Just who the heck is this Silvester guy? I looked it up and it turns out that he was the pope who converted emperor Constantine to Christianity. Nothing is know about him (despite what alt-right weirdos say) except that he died on 31 December. Right in the middle of a 12-day pagan festival to banish evil spirits called the Rauhnächte.
Germanic tribes believed that during those “Rough Nights,” the sun slowed down to a crawl while Wotan led a band of bellicose ghosts on a wild hunt through the dark skies. In response, the Teutons filled their houses with smoke, banged kitchen utensils, beat on trees with flaming cudgels, and rolled burning wooden wheels down mountainsides. This didn’t sit right with early Christians and they set about convincing the pagan Germans to fête Silvester instead. So when the beginning of the calendar was moved to 1 January, the feast day for Silvester gradually turned into celebrations for a new year.
Berliners have moved on from making a ruckus with pots and pans (sort of). Now in Berlin there are plenty of other ways to celebrate the mysterious pope Silverster. Here are some ideas to shake up your Silvester and serve it with a twist. Caution: may not contain techno club recommendations.
What to do on New Year’s Eve in Prenzlauer Berg
Bassy Club Silversterparty
There’s something about Bassy Club that’s like home. Well, home if all the lights were red and Mom had a penchant for decorating the living room with taxidermied animals. On Silvester, the Bassy family will be pulling out the stops with spaghetti swing band Jakkle followed by DJ Don Rogall, who’ll be polishing the dance floor with his wild gyrating mix of ‘50s and ‘60s tittyshakers, sleazy sax strollers, and red hot rhythm ‘n blues. Dance until dawn for €15. More info is on the Bassy website.
Bassy Club – 175A Schönhauser Allee
Mrs, Robinson’s VII Course Feast
They’ve only been open for six weeks, but Mrs. Robinson is the latest word in elegant and creative dishes with an Asian touch. Everyone has been raving about their bao buns and slow-cooked oxtail gyoza. For Silvester, they’re offering an epic seven-course feast for vegetarians and carnivores consisting of truffles, oxtail, oysters, and lobster. Seatings are at 6pm for €80 and 9:15 for €89. For the full menu and reservations, email them at [email protected]. More information is on their facebook event page.
Mrs. Robinson’s – Pappelallee 29
Champagne Circus and Freak Show
The cheerful party people at Zum Starken August are hosting an all night carny bender for Silvester. Wacky Barbie doll Lexy Nightcat and classic bump-n-grinder Mina Miez will both be dancing burlesque, with a probable appearance by far out fire queen and mistress of the house Ginger Synne. As if that weren’t enough, the night features not one but TWO painted up glam rock cabaret groups: Metafiction Cabaret and Sado Opera. The ticket include a welcome apertif and buffet. Buy them in advance for €59 online or get them at the door for €69 if there are any left. More info is on their facebook event page.
Zum Starken August – Schönhauser Allee 59
Swinging Silversterball at Stummfilmkino Delphi
There are two fabulous 1920s parties going on in Berlin for Silvester. The lesser known one is at the Delphi, a stunning Weimar-era movie palace in Weissensee just slightly north of Prenzlauer Berg. Damaged in the last year of World War II, the Delphi continued to show movies until 1959 when part of the roof collapsed. For the rest of the GDR years, it was used to store vegetables and repair instruments. Now renovated and open for large cultural events, the Delphi will be turning back the clock this Silvester so you can party like it’s 1927. Cut a rug with the Dizzy Birds, one of Berlin’s best hot jazz bands, and catch high-kicking burlesque babe Anja Pavlova. The night includes hors d’oeuvres, a beginners swing lesson, and tarot readings. Tickets are €35 and groups can book tables. More info on their website or facebook event page. Tickets available through Reservix.
Stummfilmkino Delphi – Gustav-Adolf-Str. 2
What to do on New Year’s Eve in Friedrichshain
Ronson’s Singende Silvester
Monster Ronson believes that singing makes the world a better place and who’s to argue? Start the New Year by belting out your best and cheering the ragtag Ronson crowd. Your painted and glittered up host with the most ridiculously tall platform boots is The Shredder, androgynous glam punk guitarist of Eat Lipstick. There are also ten karaoke cabins if you’d rather sing in private with a bunch of pals. More info on their website or facebook event page.
Monster Ronson’s Ichiban Karaoke – Warschauer Str. 34
Silvester Soul Explosion
One of the best regular lamppost adornments in Berlin are Soul Explosion flyers with their 1970s waka-waka Afrocentric ghetto cool. The party is hosted by DJ King Dynamite, Berlin’s prime purveyor of funk, R&B, boogaloo, and soul, who has been flitting from club to club for 16 years with his extensive collection of rare 45s. This Silvester, catch him at Privatclub and boogie all night to tight grooves, fat basslines, and the funky side of soul. Find out more on the Soul Explosion website or the facebook event page.
Privatclub – Skalitzer Str. 85
Atelier NYE Dinner + Prince Charles
This might be the most epic all-in-one Silvester celebration. Start the night at a rooftop bar with an eclectic 6-course dinner and a fireworks display on the terrace with a fine view over Berlin. Then descend to an after-party at the Prince Charles nightclub, a former employee swimming pool in the basement of the building. Because in Berlin, businesses all have swimming pools for their employees. Several DJs are on the bill at Prince Charles spinning a fresh mix of 90s hip-hop. Tickets are €99 for the whole shebang and can be bought on EventBrite. More info is on their facebook page.
Atelier and Prince Charles Party – Prinzenstr. 85
What to do on New Year’s Eve in Neukölln
Boheme Sauvage Silvesterball
Boheme Sauvage is the glamorous queen mother of all Golden Twenties parties. From its humble beginnings in Else Edelstahl’s Berlin apartment back in in 2006, it’s grown to become a glittering constellation of parties in five cities. Their Silvesterball in Berlin is one of the most coveted tickets for a New Year’s party unrivalled in its opulence and style with a strict 1920s dress code. This year, the party features classic burlesque bombshell Marlene von Steenvag and New Orleans jazz by the Sazerac Swingers. Hepcats and canaries can gamble with fake Deutsche marks in the casino and get their giggles at an absinthe bar. As usual, it’s sold out but you might get lucky if you troll their facebook event page for offers from early buyers who aren’t able to make it after all. Tickets (if you can get them) are €40. More information is on their website.
Berlin Wintergarten – Potsdamer Strasse 96
Fuchs & Elster’s Letztes Abendmahl
The owners of one of the most beloved bars on Weserstrasse have the seven year itch and they’re closing up to dedicate themselves to Klunkerkranich, their new adventure in music and drinks. Say goodbye to the scruffy parlor chairs, scrumptious tapas, and creative cocktails of Fuchs & Elster with a 5-course meal on Silvester. The €40 prixe-fixe for carnivores includes duck leg with caramelized pear and gambas with beetroot carpaccio. The vegetarian menu is €35 and includes melanzane parmagiana and zucchini carpaccio with truffle cream and beetroot brunoise. Seatings are at 17:45 or 21:00 with cocktails available afterwards in the cellar bar. Or take a 10 minute walk to Klunkerkranich for more of the Fuchs & Elster vibe. Reserve your seat by emailing [email protected]. More info on their facebook event page or their website.
Fuchs & Elster – Weserstr. 207
Silvester auf dem Klunkerkranich
Spend New Years Eve at a secret rooftop bar with the best view in Berlin. Klunkerkranich is one of the best things about Neukölln, a crane’s nest that is a hidden gem. Sprawled across the top of the Neukölln Arcaden mall, it’s a scruffy aerial roadhouse with mismatched flea market furniture and fringed lampshades perched in the middle of a huge rooftop terrace. It’s also a bonafide speakeasy. You’ll find no indication of the bar and the escalators don’t go there. Instead, find the elevator, take it to the 5th floor, and walk up the parking lot ramp. The Silvester shindig includes fireworks over a 360-degree view of Berlin and an eclectic mix of DJs playing swing, exotica, house, and electronic music on two dance floors. Tickets are €35 and you can only buy them in person on December 28th and 30th at their sister bar, Fuchs & Elster. Details are on their facebook event page.
Klunkerkranich – Karl Marx Str, 66 (5th Floor, walk up to the roof)
Swing-Silvester in der Villa Neukölln
Villa Neukölln opens its gorgeous ballroom to swing dancers and jazz aficionados this Silvester. Anton Wunderlich and the Time Rag Band will be serving up some hot jazz and if you’ve never seen them, you’re in for a treat. Whether it’s a lewd and languid New Orleans number or a mad jitterbug shag, Wunderlich serves it all up in his anarchic style just shy of falling into a frenzied free-for-all. DJ music following the band will keep the dancing going until dawn. Tickets are €12 and can be bought at their cute little box office. More info on their facebook event page.
Villa Neukölln – Hermannstr. 233
What to do on New Year’s Eve in Mitte
Es War Einmal
Goth United resurrects the Grimm Brothers for a Silvester night of dark fairytales and eerie fantasies. The enchanted kingdom will feature a buffet of fruits and chocolate, as well as tarot readings and historic dance. La Fée Verte will emerge from her bower for a burlesque dance and LucifersKat will cavort with fire. The evening is hosted by DJ von Stimmgewalt, who will keep the ball going after midnight with goth music, metal, and electroswing. A strict dress code “too dark for Disney” will be observed so lace up your corset and tie your cravat. Tickets are available for €30 in advance at Darkstore or on their website or it’s €35 at the door. More information on their facebook event page.
Grüner Salon – Rosa Luxembourg Platz 2
What to do on New Year’s Eve in Moabit
25 Jahre Factory meets Ball Pink Noir
The Factory is one of the original new wave, goth, and NDW parties in Berlin, never swerving in its dedication to the post-punk electronic and synth music. Now an entirely new generation is gathering to rock out for their 25th anniversary party. Featuring many of the original DJs of the Factory’s early years, the Silvester party will dive deeply into the creativity and experimentation of Berlin’s underground music scene of the ‘80s and ‘90s. If Einstürzende Neubauten and Nena float your boat, this is the party for you. Find out more on their facebook event page or the Kulturfabrik Moabit website.
Slaughterhouse @ Kulturfabrik Moabit – Lehterstr. 25
Berlin Loves You whether you like Silvester served up glam, goth, or groovy. Happy new year!