The Hobo Guide to Getting into Berghain, Berlin’s Most Infamous Club
Berlin. The word alone makes hipsters everywhere cry little glistening tears of either envy or nostalgia. But growing up there was mainly grey and depressing. The subway smelled like sweat, vomit and broken dreams. The amount of crazy people on public transport may be a novel sight for tourists but it wasn’t as amusing during my daily commute to school.
But Berlin has a good reputation for a reason, and after partying in a few places around the world, I can say with pride that Berlin has my favourite clubs, hands down. The most infamous and notorious is the Berghain. Even the bouncer holds psuedo-celebrity status, having released his autobiography in 2014. In the last few years, I have heard many travellers tell me their sad stories of waiting in line for a minimum of 45 minutes in the rain to then be waved off by the aforementioned bouncer. Tragic.
Allow me to save you from this piteous fate with some more-or-less serious tips on how to get into Berlin’s best dungeon of sin.
1 Wear black. Unless you are the coolest shit to have ever walked the earth and your personal style is absolutely new and raw, when in doubt black on black will do.
2 Lose your facial expressions. This might sound odd, but we Berliners don’t move our faces an awful lot. No matter what you see – transvestite masturbating on the train or nuns smoking weed – under no circumstances should you raise an eyebrow. If you look dazzled or confused by anything around you, it becomes immediately obvious that you’re a tourist. The same goes for smiling and frowning. Just remember: Nothing surprises me; I have seen it all before.
3 Don’t act too bubbly in front of bouncers. You want to get into Berghain? Then make the most annoyed face you can think of. In fact, don’t even talk while you’re waiting in line. They don’t want screaming cheerleaders or lads on tour in these drug-filled holes of sin, so lose the grin. If you must speak, don’t do it in English – maybe try to learn a few lines of German in the queue (Hast du ein Feuerzeug? – Do you have a lighter?).
4 Be underdressed. If you are from the UK, Australia or the US, you are probably used to getting dressed up and looking “nice”. Not so much in Berlin. If you want to look like a local, you lose everything that ends in the word “extension”. I’m not saying it looks better, but in Berlin, the girls don’t make much effort. Maybe some red lips and scruffy looking hair and you’ll be good to go.
5 Smoke. This is not the kind of advice your mama would want you to read, but smoking is part of Berlin club culture and daily life. If you’ve never touched a cigarette in your life, maybe it’s time to start? Years of addiction and eventual death due to inhalation of carcinogenic toxins are surely worth it for a night in the Berghain.
6 Talk deep shit. Whether it’s politics, arts or inspirational musicians, Berliners love having drunk conversations about super serious topics- if you aren’t bursting full of political propaganda that you want to share, maybe just excuse yourself now and then so that you can Google that stuff in the toilet.
7 Have problems. Everybody in Berlin is miserable- no matter how happy their upbringing was. Having issues is more than just socially accepted, it’s slightly necessary. If you aren’t eccentric or troubled, who are you?
Enjoy your time in Berlin, it will blow your mind, just remember not to show your excitement too much.