There are clubs and then there is the temple of techno, Berghain!
The story of Berghain begins 20 years ago, when Thormann and Teufele threw their first Snax sex party, a fetish gathering that was held in various different locations around Berlin. In the late Nineties, a contact at Deutsche Bahn, the German national railroad, helped them secure a space for their parties in a former railway freight yard, which later became a club called Ostgut, the predecessor to Berghain.
Ostgut was in many ways the quintessential gritty, hedonistic Berlin club. Daniel Wang, a Berlin DJ who has played at Berghain, remembers that the first time he went to a Snax party at Ostgut, he had to climb off the side of a bridge and down a ladder to make it into the boundary-pushing club. “There was a piss room with huge funnels connected to tubes so the liquid wouldn’t drip onto the dance floor, and people could duck their heads under the funnel waiting to be pissed on,” he remembers.
When the club was closed to make way for a new arena, the owners searched for a permanent location, and in 2004, they opened Berghain, which has a capacity of 1,500. Panorama Bar, the upstairs dance floor, opened in October of that year, followed one month later by the main dance floor, and one year later by Lab.Oratory, the gay club that takes up space on the building’s ground floor. And so the era of Techno temple begun.
Music roams, you have true techno icons as residents and most freedom you can have, which makes it feel like you are in techno dimension.
Berghain is an immense, industrial space with an exceptional sound system and unparalleled acoustics; despite, or perhaps because of, the stringent door policy, the crowd is one of the most diverse and enthusiastic you’ll find anywhere; and, with parties regularly running for longer than 24 hours, there’s no other major venue in Europe that matches its stamina.
To enter Berghain is, as many people have described it, a religious experience. Network is also flooded with tips for entering Berghain and passing by strict door policy, so we have our two tips for you. First: Convince the bouncers you’re there to see a specific DJ rather than to gawk at clubbers – knowing your Ben Klocks from your Marcel Dettmanns helps. Second: Don’t dress as though you’re on a night out – Berlin is a casual city and the only people you’ll see in Berghain in heels and fake nails are transvestites.