When we say best, we think best we found captured in photographs.
A look back at a decade of Berghain / Panorama Bar art. The Berlin based club has a less known aspect: that of a contemporary art gallery. See the photos below.
The Berghain Backstory: Building Berlin’s Most Legendary Nightclub
Berghain’s story begins in the late 1990s. Club promoters Michael Teufele and Norbert Thormann, had been running their gay club Snax in various locations around Berlin. In 1998, they were offered to move to a permanent location on a vast industrial lot in the district of Friedrichshain in former East Berlin — close to the banks of the river Spree. Soon enough, the lease had been signed and the duo was given access to a grey, nondescript factory building that previously had been used for train repairs.
They saw great potential in the building, and an opportunity to expand their club activities. They named the new club Ostgut, and even if they kept organizing Snax parties, most evenings revolved around offering quality techno to an audience that was both gay and straight. It had all the qualities that people associate with Berghain today—the dark nooks and crannies, the mixed crowd, and of course techno music.
One of Ostgut’s frequent guests was DJ and producer Daniel Wang, who left the United States for Berlin in the early 2000s. “Ostgut was like a world of its own,” he remembers. “It didn’t even have a street address. If you looked it up on a map, it was just a big, vacant lot. There were no street lights; you had to fumble your way through the dark until you’d see the entrance and the doormen in their boots and bomber jackets.”
Ostgut was an immediate success and a place that welcomed both gay men and club kids to dance to the latest techno. It prioritized local DJs over the big names, and among the DJs that built their careers playing Ostgut were André Galluzzi and Marcel Dettmann.
A few years after opening its doors, Ostgut chose to expand. The upper level was transformed into yet another dancefloor. From its windows, you had a terrific view over surrounding warehouses and factories. The new section was named Panorama Bar and focused on house and softer techno that drew somewhat of a more mainstream crowd.
During the Ostgut era, the club Lab.oratory, run in the same space, also saw the light. This club was primarily dedicated to a gay male clientele, with a focus on sexual activities that were a bit too extreme to coexist with the mainstream crowd.