Berlin nightlife is the stuff of legend. Sexy new bars and clubs have enriched the old mix of beer halls and burlesque, and you’ll find the drinks keep flowing way past the small hours, with the German capital notorious for having some of the latest starts to their evenings around.
The coolest bars are in Mitte, Prenzlauer Berg and Friedrichshain— stomping grounds of Berlin’s in crowd— while the edgy Kreuzberg will suit the more adventurous. Music is sacred here. Local techno sets trend across the world with some of the planet’s most notorious techno clubs being situated in the German capital (Berghain and Watergate, anyone?), but the State Opera and Berlin Philharmonic cater well for the classically inclined. Berlin is also championing the world of experimental music and experiential music shows with many of the biggest concerts taking place in venues not initially intended for the live viewing of music. These are a few of the best things to do at night in Berlin.
Set inside the former GDR broadcast center, Funkhaus Nalepastraße is easily one of Berlin’s best nightclubs for people who aren’t a fan of the idea of hanging around in old Communist warehouses listening to techno. Playing host to everything from world-famous jazz ensembles right through to groundbreaking electronic artists, Funkhaus specializes in making sure it doesn’t pigeonhole itself with one genre, type of party or crowd. Over recent months Funkhaus has put on evenings from the likes of LCD Soundsystem and Depeche Mode to name a few, as well as regularly hosting more upbeat evenings with DJs such as Ben Klock and Adam Beyer all playing at the Funkhaus. However if music isn’t your thing, Funkhaus also regularly puts on events and exhibitions, including one in 2017 for Porsche and one for Zeiss Optics.
Anonymous from the outside, guests enter Tausend through a bare iron door beneath the Paris-Moskau railway and first timers could be forgiven for thinking twice. However, keep faith and you will discover one of the hottest nightspots in Berlin. Tausend has swiftly become the place to be seen, and several Hollywood bigwigs have loafed on its sofas. The mood is dark and seductive, with curved steel walls and plenty of mirrors. The vast bar is well stocked and well staffed, and you would be hard pressed to find a better Moscow Mule in Berlin.
House of Weekend
Berlin’s movers and shakers do a lot of their moving and shaking at this respected nightclub. House of Weekend offers luxurious surroundings with a breathtaking view over Berlin and the largest disco ball in the world.
In November 2015 the club opened Panorama Loft, exhibiting unique industrial design. In addition to the view this club commands from the 15th floor, Panorama Loft has its own bar and lounge area. The Roof Garden is then located on the 17th floor in the former House of Travel on Alexanderplatz. The Studio Floor club on the 15th floor accommodates up to 300 people with exclusive VIP lounges. Karl Lagerfeld, Lenny Kravitz and Beth Ditto have all celebrated here.
Liza Minnelli owes much to the Berlin cabaret scene. Her performance in ‘Cabaret’ earned her an Oscar and global stardom, and years later Berlin vaudeville lives on. The Chameleon Theatre is reminiscent of the Bob Fosse film, yet this is very much cabaret for the 21st century. Book a table by the stage and marvel at singers, dancers, contortionists and tumblers, while attentive waiters circulate. Delicious Mediterranean food is served one hour before the show and during the interval, and the wine is supplied by distinguished local merchant, the Wein & Glas Compagnie. You’ll find the theater within the Hackesche Höfe, a complex of courtyards with some wonderful art nouveau features and a splendid Berlin site on its own.
One of the world’s best symphony orchestras, the Berlin Philharmonic regularly scoops critics’ awards and plays to packed houses across the world. Its home is the Philharmonie, a striking modernist concert hall with legendary acoustics.
Designed by Hans Sharoun in the early 1960s, the Philharmonie soon set the standard for new concert halls far beyond German shores. Principle conductor Sir Simon Rattle has become a worldrenowned maestro in his own right, and whenever he takes the baton tickets sell fast. As well as major symphonies, the orchestra performs chamber concerts in the attached Kammermusiksaal, and the open air summer concerts are idyllic.
A-Trane Jazz Club
In the Golden Twenties, Berliners couldn’t get enough of jazz, and since the fall of the Wall the craze has returned.
Today you’ll find true jazz aficionados at A-Trane. Herbie Hancock, Wynton Marsalis and Arthur Blythe have all graced the stage here, and the nightly line-up is always first rate. The genres are eclectic; blues, soul, funk and nu jazz sit alongside more traditional styles, and the Saturday night jam sessions always keep you guessing. In short, a cozy, casual place to enjoy world-class jazz.