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Music & clubs

What not to do at Berghain: How to avoid the biggest mistakes

Congratulations, you got into Berghain. Maybe it’s your first time, and it’s all a bit overwhelming. It’s very exciting and a lot can go wrong, so our editorial team got together and pooled all the advice we wished we’d heard before we went: Here is our list of mistakes you should try to avoid at Berghain. 

Lining up on Saturday night

Finally in Berghain, past bouncer Sven Marquardt – and then fucked it all up? Not with us on your side. Photo: Imago/Contini

Of course it’s incredibly pretentious, and says a lot about the people who can afford it, but: the difference between a Berghain Sunday and a Berghain Saturday is like a limousine and the Ringbahn. The later in the weekend you go, the more adventurous and wild the experience is. Not that Saturday night is bad per se, quite the contrary. But it is really noticeable that your company is noobs and tourists on a Saturday. Them, or with people who can’t cope with their wage slavery on Monday if they are still hungover and/or coming down.

Not bringing a change of clothes

Nobody expects you to stand in line for two hours in winter with only panties and a harness freezing your respective genitals off. It gets very hot, very quickly if you wear jeans in the club. The solution is obvious though: bring something skimpier in a backpack, and check it at the cloakroom. Yes, this means that people get naked just inside the door (there isn’t a change room) but if that bothers you, boy oh boy are you in the wrong place. Another tip: only wear comfortable clothes. The Berghain is not a standing club, but a dance club. You’ll need to be able to move. 

Not knowing who is playing 

There are stories that Berghain’s bouncers ask you if you know who is playing. The program is usually hanging on the door behind them and you can pretty much read off the poster who is on the roster. But it’s not just about memorising a name. They are checking to see if you’ve done some research and prepared yourself for the evening ahead. There are very different approaches to electronic music in Berghain; If you assume that techno is techno, you’ll find yourself in a disturbing deluge of bass or experimental sound collages, the rhythm of which you just can’t get into. Sure, there’s still the Panorama Bar, but if you invest a few minutes beforehand, you’ll know in advance whether it’s your jam or not. 

Bringing unnecessary accessories

They all come out eventually. The less you brought, the less you can lose. Photo: Imago/F. Anthea Schaap

This refers on the one hand to earthly possessions, on the other hand to incriminating acquaintances. Regarding material things: Just leave everything that you don’t really, really need at the cloakroom. The more you carry around, the more you can lose. Regarding your company: Those who travel in packs often end up co-dependent, for example “We all have to go to the bar right now for shots!” “Has anyone seen Lisa?” etc etc ad nauseum. Of course, there are groups that have found their rhythm a long time ago, but it might shock you how pleasant it is to go to Berghain as a duo or even alone.

Doing it for the story 

We’ve all heard stories about Berghain. Sex on the dance floor is so commonplace that it’s not worth mentioning. No one should go to Berghain just because they are looking for stories. First of all, everyone already knows what happens there.  Secondly, filling up your own repertoire with the excess of others is pretty fucking lame. Don’t be an observer, participate! 

Waiting too long to lineup for the bathroom 

Sometimes you can also get to Berghain with a ticket, for example to concerts like Junglepussy here. Photo: Imago/Votos-Roland Owsnitzki

Toilets in many Berlin clubs are not only used for relieving oneself. It’s not uncommon to see two, five, seven people in a stall at the same time. Sometimes it’s because they are fucking, but more often than not, they are taking drugs. Unfortunately, some of these groups chatter away or really take their time getting to the point. In any case, when nature calls, answer as soon as you can or you may find yourself needing a change of pants.

Experimenting with drugs 

If like us, and you’ve ever mixed up your lines of coke with your lines of ket, you’ll know that sometimes drugs suck. Trying something isn’t the end of the world, but you should be smart about what you imbibe. Taking something from a stranger? Terrible fucking idea. Not keeping a close eye on your drink? Terrible fucking idea. Taking something you have never tried before in an environment that is hugely overstimulating? TERRIBLE FUCKING IDEA. Drugs can be safe and fun, if your set and setting is appropriate. Pushing your limits at Berghain is not a good idea. Please slow down. If you have to, just dip your toes first, wait an hour or so before dropping more and above all have friends with you. This can all end up really ugly, so just please be careful.

Being overly Berghain-proud

Wanting to go to Berghain is about as original as liking the Beatles. Making it an essential part of your identity is sad. Either do it, or don’t, but no one really cares which way you decide. We don’t need to see your humble-brags on social media.

Hooking up with the wrong person

Physical contact is appropriate and even encouraged at Berghain, when you do it the right way. But like anywhere, it can be the case that you pair off with the wrong person. There have been people who, after an exhilarating blowjob in the darkroom, suddenly don’t have their phone anymore. Or – classic – took home an STD as a souvenir. As is well known, prep does not protect against everything, so whilst it’s a great place to let go, you shouldn’t be completely careless. 

Taking everything too seriously

Calm after the storm: Berghain when not in operation. Photo: Imago/Pemax

It’s just a fucking techno club guys. Whilst we love that they didn’t let Elon Musk in, trying to make yourself out to be a big shot because you got past Sven is really fucking pathetic. Once again, it’s just a fucking techno club guys. No one should base their happiness or self worth on whether or not they got in. 

Drinking too little water

Those who dance for hours, sweat. Those who drink alcohol, sweat. Those who ingest substances, sweat. The best way to combat this is to keep your beer bottle and periodically fill it up with water from the bathroom taps. Just do it. Not only at Berghain, but at any party. It reduces the hangover factor by a million and saves you from collapsing on the dance floor.

Leaving too late

The queue at Berghain Photo: Imago/F Anthea Schaap

We don’t care if we sound like your mum saying this. When you’re through, you’re through. It doesn’t matter if you haven’t heard the DJ you came to see yet. It doesn’t matter that your fresh-legged friends who got here 7 hours after you are still going. There is always another night. When you are done, just go home. 

Not saying goodbye

No, you don’t have to shake everyone’s hand and say your best Tschussi to every member of staff. But it doesn’t hurt to wave, smile, and act like a decent human being to the people who have enabled your hedonistic evening. Who knows, they might remember you favourably next week.