Nightlife in Berlin: More than just a Clubber’s Paradise
Berlin may be famous for its parties, but the city has so much more to offer at night besides clubs and bars. This is a city where the biggest bookshop, Dussmann, stays open until midnight almost every day; where you can climb to the top of the parliamentary building after supper (registration is required); explore behind the scenes at the State Opera House after a performance; or play crazy golf into the night in a glow-in-the-dark cellar at Schwarzlicht Minigolf.
Berlin always seems to have had an aversion to sleep. Back in the ‘Roaring Twenties’, the city’s reputation for nihilistic excess and unparalleled debauchery was known the world over. An example of a typically action-packed, seemingly endless Berlin night in the Weimar Republic can be found in the first 400 pages of Hans Fallada’s epic Wolf Amongst Wolves. Back then, such was the popularity of all-night revelry, that the city’s Admiral’s Palace (now a theatre) was home to a 24-hour bathhouse – which was the essential last port of call after a long night out.
For journalist and author Joseph Roth, writing in the 1920s, the steam baths were “the ‘clean break’ between the bacchanals of the night and the day’s gainful employment,” and without them, the city’s rowdy nightlife would have been almost impossible to sustain. The baths also attracted waifs and strays who had not managed to find, or could not afford, a hotel room for the night, and it was not unusual to see bathers arrive with a suitcase.
Sadly there is no real modern day equivalent. Berlin’s famous Badeschiff, for example, does stay open until midnight every night and sometimes later, but here the emphasis is on looking cool and people watching – you may feel rather out of place performing your ablutions here.
To be continued….