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The 7 best Berlin club nights

This city’s nightlife scene built its reputation on techno, but the best club nights in Berlin are treading new turf

By Josie Thaddeus-Johns and Nathan Ma |
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Tresor
© Tresor/Facebook

While the techno scene for which Berlin’s known is still going strong, a new generation of DJs and club kids have proven a disruptive force in recent years – and the city’s nightlife’s gone all the wilder for it. Some follow in the paths of Berghain, a local legend with a sex-friendly ethos and all-weekend lineup; others bring the heat with tropical flavours and poppy selectors.

All the same, as our selection of the best Berlin club nights shows, there’s never been a better time to enjoy nightlife in Berlin: LGBT-friendliness is a given, as are vibes so good you’ll never want to leave. Parties start around midnight and spill into the next day, but maintain a relatively relaxed attitude when it comes to dress codes – so feel free to pop on a pair of trainers that will last you from sunset to sunrise. Whether it’s hip hop, pop, R&B or, yes, techno, the Berlin scene’s never been better for a night on the town.

RECOMMENDED: Full guide to the best clubs in Berlin

Best club nights in Berlin

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Trade - Berlin - Germany
Photograph: Trade

Trade

Trade is a brand new monthly series, representing some of Berlin’s most exciting new producers like Lotic and Kablam. The ultra-trendy crowd, dressed in mesh, sportswear and a lot of black, is made up of the international, young creative class: artists, writers and musicians – or, as they might prefer, ‘collaborators’. On Wednesdays, this is where you’ll find Berlin’s hip-hip-hippest sipping cocktails and rubbing shoulders over glitchy and futuristic R&B-influenced beats, often from a live act or two.

Where and when: Various dates and locations – check their Facebook page for a full list of future events. 

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Plastic club night in Berlin
Photograph: Matthias Hamann

Plastic

If you’re after a taste of everything from the musical smorgasbord, these classic Friday night parties at SchwuZ in Neukölln are what you need. The spacious, repurposed industrial complex offers three dancefloors and a simmering midnight disco. And while acts with an international appeal often grace the decks – Peaches and mobilegirl included – they do try to nurture local acts too. It’s a mostly gay crowd, but just as welcoming to anyone looking for a good time.

Where and when: SchwuZ, last Friday of the month.

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Tresor
Photograph: Tresor / Camille Blake

Herrensauna

As the name implies, Herrensauna is a place to get sweaty. Though the night tours Europe quite often, it returns home to Berlin’s legendary Tresor about once a month. Explore the club’s labyrinthine passageways as DJs new and old spin old classics and underground cuts, but be sure to bring a spare T-shirt for the train ride home – you’ll thank us in the morning.

Where and when: Tresor, around once a month.

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Berries
Photograph: Berries

Berries

Berries, hosted by Stitch and Tchuani (pictured), tries to reflect hip hop’s ever-increasing diversity. At their quarterly parties, the duo play a mix of trap, grime and popping contemporary hip hop, while also hosting DJs and live acts like Ms. Boogie and Le1f.

Where and when: OHM, quarterly.

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Chantal’s House of Shame
© Chantal’s House of Shame / Lumiluis.com

Chantal’s House of Shame

Start the evening under a lip-shaped disco ball with superstar Chantal’s acid-tongued drag show, and sit back as it slowly rolls into a full-on gay house/techno party that could wind up somewhere around midnight on Friday. The setting of Friedrichshain Suicide Circus is over the top and fabulous in all the right ways. Technically a gay night – and especially popular with twenty-something guys – but friendly to all.

Where and when: Suicide Circus, Thursdays.

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Tresor
Photograph: Tresor

New Faces

The megalithic Tresor has made a huge contribution to Berlin’s status as one of the global centres of techno over the past 20 years, with acts such as Ellen Allien and Paul van Dyk getting their break behind the cage-like grille of the ex-department store’s DJ booth. Today, alongside an excellent label that represents a mix of German heroes and Detroit legends, the club continues to support new names with its New Faces night, a much-needed opportunity for up-and-coming talent to get behind the decks.

Where and when: Tresor, Wednesdays.

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Liber Null
Photograph: Liber Null

Liber Null

Fusing art and underground music is no easy feat, but Liber Null’s unashamed policy of experimental and leftfield booking cements its place far beyond the mainstream. Dark, gritty sounds characterise these nights, which often feature live performances (of the audio, dance and visual variety). This is Berlin’s gothic avant-garde, hoping to send you into a post-human dystopian headspace.

Where and when: Various locations and dates. Check the Liber Null Facebook for details.

Fancy a drink before you head out?

Bars and pubs

The 14 best bars in Berlin

If the Berlin bar scene is anything, it’s diverse (and thrillingly so). With cocktail dens and speakeasies rivalling Paris and London’s best, alongside a thriving neighbourhood pub and dive bar culture, it’s hard to go wrong when it comes to drinking before you sample Berlin’s storied clubs...

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