The Vrnts's definitive city guide to Berlin helps you plan the perfect trip with information on travel, hotels, restaurants, activities and clubs across the city. Read these tips and become Ein Berliner. In this second chapter we'll suggest where to have fun, eat and sleep.
Aaand here we are. The Berghain. Is it the best club in the world? Yes. Are we going to do the 100th guide about getting in? No, only few tips.
Just an introduction, Berghain is the reincarnation of the "legendary" Ostgut club (1998–2003) and emerged from a male-only fetish club night called "Snax", which was held in different locations before it found its permanent home at the Ostgut. The name “Berghain" was born in 2004 and is a mix of the names of the two quarters that flank the south and north sides of the building in which the club is housed: Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain. Anyway, this is not a gay-only club, it’s “straight-friendly” and if you’re straight we suggest you to avoid darkrooms and basement (don’t even ask what’s going on in it).
So, why everyone freaks out when talking about Berghain? Because it’s a mix of experiences that you’ll hardly find elsewhere. Imagine being in a former Communist power plant with cathedral ceilings, watching dawn’s light from the Panorama bar, losing yourself on the suspended platform of the turbine room as one of the world’s most sophisticated sound systems enervates you with high-end techno. And did we mention the ICE-CREAM COFFEESHOP? Try to think dancing for hours through thousands of people and it’s 6Am. A strawberry-vanilla ice cream is the best thing you could ask for.
But let’s talk about the most important thing about this club, as you probably know, it’s quite impossible to get in. The difficulty of getting into Berghain is almost as legendary as, or more legendary than, the club itself. If you don’t want to spend three or four hours to be rejected by the iconic doorman Sven Marquardt, follow these few steps:
- Don’t be too fancy, no high fashion, no too many colours, no jewels, just try too wear mainly black and look casual. - Don’t speak, especially in Italian, French and Spanish, if you have to talk do it in low voice and in German or English. No big groups, max three people, if you’re more than three separate the group. - No joking, no laughing, no loud talking, just stay in line possibly in silence (yes it could seem excessive but you’ll have all the fun once inside). Go early possibly, so avoid peak hours on Saturday night from 1AM to 4AM. Entrance is about 10/15€.
Watergate is a split-level, two-room club overlooking the River Spree in Berlin's Kreuzberg neighbourhood. Located on the river's edge with floor-to-ceiling glass windows, it offers a panoramic view of the Spree with curtains that can let the daylight in as the club night winds down. Known for its LED lighting panel that spans the entire length of the top floor of the club, Watergate mostly plays host to house and techno parties. The club might not have the specific Berlin-style like some other clubs, but it has a great location and if you love Techno and Electro you will enjoy this club for sure. Entrance is about 10€.
The new incarnation of an old techno institution, Tresor Club is set in an abandoned power plant spanning 22,000m² on Köpenicker Straße in Berlin's Mitte neighbourhood. It’s a labyrinth of concrete passages mazing into basement vaults and industrial halls. Inside there are three separate but connected floors: Globus and +4Bar for house and experimental electronic music, and, of course, the famed vault which, reached through a 30m long tunnel, carries the Tresor sound uncompromisingly. Entrance is from 7 to 15€.
Located in Berlin's central Mitte neighbourhood, when in full swing, the Weekend club takes over the twelfth, fifteenth and rooftop terrace floors of the Haus Des Reisens building in Alexanderplatz. Because of its high-altitude locations, Weekend offers views of Berlin from the windows of its old Soviet tower block. It's open from Thursday to Sunday playing mostly techno and house. Entrance is about 10€.
If you like Singaporean and Indonesian taste and aesthetic you’ll love this restaurant. The atmosphere is unique, waiters are super friendly and the food is really good. A great choice of cocktails too make this place one of the best in Berlin. The menu includes various kind of meat like lamb, chicken, duck in tandoori, masala, tikka, curry vindaloo and madrasi style. Expect to spend about 15€. Oranienstraße 204
The restaurant is a traditional Italian with white linen tablecloths and a cosy atmosphere. Its selection of pasta, meat, fish and salad dishes are exceptional and take you to Italy for the dinner. The menu includes classic Italian dishes and variations with ingredients like truffles, mushrooms, cheese and Mediterranean spices. Dinner price about 15/20€. Strausberger Platz 2 10243
Translated as ‘tastebuds’, Papilles’ Parisian owners set the stage for refined, yet understated food with emphasis on taste over quantity. Sinking into an antique arm chair, you will be approached by one of the friendly waiters who will list the seasonal choices on offer. The best picks at Papilles are beloved Parisian classics such as the goat’s cheese crouton salad and brunch favourites such as Benny’s eggs and homemade granola. You’re going to spend about 10/15€. Flughafenstr. 25 12053
Credits Flamingo Fresh Food
Flamingo fresh food is a cosy, friendly bistro in Mitte with homemade, and creative daily changing food, fresh juice, sandwich, soup, salad, cake, coffe and latte. It is perfect for breakfast or a small snack during the day. Menu includes Sandwich with Gorgonzola cheese and Cranberry, Pasta with dried tomatoes or pesto and Pineapple carrot soup are definitively a must. Prices don’t exceed 5€. Neustädtische Kirchstraße 8, 10117
Credits Berlin Food Stories
It’s a must. They make daily fresh burger variations such as the "Hausmeista", the "Bar-B-Q-Burger" or the hearty "Meister of all Trades" with double meat and double cheese. The juicy meat patties are 100% pure beef and grilled right in front of the waiting customers. Burgermeister offers as side dish normal fries, cheese fries or chili-cheese fries scalloped with cheese, beef, onions and fresh jalapeños. Since their space is limited at Burgermeister, you have to be prepared to wait a little, depending on how busy the place is. Very cheap. Oberbaumstraße 8 10997
Credits Ostel.eu and Coolplaces.net
A must for all the nostalgic of the 70s, this hostel in Berlin’s Friedrichshain district features authentic East German design. Das DDR Hostel is a 4-minute walk from Ostbahnhof Train Station, and 3 minutes from the famous Berghain club. As a theme hostel, it is decorated with retro furniture, an old-style radio and 1970’s wallpaper. Apartments include a fully equipped kitchen and dining area. Wriezener Karree 5, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, 10243.
Situated in the trendy Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg district in a former Bishop’s Palace dating back to 1874, The Grand Hostel Berlin is a hostel that combines a bit of old world Berlin charm , great hospitality plus has a stunning library bar. It’s a great experience staying here, the combination of old Berlin Charm, beautiful interior décor and great service from staff make you feel you are staying in a hotel more than a hostel-a great experience. Tempelhofer Ufer 14, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, 10963.
This 1907 limestone block is located next to the Brandenburg Gate and near major embassies and the Reichstag. "The historical associations give you chills," says a reader. Its lobby, with golden ceilings and a stained-glass dome, is "a perfect place to have afternoon tea." Designed by London’s Ezra Attia Associates and Sweden’s AB Living Designs, the rooms and suites vary in terms of price and indulgence levels, though all come with limestone floors, mahogany and cherry furnishings and black granite bathrooms with bathtubs. The Möet Ice Impérial Lounge, located on the hotel’s terrace at Pariser Platz, has a direct view of the gate. The restaurant Lorenz Adlon Esszimmer serves haute European, including venison in pepper sauce with beets and horseradish. Expensive. Unter den Linden 77.
Credits Dasstue.com and Homedesign.com
Where to start with luxury boutique hotel Das Stue in Berlin? This is a place where you can spy on ostriches, have a 25-course meal courtesy of Michelin-starred Catalan chef Paco Pérez, and reach all of Berlin’s best bits in an easy stroll. The former Royal Danish Embassy has a pearl-white spa with Alpine-influenced treatments, whimsical animal motifs and flawless design, courtesy of Spanish interiors whizz, Patricia Urquiola. Expensive. 1 Drakestrasse, Tiergarten 10787
A classic. As far as chain hotels go, we’ve always appreciated the reliability and affordability of ibis, one of Europe’s largest budget chains. Its convenient location (steps from a tram that will whisk you to either Prenzlauer Berg or Alexanderplatz) and spotless rooms, the two-star ibis Hotel Berlin Mitte doesn’t disappoint. Sure, the ibis Berlin Mitte is not the most charming hotel you’ll find in Berlin, nor is it the cheapest. But ibis has a reputation for providing comfortable accommodations and friendly service, and the Mitte property holds up on both counts. Those looking for an affordable, central sleep will find this place to be a solid pick, especially when rates drop. Prenzlauer Allee 4 or Anhalter Str. 4 or Bayreuther Str. 39 or An der Schillingbrücke 2
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