pronounce it.) 

Surprising as it might sound, a lot of club kids don't get anything to drink at the bar since they've probably pre-gamed. Another reason is that club drinks are considered expensive in Berlin, though tourists from other major world cities might laugh at the notion of a €7 mixed drink (or "long drink," as they're called in Germany), emptying out any wallets. Don't forget to bring cash, though, both for the door cover and probably for drinks, since many Berlin clubs don't take credit cards.

Club Mate, the mate tea-based energy drink beloved by Berliners, is a popular (legal) choice for keeping yourself up until the party starts to wind down around 10 a.m. A classic Berlin club drink is a vodka-mate, the German equivalent of a vodka-Red Bull.