For nearly 30 years, Berlin was divided into East and West, each with its separate rules, scenes, and fashion trends. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, the city has rebuilt itself as one of the epicenters of the world in terms of culture, architecture, and as the seat of one of the seven world powers. The grandeur of the city itself also stretches into its expansive, underground nightlife that will reveal itself in all its glory if you know where to look.
Whether you're looking for philosophical conversation over a glass of champagne, acoustic music, or an all-out banger choreographed almost exclusively to deep house, Berlin is the place to be. There's no one way to have a good time in this vibrant city; with a Metrotram system that works extremely well, runs all night, and allows for open containers, you could very well spend the whole night pre-gaming (and talking to drunken Berliners) underground. As fun as that sounds (and as much as we recommend talking to locals), it would be a waste to not take advantage of the plentiful bars the city has to offer.
If you're in Wedding, and it's a Saturday (or a Tuesday; we don't judge), make your way to Smaragd Bar and get a glass (or four) of champagne. One wouldn't think the candle-lit, intimate setting would be a good place to prep for a night out, but there's nothing quite like a bar that serves good champagne for such a low price. If Smaragd is a little too out-of-the-way, hit up the Anti-War Café; not only is this leftist-themed hole-in-the-wall closer to the clubs, but the drinks are dirt cheap and the space welcomes relaxation and deep conversation. Knock back a few glasses of wine while surrounded by protest stickers and memorabilia from this dissident city's badass past.
As you walk out of your pre-game—hopefully, probably, good and buzzed—make your way out to Tresor. This enormous, three story monster of a club goes until the wee hours of the morning, and features the best in Berlin's deep house and techno scene. Expect a chaotic setup, gnashing electronic beats, dim lighting as you flit from room to room, and a good mix of locals getting down and tourists ballsy enough to join them. If you're not into getting your ears blasted with droning bass but still want to grind up on sweaty German strangers, head to nearby KitKat Club. Show up in an appropriate outfit, and then leave your clothes at the door. This one's not for the less adventurous.
Let's not disregard for a second that Berlin is a cultural treasure trove, with a world-class Museum Island in the Mitte District that includes the famous Pergamon Museum, which exhibits almost the entirety of the Ishtar Gate as it was in Ancient Babylon. Classical music lovers will find something to love at the Berlin Philharmonic, which boasts relatively inexpensive tickets and is an absolute privilege to hear. Maybe these things aren't in the back of your mind once the night falls on this city of bacchic delights, but it's interesting and wonderful to know just how prominent Berlin is in both underground culture and quote-unquote culture.