Prenzlauer Berg is dead. Its coup de grâce was the loud and ignoble announcement of Bassy Club’s imminent closure.
Bassy Club, a bastion of retro rock ‘n’ roll and a throwback to ’90s Berliner counterculture, is closing this month. Tired and beaten, Bassy follows the likes of White Trash Fast Food and Knaack club, hounded out by rising costs and ageing, noise-sensitive parents who prefer an overpriced latte to fuck you music and affordable beer.
The extinction of bars and live music venues in Berlin continues at an unbridled and alarming pace in every kiez – hang in there Privatclub – but there are still a few tenacious fighters. Even in Prenzlauer Berg, the land of prams and the graveyard of alternative ambition. You just need to push aside the corpses and look.
Part dive-bar and part neighbourhood-style watering hole, Badfish brings grunge and charm in equal measure to Stargarder Strasse. The beer is good – they’re one of the rare places to stock Guinness – the whiskey selection is large. Plus, their daily Angry Hour means your euros will stretch far between 17Uhr and 19Uhr.
Address: Stargarder Str. 14, 10437 Berlin
Built in 1913, used as a youth club for the GDR in 1983, and functioning as a club since 1989, Dunckerclub is an institution as classic as the Döner Kebab. Pull in on Dark Mondays for a spooky selection of gothic, EBM and dark wave, or else dance deliriously to indie and alternative tracks on every other night.
Address: Dunckerstraße 64, 10439 Berlin
3. Toast Hawaii
Like some sort strange osmosis, stepping through the doors of Toast Hawaii takes you out of the bustle of Danziger Strasse and into a magic world of musical pageantry, burlesque and cross-dressing. It looks like a circus but feels like a club. Come thirsty.
Address: Danziger Str. 1, 10435 Berlin
4. Scotch and Sofa
Scotch and Sofa sports a period speakeasy decor and atmosphere, and walking into its fabulously lit interior feels like stepping into a time machine. Their selection of whiskeys and gins is great, their couches are comfortable and they also have a designated smoking area.
Address: Kollwitzstraße 18, 10405 Berlin
5. Zu mir oder zu dir
Zu mir oder zu dir is to Prenzlauer Berg what Mein Haus am See is to Mitte. Lurid red lights, disco balls and a DJ on hand for some truly tasty electronic music. It’s a perfect blend of chill and cool without straying into the arena of kitsch. The music also cranks on after 11pm.
Address: Lychener Str. 15, 10437 Berlin
A producer’s wet dream – the dark and intimate atmosphere of NACHBEBEN is a haven for underground electronic music lovers, and one of Berlin’s best kept secrets. Come for the cocktails, stay for the music.
Address:Pappelallee 21A, 10437 Berlin
7. Zum Starken August
Another Prenzlauer Berg institution and the bizarre big daddy to Toast Hawaii, Zum Starken August is an artistic and esoteric wonderland that offers craft beer, risque burlesque performances, transvestite bingo and porno karaoke. We won’t tell you what that means; you’ll just have to pay them a visit.
Address: Schönhauser Allee 56, 10437 Berlin
Not in danger of closing down any time soon, Prater is a historic beer garden on Kastanienallee that can seat up to 600 people. While not the rowdiest place to go on this list, it’s an incredible spot to drink beer in the summer.
Address: Kastanienallee 7-9, 10435 Berlin
9. Mensch Meier
It’s been called the ://about blank of the north. What was once a squat and now a club, Mensch Meier throws down filthy techno with the best of them. It’s a space for everyone, hosting regular techno and house parties, giving space to political events and showcasing the projects of collectives. If you’re not down to leave your kiez but still want a healthy injection of culture, dancing and some dubious pick-me-ups, then this is your best bet. Oh, they’re also wheelchair friendly.
Address: Storkower Str. 121, 10407 Berlin
10. Anomalie Berlin
Situated right behind Mensch Meier, Anomalie is an experimental and artistic space hidden behind an industrial facade. It’s one of the lesser-known clubs in Berlin, but a techno and house bastion for art lovers and dancers alike that offers a number of different exhibitions and parties, proving that Prenzlauer Berg still has the capacity to party and be creative.
Address: Storkower Str. 123, 10407 Berlin
Bassy Club’s next door neighbour, 8mm gives the middle finger to gentrification, firmly digging in against rising rents and noise restrictions. One euro gets you in, after which you’re treated to an amazing selection jazz and rock ‘n’ roll tunes, and kept spellbound by their wall of sensational 8mm visuals. It’s a dark, tiny shoe box of a bar, but one of the best in Berlin, and a friend to bands and music lovers alike.
Address: Schönhauser Allee 177b, 10119 Berlin
12. An einem Sonntag im August
Brunch? Bar? Why not both? An einem Sonntag im August is a hipster family’s dream cafe in the day – guilt-free veggie burgers are in abundance – and a laid back place to come have a drink and listen to some music at night.
Address: Kastanienallee 103, 10435 Berlin
Last Minute Desperation:
13. Becketts Kopf
Going on a Tinder date and want to impress them with cocktails that cost more than a week of groceries? Do you love indifferent service? Do you hate signs that actually show the name of the bar you’re going to? What about ordering from a play manuscript instead of a menu? Boy, do we have the bar for you. Head down to Becketts Kopf for the least pretentious evening of your life.
Address: Pappelallee 64, 10437 Berlin