How do I…get to know the Berlin nightlife rules?

The bizarre and wonderful world of Berlin after dark is one that draws travellers from far and wide. Awe-inspiring as it is, Berlin's nightlife is not for the faint of heart, so here's what you need to know to make your first Berlin clubbing experience a rip roaring success...

Ditch the card

Berlin is a cash city, and I learned this the hard way. If you’re used to tapping your life away (aren’t we all?) make sure to get some cash out before hitting the clubs. No one wants to do the walk of shame to the nearest cash point after queuing up for half an hour, and it might even spare you from the dreaded experience of looking at your bank balance the morning after a tap-happy night before…

Know who's playing

Berliners care about their techno. Like, a lot. It’s not just a genre of music, it’s a community – even a way of life for some. While you might normally go out to have a drink and a well-earned boogie, Berliners host esteemed DJ’s that people cross the country to see. If you’ve got a club in mind you’d like to go to, do your research and make sure you know who’s playing, or you could risk getting turned away at the door. 

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Dress the part

Nowhere else in the world could dressing up or looking too nice actually get you turned away from a nightclub. Depending on where you go, here’s are a big no-no. That’s not to say that more fancy clubs and bars don’t exist, they’re everywhere. But most of the famous Berlin nightclubs have a strict dress-down dress code. After all, who could party for 24 hours straight in heels? Time to embrace the sneaker way of life.

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Timing is everything

Of course your instinct is to save the big nights out for the weekend (24-hour u-Bahn for the win) but weekdays also slay the game on the Berlin nightclub scene. Head to a certain bar or club on a Tuesday night, and you could easily stay there until dawn – but the same club could close at 2 am on a Saturday. Some clubs pop off during the summer months, and others close during July and August. No matter what day of the week it is, you’ll always find something amazing after dark.

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Keep it cool

Berlin is a very liberal city, and one of the reasons tourists get turned away from clubs is because bouncers don’t think they can handle it. From BDSM rooms to breakfast buffets, some clubs in Berlin are their own world with their own rules. So whatever club you’re entering, make sure you know what you’re getting into – because acting totally bewilderingly shocked could kill the vibe. There’s a reason you’re not allowed your phone in Berghain…

Ask around

Not sure where to start, or overwhelmed by all the search results online? Ask around. Local Berliners will have their fingers on the pulse of everything that’s going on in Berlin after dark. So many of Berlin’s hottest parties are either last minute or unable to scope out online, so word of mouth is your best bet when it comes to off the beaten track DJ sets. Also, ask Berliners what type of music/DJ’s they’re into, and then check them out. You never know, you might find they’re playing near you…

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