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.
In 2003, Ostgut went kaputt. The German capital had its sights set on the old railway zone for the construction of a new sports stadium. On January 4, a farewell party was held that lasted for thirty hours. The club packed up, closed down and the old industrial buildings were razed to leave room for the glitzy, 17,000-seat O2 World Arena. On October 15, 2004, a dancing crowd filled the old power plant for the first time. The great hall that would later become techno club Berghain was not yet completed, so the guests congregated in the new Panorama Bar, which in many senses followed the same path as its predecessor. One of the people there that night was Ostgut regular Daniel Wang.
Facebook Page technohistory.org is yet again revealing how legendary Ostgut was. Watch the video below.
A night out at Ostgut Berlin, the predecessor of Berghain / Panorama Bar. Featuring:The AdventDave AngelJohannes HeilShooting date: Summer 2000(c) The Advent archives
Posted by technohistory.org on Mittwoch, 15. November 2017
Video credit: The Advent archives