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Berlin Party Guide
Nadja Sayej
2010-10-01

Just admit it: When you move to Berlin, you spend the first month - if not the first year - partying. Don’t fight it, enjoy your tourist days while they last. From all-nighter hotspots to pay-what-you-can wine lists, before you run out of Euros, here’s the scoop.

You don’t need an YMA-Visa to party through Berlin.
But take a deeper look into the Berlin party scene to find scores of bars, clubs and art spaces marked with their own unique qualities, and very different from Canada. Some clubs are 24-hours while others offer pay-what-you-can wine lists. Some are smoking bars, others are smoking cinemas. Here is a smattering of what not to miss, whether you’re traveling to sniff out whether you move here or not to show where the party is at. As I celebrate my two-month anniversary living in Berlin, here is my selection of the best party hotspots.

5_YMV3.jpgBERGHAIN
The Berghain is quintessential Berlin - like a Disneyland theme park, hipsters flock to this urban electro playground for the all night, world-class DJs. And when I say all night, I mean all night - this club doesn’t close until Monday morning. Warning: Cover charge is more expensive than most, 10€ entry and long lineups at 1 a.m. Best to be early or show way late. And don’t be surprised if your Berliner friends text and say they’re hitting the Berghain at 9 a.m. on a Sunday morning to catch a set by their favourite DJ. They might not hit church afterwards, either.

Am Wriezener Bahnhof, Friedrichshain, Berlin, 10243

PERLINER
Beer in Berlin is already next to nothing, but Perliner takes cheap to the next level. This pay-what-you-can wine bar, one of three owned by Jürgen Stumpf, allows anyone to walk in, pay 1€, drink as much wine as you like and pay what you like before you leave. Put your change in the porcelain sculpture on the table, grab a glass, and show how grateful you are at the end. This place offers their trust in exchange for your generosity (I have never seen anyone take advantage of their policy).

Griebenowstrasse 5, Berlin, 10435

2_YMV3.jpgDIREKTORENHAUS
Sure, there's tons of art openings in Berlin - but few of real quality. The Direktorenhaus, a three-floor building hosting monthly art parties, is surely your hottest bet. Although they sometimes have a guest list policy (RSVP on Facebook first), it is worth the extra work. The Direktorenhaus (the director's house) was built in 1935 as a storage space for coins, but has now turned into one of the most active and colourful party spaces in all of Berlin, owned by artists Pascal Johanssen and Katja Kleiss, and backs right onto the Spree river. See this picture? That’s me in an art project called Club Mind Fuck, where I paid what I wanted (5 Euros) to have a 15 minute session with a group of French artists who put paint on my forehead. It’s at these moments that make Berlin unforgettable.

2 Am Krögel, Berlin,

4_YMV3.jpgWHITE TRASH FAST FOOD

Don't be offended by the name of this wry American restaurant, punk club and tattoo parlor – this Mitte hotspot (along with St. Oberholz) is home to ex-pat North Americans and the best killer burgers in all of Berlin. If you can stand the smoke, they’ve got a smoking cinema upstairs, too. From tattoo conventions to raucous Halloween parties and punk bands blaring during dinner time, the best nights belong to Party Arty radio host Jan Kage, a.k.a. Yaneq, who hosts parties here.
Schönhauser Allee 6-7, 10119, Berlin

INSIDE SCOOP
By far, the best blogs to find out what’s going on starts with fashion mogul Frank Schroeder’s I Heart Berlin, heavy on the fashion scene. If you’re into the art scene, sign up for the BPigs mailing list by Despina Stockou from the Grimmuseum, as well as the INDEX art guide. For music, try the ExBerliner nightlife guide, or even Berlin Art Link. Stay sharp.

 

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NADJA SAYEJ, host of ArtStars*, writes about art for artUS, Border Crossings, C magazine, Canadian Art, the Globe and Mail, the New York Times and was splashed the cover of Eye Weekly as “the next Jeanne Beker.” She was called “Center Stage in Toronto in an Art in America cover story. She is a columnist for enRoute and is busting her ass in Berlin, Germany, and surrounding countries. Follow the adventurous fun on Twitter or her ever-popular Facebook fanpage or even on LinkedIn, as well.
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