Club Insider: 10 Of The Best Berlin Techno Clubs

Nowhere does techno like Berlin. Here's a look at some of the best clubs Germany's capital has to offer

berghain, berlin

Berlin is the techno mecca of the world. Its gritty underbelly has dark roots deeply embedded in underground culture, where a raw, uncompromised and unadulterated sound marries an unflattering, unsympathetic industrial setting.

Techno to Berlin is opera to Florence. Its importance on such a colourful city is understated. Millions from all across the globe make regular pilgrimages to Berlin, each seeking that kick drum-driven atmosphere that’s hard to find elsewhere. Some never leave – and who can blame them.

Here’s a look at some of Berlin’s most iconic and well-respected techno hotspots.


Berghain

  • Where? Friedrichshain
  • When? Sunday afternoon sessions
  • Will I Get In? No

berghain, berlin

It wouldn’t be a Berlin club feature without beginning with Berghain. The notorious former power plant started its physical days as Ostgut club, before fully reincarnating as Berghain, named due to its location between Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain.

The infamous club is notarised by its marathon sessions and strict door policy, with nights soundtracked by Ostgut Ton label originators Ben Klock, Marcel Dettmann and André Galluzzi, as well as countless international guests and Berlin natives.

berghain

Berghain houses two sections. First is the no-holds-barred gay sex club Lab.Oratory, fuelled by intense hedonism and an anything goes attitude. Lastly is the famous Panorama Bar, which has curated some of house and techno’s finest night-to-day-to-night parties.

This notorious techno institution is one worthy of your Berlin bucket list. And if you do get in, just remember: NO PHOTOS!

Tresor

  • Where? Mitte
  • When? Check-out the annual Atonal festival in late summer
  • Will I Get In? Chances sit between Berghain and pre-Brexit Britain

tresor, berlin

From one abandoned power plant to another. Tresor sits deep in the heart of Berlin’s east side and was one of the first to help establish the German capital as an international techno hub.

Though starting in the early 90s, Tresor moved location in 2007, to another – you guessed it – abandoned power plant. But with almost two decades already behind it, Tresor is much more than bricks and mortar.

tresor berlin

The Tresor label started soon after it opened its first club, with the likes of Jeff Mills, Juan Atkins, Robert Hood and many more having featured in the past. This Berlin electronic music establishment is as much a part of techno history as the kick drum is.

Soak in Tresor’s experimental sound on its IOSONO 3D sound-system in its 30-metre long Vault room. You’ll find this famed three-level club in Berlin’s Mitte neighbourhood.

:// About Blank

  • Where? Friedrichshain
  • When? Open in the later part of the week, with evenings often turning to days
  • Will I Get In? Strict so wear your darkest t-shirt to show just techno you are

about blank, berlin

:// About Blank began as an illegal hideaway for Berlin’s burning underground rave scene in the early 2000s.

Its multi-room setting and outdoor space offer a different kind of Berlin clubbing experience, where night-time revellers can physically explore the various twists and turns this gritty techno night-club offers, all whilst their mind sponges a genre-bending blend of techno, house, electro and bass.

about blank

Recent guests include Amelie Lens, DJ Sprinkles and Omar-S. But be sure to check-out :// About Blank’s STAUB party, which often extends through the weekend and beyond. It’s gained a serious reputation in the German capital.

If gritty, dark and underground is what you’re after: :// About Blank is your best bet – and if you do need a breather, you can always stumble into the courtyard for some Friedrichshain fresh air.

Funkhaus

  • Where? Köpenick
  • When? Check-out the live performance listings for a different music experience
  • Will I Get In? Yes

funkhaus

This former power plant broadcast centre sits in Berlin’s east side, overlooking the Spree river, and hosts all kinds of musical entertainment, from orchestra recordings to choirs to jazz ensembles.

Its MONOM club – a part of Funkhaus – boasts an otherworldly 4D state-of-the-art sound system. Which – for the philistines out there – basically means it’s the bollocks. With 48 omni-directional speakers, extended to nine underfloor subs, MONOM is an experience for any audiophile.

Other parts of this sprawling building include open cavernous settings, giving it a real Berlin via Detroit warehouse rave feel. Recent previous performers include the likes of Aphex Twin, Keinemusik and Carl Craig.

Funkhaus is a special club that provides an interesting music experience. Whether it’s through its club takeovers or live performances: Funkhaus is one for the radar.

Acud Macht Neu

  • Where? Mitte
  • When? Away from the music, it occasionally hosts pop-up flea markets
  • Will I Get In? Sure

berlin

Like Funkhaus, Acud Macht Neu is much more than a techno club. This versatile venue showcases all kinds of events. It has an art gallery, studio, lecture space, bar and – of course – a dancefloor.

Acud Macht Neu is a real cultural hotspot in Berlin’s Mitte area. It has a long and respected tradition of giving local talent a world-class space to showcase their mastery. Whether it’s their Shameless/Limitless residents or fan-favourites from the other side of the world: this special Berlin club brings in an enthused and educated crowd.

Acud Macht Nue is a club for the connoisseur and those looking to expand their knowledge of the scene. It’s one worth looking out for.

KitKatClub

  • Where? Kreuzberg
  • When? First Friday of the month for Gegen
  • Will I Get In? Yes. Bring Vaseline

berlin, kitkat

In true Berlin clubbing fashion, KitKatClub is a conservative’s nightmare. This hedonistic slice of sex-clubbing-heaven is just about as loose as they come. And although skin, sweat and seduction play a big part in this club’s reputation; music is just as important.

Its diverse weekly programme moves from all kinds of genres. House, techno, psytrance, electro and more serve-up a nightly selection of proper good music, soundtracked by local up-and-coming talented DJs.

KitKatClub has had its fair share of mainstream media attention and has survived a few closing scares threatened by Berlin property developers, which means you have all the more reason to experience this very unique club yourself.

Kater Blau

  • Where? Kreuzberg
  • When? Afternoon clubbing in the courtyard can be special
  • Will I Get In? 80/20 chance

berlin

An evolution of now-closed Kater Holzig and Bar 25, Kater Blau is one of Berlin’s freshest club offerings, yet it still retains history, owing to the fact it physically sits next to where Bar 25 once was.

It provides multiple rooms and different kinds of genres, housed in a real rustically influenced shackled space on the edge of the Spree river. Its modern meets pop-punk aesthetic presents the perfect playground for Berlin’s most eccentric club-goers.

Kater Blau’s open-air courtyard is nestled neatly in an industrial part of town. Find this tucked-away oddball magnet and you’ll be coming back for more and more, oddball.

Ritter Butzke

  • Where? Kreuzberg
  • When? Summer Friday evenings are known to go off
  • Will I Get In? Ja

berlin, ritter butzke

Another once-illegal venue, Ritter Butzke recently refurbished with the addition of a new apocalyptic Dampfmaschine space, where LED walls meet old science trinkets and end-of-the-world electronic music.

The former factory spreads over three levels – as well as an outdoor courtyard – where patrons can enjoy a perfect mix of great music and an open-minded crowd.

Find Ritter Butzke in Berlin’s edgy Kruezberg quarter.

Salon Zur Wilden Renate

  • Where? Friedrichshain
  • When? The House Of Red Doors takeover is a winner
  • Will I Get In? No guarantees here

Salon Zur Wilden Renate

Chic decadence meets a thumping speaker system and a well-up-for-it crowd at this trendy Berlin club. Salon Zur Wilden Renate is international quality with full-focused local attitude, which allows the German capital residents to exhibit their wares in an unmatched intimate atmosphere.

In an inspiring finger-up to residential gentrification, this favoured techno club sits in a re-purposed former apartment building. With three levels of electronic music goodness to choose from, Salon Zur Wilden Renate is somewhere you should think of during your next Berlin stay.

Salon Zur Wilden Renate is in the capital’s Friedrichshain district. Notable parties include The House Of Red Doors and Voyage Voyage.

Watergate

  • Where? Kreuzberg
  • When? Known for some wicked midweek parties
  • Will I Get In? At this point, does it really matter? If not, Berlin at night will provide

watergate, berlin

Watergate’s fabled illuminated LED ceiling gives this riverside venue an added layer of club night entertainment. Not forgetting the huge floor-to-ceiling glass windows overlooking the Spree, which can make those daybreak sessions even more special.

Inside, the atmosphere is intimate yet spacious, owing to the club’s modern design. Opening in 2002, Watergate has become a firm Berlin clubbing staple for locals and tourists alike. Low ceiling, bright lights, dark hideaways, an ear-shagging sound-system and some of the best DJs in the world? Watergate is the one.

Find Watergate on the Spree river in the Kreuzberg neighbourhood.


Berlin really does have something for everyone. And for any real Berlin club experts out there, where else would you add to the list? And more importantly, can you sort guestlist?