Sitting in a dusty lot on the border of Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain, Berghain is widely considered one of the world’s best nightclubs. It has two dance floors: Berghain, a dark main room where most DJs play techno, and Panorama Bar, an upstairs space that’s more focused on house, though the music policy in both rooms is very open-ended. (There’s also a men’s-only club on the first level called Lab.Oratory, and a smaller club with a separate entrance called Kantine am Berghain.)
A number of details give Berghain its cult appeal: its residents, which include Steffi, Tama Sumo, Marcel Dettmann and Ben Klock, its set lengths, which range from three hours to more than eight, and its decor, which is mostly metal and poured concrete, with 30 meter ceilings and seemingly endless nooks and crannies.
Most of the parties are extremely long: Friday night events usually wrap up early Saturday afternoon, but Saturdays typically run well into Monday morning. Perhaps the most notorious aspect of the club is its door policy—hundreds of people are turned away each weekend, including regulars, often for reasons that are completely mysterious to everyone except the doormen.
In 2016, Berghain is such an icon of club culture that even your mum and dad are planning to catch a few hours of Marcel Dettmann when they zip over for a winter break. You’ve got to prepare for the fact that everyone else in Berlin is also thinking, “Hey, yeah, let’s have some currywurst, stroll through the Topography of Terror, and then go to the big famous nightclub!” Now more than ever, the bouncers are tasked with selecting a chosen few from the thousands who want to get in. So keep in mind you may have to queue for hours, and even then you might not get in. Don’t feel bad. It happens to most people.