How To Get Into Berlin Clubs: Top Tips Revealed

Key takeaways:

  • Berlin is famous for its nightlife – and its notoriously difficult-to-get-into nightclubs
  • It’s important to plan your night carefully, targeting the clubs that best suit your music taste and sense of style
  • Research the dress code and dress appropriately (but be yourself!)
  • Try to learn a little German to speak to the bouncers
  • Go in pairs or threes, and try to have an equal gender split
  • Research the rules of the club and remember – most clubs have a strict no phone policy
  • Have fun, party all weekend, wear your earplugs, and take regular breaks!

Berlin is famous for many things, from its must-see architecture to its long and interesting history, and from the city’s multicultural food scene to its cultural scene. Yes, that’s right: one of the things Berlin is best known for is for how it’s made its name as one of the coolest places in the world for parties and crazy nightlife. 

Clubs in Berlin are also known for something else: being difficult to get into. When the bouncer says “nein”, you can’t argue with them – all you can do is walk away and try another day.

However, there are plenty of tricks you can use to get past the bouncers and dance the night away. So, let’s dive in and take a look at cracking the secrets of nightlife in Berlin.

Why are nightclubs in Berlin so legendary?

Berlin has a long history of partying, and the city is unique in that its clubs never have to close their doors. 

After the end of World War Two, Berlin was a divided city. In both East and West Berlin, there were strict curfews in place for bars. In the West, they had to close at 9pm, while establishments in the East could close their doors an hour later at 10pm.

Frustrated, West Berlin moved its curfew back by an hour – and then East Berlin pushed its back by another hour. This kept happening until 1949 when a hotelier called Heinz Zellermayer persuaded the officials to abolish the curfews completely.

His reasoning? It was a showcase of the city’s western values, and it’d be good for the economy.

He was right, as the curfew ban has been in place since 1949 and it’s estimated by the Berlin Club Commission that techno tourism brings more than 3 million people to the city every year, who spend around €1.4 billion annually.

The no-curfew rule is certainly a draw to Berlin’s nightclubs – for both visitors and locals alike. But it’s not the only reason why Berlin clubbing is so big. 

When the Berlin Wall fell, the city’s residents took advantage of their new unity to live life to the fullest. Parties and nightclubs sprang up in derelict buildings and abandoned industrial spaces, as people came together for the first time in nearly 30 years.

With this, came a sense of freedom and self-expression that lives on until this day. The city’s clubs are renowned for the fact that everything goes. Well, except for one: what happens in the club stays in the club.

What to expect from Berlin’s nightlife

Techno is a big thing in Berlin, but there are plenty of other genres catered for, too.

Probably the most famous nightclub – and also the hardest club to get into – in Berlin is Berghain. Founded in 2004, this exclusive club is known for its tricky-to-please bouncers and partying that lasts all weekend long. If you can get past the notoriously strict door policy, then you’re in for a guaranteed good time, whether you stay for just one evening, or make the most of the re-entry policy that means you can keep coming back until Monday morning.

Another must-visit Berlin club is Tresor. It’s housed in a warehouse, giving a dark and dingy vibe with plenty of hidden corners where you can lose yourself in the music. It’s been going since 1991, making it one of the longest-running techno clubs not only in Berlin, but in the world.

If you’ve been researching clubbing in Berlin, you’ve probably come across KitKatClub, known to tourists as Berlin’s sex club. That was certainly true in the past, and while the club is still very sex-positive, today most people go for the dancing (although there is still a dress code that encourages your kinky side).

Other big-name clubs to look out for include Sisyphos, Salon zur Wilden Renate, ://about blank, and Watergate – but there are so many more to choose from, each with its own vibe and music style.

So, you’ve chosen your club and you’re ready to party. How can you make sure to get past those infamous Berlin club door policies? Here are our tried-and-tested tips.

Plan your night out

If you want to get into the club in Berlin, it’s important to plan ahead. You can’t just show up with no clue about what DJs are playing or what the atmosphere is and expect to get in. 

For the best chance of success, you need to do some research into the different nightclubs in Berlin and choose the one that best fits your music preferences and style. 

Wherever you go, make sure to do some research and find out who’s playing. It’s one question the bouncers are guaranteed to ask – and if you can’t give an answer, you have no chance of getting into the party.

Some things to think about when planning your night out include:

  • What sort of music do you like? 

It’s best to start here. Bouncers will be able to spot it from a mile off if you’re just there for a bit of nightclub tourism, so it’s best to go to a club that plays the music you like. Berlin is famous for techno, but there’s something for everyone in the city, from R ‘n’ B to pop – and you’re sure to have a much better night if you’re dancing to your favorite tunes!

Always have backup options too, in case you get turned away, and make sure you know who’s playing at each club you plan to try.

  • How long are you prepared to wait? 

Some clubs are more popular than others (looking at you, Berghain), and the chance of rejection is higher. Are you okay with waiting for hours, then getting turned away? Or would you rather go to a quieter club that has a more lenient door policy? There’s no right or wrong: it’s whatever works for you.

  • What dress code are you comfortable with? 

At most clubs in Berlin, casual is king and there’s no dress code to speak of as such – but high heels and short skirts aren’t likely to fly. At some clubs, like KitKat, less literally is more, as they have an ‘undress policy’. So think about what you’re comfortable with, and plan your night accordingly.

  • Read up on the rules

Most clubs will have strict rules, one of the most important of which is ‘no phones’. Find out the rules where you plan to party, so you don’t get caught out.

Dress code and appearance

The way you’re dressed can make the difference between whether you get into a Berlin club or not. So, the all-important question is: what to wear in Berlin clubs?

Often, people think that you need to dress in all black to fit in at a Berlin nightclub. While it’s true that most clubbers in the city prefer a dark, Gothic vibe, it doesn’t mean that you necessarily have to wear black.

The most important rule is to be yourself. Again, security will be able to tell if you’re just trying to fit in, so try to relax, and just wear what you usually would. That being said, you’ll stick out like a sore thumb if you look super dressy. The Berlin club scene is pretty casual, so avoid high heels and loads of accessories. The more laid back, the better.

Some clubs do, of course, have particular dress codes – like KitKat, as we mentioned before, which encourages fetish gear, and Salon zur Wilden Renate, where bright and bold looks work best. Most clubs have themed nights on particular days of the week, too, so double check if there's a particular dress code if you’re planning to party during the week. 

Queuing and entry

The doors of Berlin clubs open at midnight, and the queues are longest at 1am, so be there when the clock strikes midnight. Nightclubs in Berlin are famous for starting the party at Saturday midnight, and running all the way through until Sunday evening. Another good option is to join the queue on Sunday morning when it’s likely to be quieter.

Small groups are best, so if you’re going out with lots of others, split into twos or threes to wait in the queue. You can always meet up again inside the cub – assuming you all get in, that is! It’s also a good idea to have an even gender split. Big groups of guys will more often than not get told “nein”.

When you’re in the queue, don’t use your phone. If you’re waiting for a couple of hours, it can be tempting to scroll through Insta and take some Snaps, but trust us: don’t. If you can’t resist temptation, leave your phone at home altogether. All of Berlin’s clubs have strict no-phone policies, so the security will be looking out for people who can adhere to this.

Show up sober(ish!) and try to keep your cool while you’re in the queue. Don’t talk loudly or laugh too much. You need to take it seriously – at least until you’re inside. When you approach the door, keep a cool attitude, and speak to the security in German if you can.

Even if you don’t speak German, a little goes a long way. Try saying “I only speak a little German” (“Ich spreche nur ein bisschen Deutsch”) to show you’ve at least made a little effort. You could even try to befriend some locals while waiting in line. They can show you the ropes, give you tips, and may even vouch for you when you get to the front of the queue.

Berlin nightclub etiquette

Once you’re in the club, the aim of the game is to have fun. But there are some dos and don’ts to remember:

  • Don’t use your phone! Some clubs will place a sticker over your camera to make sure you won’t spend the night snapping away. But even if they don’t, put your phone away. Seriously. Just soak up the vibes and respect your fellow clubbers who want the freedom to be themselves (and not appear on your Snapchat).
  • Check your bag in the cloakroom. No one wants to get hit in the face by your giant backpack as they’re dancing.
  • Be respectful of your fellow clubbers. Anything goes in Berlin clubs, and you’re likely to see all sorts of weird and wonderful things. Take it all in your stride and play nice: don’t stare and don’t touch anyone without their permission.

Enjoy the music, soak up the vibes, and get your groove on. And one final tip for making the most of your Berlin clubbing experience: don’t forget your earplugs. Berliners like it loud, and if you’re partying all night (or all weekend) long, then you’re sure to have some ringing ears by the end of it.

Wearing earplugs designed for events, like Loop Experience, will mean you can still hear the music while reducing the volume levels. They’re made with a patented acoustic channel and mesh to filter noise rather than blocking it out, offering up to 18 decibels of noise reduction. 

Plus, you can match them to your outfit to give you the right Berlin vibe – whatever look you’re going for. Will you choose sleek black for the classic techno look, or go for a flash of glam with metallic gold? You could even take the chance to let your personality shine through with our fun and fabulous limited edition collections. Remember, it’s all about being yourself, and Loop earplugs offer one more way to express yourself through your outfit.

Also be sure to take plenty of breaks. You can get a stamp to allow re-entry, so don’t feel like you need to stay inside the club the entire time. Pop out, get some fresh air, give your ears a rest – and then when you feel refreshed, get back to dancing. When it comes to Berlin nightlife, it’s more of a marathon than a sprint!

Have the time of your life!

Some clubs in Berlin are notoriously hard to get into – but none of them are impossible. As long as you follow our tips, you should be in with a shot of getting into the club of your choice.

And if you get turned away? It’s all part of the fun. Don’t try to argue with the bouncer or plead with them. Just smile and walk away, then get in line for your second club of choice – you did read the part about having backup options, right?

Wherever you end up, you’re sure to have fun. After all, Berlin’s nightlife is world-renowned for a reason. So just relax and go with the flow – we’re sure you’re going to love it!

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