King Kong Klub
Brunnenstrasse 173, 10119 Berlin. Station: Rosenthaler Platz
Famous location, varying DJs serve the full range of indie, new wave,
northern soul, post punk, funk etc. Usually the entrance is free. The
place gets busy after midnight and it can get really wild in there.
Top-notch place to get drunk, to accost some stupid tourists from Munich
or to have fun with a filled-up bullyboy from Liverpool. The website
is a bit confusing, so check local listings to learn what's actually
Cuvrystrasse 7, 10997 Berlin. Station: Schlesisches Tor.
This historic building was a cinema during the 1950s, before being turned
into a theatre rehearsal room. Now the place has become a club run by
Spencer from the Karrera Klub team, hosting various indie and mod nights,
live gigs and popular northern soul / boogaloo / funk parties like the
"Shotgun Club“ and "The Soul Inn“. Go here when
you want to see some of the bands again you have already seen in London
before or for a happy mod/indie/soul night out. Nice atmosphere, friendly
staff and a little tent in the backyard where you're allowed to smoke.
Greifswalder Strasse 212, 10405 Berlin. Station: take Tram from Alexanderplatz
going up Greifswalder Strasse
Another venue for all the contemporary indie bands, although in the
recent past this place has become more rock than it used to be a few
years ago. In case there is a band playing that you really love, go
there early and catch them having dinner inside that tasty Asian takeaway
restaurant right next door.
Ackerstrasse 169, 10115 Berlin. Station: Rosenthaler Platz
One of Berlin’s most beautiful venues for live music, very small
though with an even smaller stage where you can almost feel like being
in a private living-room. Cheap drinks and friendly atmosphere, sited
in an old defunct chocolate factory. Go here to discover some nice indiepop/lo-fi
bands, upcoming singer/songwriters or instrumental postrock.
Grosse Hamburger Strasse 17, 10115 Berlin. Station: Hackescher Markt
The Mudd Club used to be a famous punk venue in New York, but in 1990
or so the owner packed it all in and moved to Berlin to re-open it there.
Located down in the vaults of an old building right in the center of
the historic Jewish district, you find lots of indie, rock, gothic and
Balkan music parties as well as indie live gigs. Although I find it
not necessarily useful with the girls at the bar making a noise carrying
beer crates around while there is a quiet acoustic band on stage, it
is still an important venue in Berlin. Check local listing for what
is happening there as most of the times their website is under constant
construction, filled with some temporary preprare-for-relaunch-soon
content or completely offline.
Oranienburger Strasse 54, 10117 Berlin. Station: Oranienburger Tor
The Zapata venue is part of the famous Tacheles art complex. In the
early days of the 20th century this place has accomodated one of Europe’s
biggest warehouses. Destroyed in the war and left to rot till 1989,
it has been squatted by some artists who turned this place into a free
art zone. Inside, the Zapata looks a bit odd, reminding me of knights
and castles and a heavy metal souvenir shop. But once in a while some
interesting indie bands are showing up there. The place gets crowded
very fast, so be sure to order your beer early, otherwise you might
get stuck in the queue right next to that funny fire-spitting something
at the bar which turns the already hot and sweaty atmosphere into a
Pücklerstrasse 34, 10997 Berlin. Station: Schlesisches Tor
Nice club in the basement of a restaurant called “Markthalle”
where you get served one of the best Schnitzels in Berlin. Follow the
directions to Men’s toilet, then go down the stairs and there
you are in the Privat Club, a home to all kinds of indiepop, alternative,
emo, and 80s tunes, as well as to lots of rare funk and soul parties.
Usually the night starts with live gigs of some indie bands. Avoid this
place in summer unless you are used to live in a tropical country or
you just don’t care about massive heat attacks.
Stralauer Platz 34/35, 10243 Berlin. Station: Ostbahnhof
Located in an old industrial building, this place mostly hosts electronic
nights, ranging from dubstep to drum’n'bass, techno to breakcore.
Nevertheless it's also a place to see famous indie bands on stage.
Schlesische Strasse 41, 10997 Berlin. Station: Schlesisches
Nice, very friendly and not very well-known place for live music and
party nights, ranging from indie to northern soul, kitsch pop and music
of the early 20th century. Their weekly newsletters let you take part
in what is going on in the private life of the owner. Some interesting
interiors, too. Closed Sundays and Mondays.
Schönhauser Allee 36, 10435 Berlin. Station: Eberswalder
Unfortunately this place has lost some of its charming atmosphere since
it has moved to a bigger place a few years ago. Nowadays the NBI belongs
to a building complex called “Kulturbrauerei”. This word
means culture brewery, and this place has been a real brewery in the
past. Now the whole complex consists of listed buildings that have been
carefully restorated. So still nice anyway. Go here for the indie and
electronica sounds overdose, and when you arrive before 10 pm you might
have a chance to find a place on one of the sofas.
Torstrasse 58, 10119 Berlin. Station: Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz
Really beautiful interiours, but you won’t have a chance to notice
that as the place is always overcrowded with tourists. The venue has
become famous for their “Russendisko” (Russian disco), packed
with Eastern European Rock sounds. Kaffee Burger hosts lots of indie
and soul nights as well as film screenings or literature nights.
Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz (inside Volksbühne, use side entrance), 10178
Berlin. Station: Rosa-Luxemburg-Platz
Not so beautiful as Kaffee Burger (but you can’t complain), yet
also overcrowded with tourists. This place is part of the famous Volksbühne
theatre, so this might be a reason to go there and have a look. Lots
of indie, Motown, northern soul and drum ‘n bass nights and a
good party crowd guaranteed. Live gigs of indie bands from the UK, US
Rigaer Strasse 71/73, 10247 Berlin. Station: Samariter Strasse
This secret place rejects to promote their events, you have to subscribe
to their newsletter or know their website to find out what is going
on. There's live music each Tuesday and Friday, admission is free. Go
to that old run down industrial site to discover new singer/songwriters
with acoustic guitars, local indiepop outfits, experimental electronic
weirdos from Toronto or Dutch comedians with a harp.
Revaler Strasse 29, 10245 Berlin. Station: Warschauer Strasse
Old shack in the middle of nowhere in Friedrichshain, but since they
have installed a properly working air-conditioner you can dare going
there. Mainly indie and electronic nights, very busy. Try this place
in summer when they open their front yard for BBQ and open air parties
or little markets on Sunday afternoons.
Festsaal Kreuzberg/West Germany
Festsaal Kreuzberg: Skalitzer Strasse 130, 10999 Berlin, Station: Kottbusser
West Germany: Skalitzer Strasse 133, 10999 Berlin, Station: Kottbusser
Two venues for live gigs ranging from experimental music, post punk
and lo-fi to noise and really weird stuff. Both places are regularly
rented by an agency called Twisted Robot which sets up the live shows
and parties. While the Festsaal Kreuzberg carries a beautiful ballroom
atmosphere inside and is usually used for family parties and Turkish
weddings, the nearby West Germany is located inside a now defunct doctor’s
surgery place. Surely the perfect location to mess around in and be
Lychener Strasse 60, 10437 Berlin, Station: Eberswalder Strasse or Prenzlauer
ausland is a space for experimental music and arts. Listen to avantgarde
jazz, drone and noise sounds or bands and musicians trying out all kinds
of electronic experiments. Move with the local sound geeks audience
or visit the occasional film screenings and lectures.
Bang Bang Club
Neue Promenade 10, Hackescher Markt, 10178 Berlin, Train Station: Hackescher
This small club is hidden in a dark corner of the otherwise busy tourist
hotspot called “Hackescher Markt”. The place is run by a
group of musicians who take care of a good sound system. Regular live
gigs of local and international bands as well as club nights are happening
here, all with a focus on Indie, 60s, Garage, Mod, Northern Soul and
Psychedelic Rock. Their website has a list of what is going on. Inside,
the venue is really small, there is just enough space for a small stage,
a bar, a sofa and a little dancefloor. The club nights are hosted by
various guest DJs like the Death By Pop crew as well as their own BBC
DJs who had put on a really refreshing mix of The Chameleons, The Organ
and Field Mice the last time I was in there.
Friendly staff and an interesting musical concept, but when you go there
be prepared to drink beer only, as the other drinks they offer are probably
sold out when you ask for them.