Easily the city’s most famous club – and some would say the world’s best – Berghain is not just for world-class techno: it’s a way of life for many of the tireless regulars who call it a ‘church’. Housed within an imposing former power station, it emerged in 2004 from the ashes of its legendary gay predecessor, Ostgut, which had fallen victim to the city’s massive infrastructure projects. Even ‘non-club’ people will be intoxicated by the open atmosphere, liberal attitudes, eccentric characters, the carefully preserved industrial fabric of the building and, of course, the gargantuan sound system.
It’s open, complete with dark rooms, from Friday midnight until well into Monday morning. The club’s reputation for a difficult and random door policy is not entirely undeserved: doorman Sven (recognisable by his facial tattoos) looms large all night with a seemingly haphazard attitude to who gets in. At peak times on a Saturday, only a third of the people in the queue will get past him – you’ll know you’re in if he nods; if he points to his left, hard luck. Don’t argue the toss, even if you’re feeling brave. We recommend that you be calm, sober and respectful in the queue; it goes without saying that drunken stag dos aren’t welcome.
Once inside, a zero-tolerance camera ban is enforced – expect to be immediately ejected if you flout the rules. Other than that, you can go wild, safe in the knowledge that nothing you get up to will ever return to haunt you on social media. Panorama Bar, up a flight of stairs from Berghain, is a smaller dancefloor that plays old-school house and features outsize artworks by Wolfgang Tillmans. Go there when the shutters open just after sunrise for one of the most climactic moments of the weekend.