What exactly grows in Berghain’s garten anyway? It’s a question precisely as unimportant as its answer because whatever it is, it’s back in bloom.
If Morgen ist die Frage, then it has been half-answered, at least. In the world of Covid-clubbing, compromise is king and, for a little while, that has meant only two things: open-airs or seated techno.
It’s not only that our favourite summer raving spots have returned. No, the big news is that there are some excellent new clubs waiting to be explored.
Schnellerstraße 137, Niederschöneweide
Revier Südost has the kind of imposing post-industrial energy devotees of Berghain crave. And who knows, one day, when the whole labyrinthine complex with all its darkened nooks and inviting crannies is open for this particular brand of rabid playtime, it may well be a worthy pretender to the crown.
There’s so much space in the old Bärenquell brewery in Schöneweide that you could probably throw three or four parties simultaneously without them disturbing each other. The one-time Griessmühle crew has done an incredible job renovating the long-abandoned grounds, and the place is finally starting to take shape with open-air events happening all weekend in the outdoor spaces.
Line-ups are stellar for the foreseeable future, too: Evan Baggs, Sally C, Mama Snake, Byron Yeates and more all play within days of one another. It’s a sure that Revier Südost is determined to dust off the dance floor once and for all and get back to raving proper.
Schleusenufer 3, Kreuzberg
A brand-new club in a familiar location, Aeden is another addition to the already bustling Lohmühleninsel. Built on what was once Chalet and Burg Schnabel, it counts Club der Visionäre, Ipse and Arena as neighbours. In other words, fine company.
The outdoor venue has shot up fairly quickly and, in typical Berlin fashion, it’s a kind of rugged-looking DIY wood and girders affair. But, to its credit, Aeden has propped up any early wobbles with a string of heavyweight lineups, including many of the city’s biggest DJs, in just a few weeks. The dance floor is smaller than most, and it’s clear that Aeden is still something of a work in progress but when it’s jumping, the place is definitely worth a visit.
Am Wriezener Bahnhof, Friedrichshain
It’s no surprise that Berghain has a place on the list. The garden is, in its own way, somewhat charming. Closer to a Japanese rock garden than an English country garden – though, in truth, neither analogy is particularly useful. It’s really more reminiscent of an early-noughties FPS multiplayer map, replete with all the requisite glitches, self-inflicted for the most part, and twice as fun to play.
In the end, that’s what it’s all about. Berghain is Berghain. As beguiling as it is brilliant, there’s no other place quite like it. This summer, Berghain are putting on a series of Hangouts, mostly live-sets and experimental music that run midweek, while Saturdays and Sundays are reserved for Klubgarten, which is essentially Berghain as you know and love it. Given the staggering popularity of the venue, there have naturally been a few teething problems in the early weeks with regard to the bar and particularly the bathrooms – more so than usual – but things are gradually evening out. If you’re looking for genuine clubbing, this is as close as it gets.
A newcomer in the city and set apart from its peers by the fact that you can actually swim here. Battle-hardened beat heads can chat till they’re blue in the face about the pool at KitKatKlub or the Landwehrkanal at Griessmühle, but isn’t the Lido at Wedding’s lovely Plötzensee just a slightly more attractive proposition?
Well, you’ll have to wait to find out. The location is the subject of a last-minute cease and desist order from the Bezirksamt Mitte, which has banned all planned large-scale events – notably Pornceptual and other such famously salacious parties – on the grounds that the lido itself stands adjacent to a nature reserve. Plötze, with the support of the Clubcommission, is currently in the process of appealing the ban, so watch this space. It could be a special one.
Dircksenstraße 77, Mitte
If you didn’t know that Golden Gate had a garden you wouldn’t be to blame. It’s the spot outside the main entrance which somehow does and doesn’t make sense. On the one hand, where else could it be? On the other, how can it possibly stay open until four in the morning? Don’t ask, just dance.
The mysteries of the Jannowitzbrücke club are myriad and it can’t be denied that Golden Gate has a brand of twisted appeal that just you don’t see in many clubs. A sort of feral energy that turns away just as many as it attracts. Just how well that sharply animated exuberance translates into the open air is actually a good question, and one that is definitely worth answering for yourself.
Hauptstraße 15, Rummelsburg
A fantasyland of the highest order, Sisyphos is back and the great iron ducks of the gate will part again. The club has always had something of a big-top atmosphere and you can expect more of the same on return. Obviously, there’s no Hammerhalle here, this is a strictly outdoors event. Honestly, in itself that is no bad thing as it makes good use of what is arguably the club’s best asset in it’s fabulous outdoor area.
It’s hard to imagine that Sisyphos will look any different to usual and its fans, of which there are plenty, will be out in force. Alongside Berghain, Sisyphos will be guaranteed to be at capacity for the entirety of the summer, so if you’re looking to dance with the ducks, then you’d better act fast.
Wiesenweg 1-4, Friedrichshain
Moving on to the seated venues, Oxi Garten is first among equals. If not for the vibe, which is hampered no end by the aforementioned seating requirement, then for the music which is unquestionably excellent. Even the most cursory glance at the programme will tell you everything that you need to know here. A lot of good work goes into these bookings, so if want to keep up to date with the stuff that’s making waves in the electronic music scene, Oxi Garten is a terrific place to start.
Set-up in what was once the outdoor space of Friedrichshain’s Polygon club, Oxi Garten has done well to carve out it’s own identity in a relatively short of time. And when the dancing does return, it can only really get better.
Alt-Treptow 14-17, Alt-Treptow
Another newbie, Haus Zenner sits snuggly in the far reaches of Treptower Park on the banks of the Spree. Having been taken over by the people from Wilde Renate and Else, the beer garden has been reimagined as a slightly more grown-up space for live music and cultural events. Yes, there’s plenty of craft beer here and an exhaustive wine list to boot, but if that’s your tonic then you’ll be pleased to finally find a sunny joint with fancy drinks and good music.
It’s seated, of course, but it was always going to be, and probably always will be. Still, the fact is that for those who prefer a more temperate live music environment, Zenner is a welcome addition to the city.