10 Best places to be sleepless in Berlin

Flashback to Berlin in the 1920s: cabaret, dada, dance, dens of iniquity inhabited by a sinful demi-monde that included Marlene Dietrich and Christopher Isherwood. The latter famously immortalized the age in his bio-based novel Goodbye to Berlin that later spawned the Broadway musical and movie Cabaret.

The fun stopped when the Nazis came to power but since the fall of the Wall in 1989, Berlin has rediscovered full throttle its Weimar roots. This is once again Europe’s party city par excellence, a place where nights become days and sometimes don’t stop for 48 hours or longer. It’s a place where tolerance is not a buzzword but a lifestyle. Personal expression is paramount and everyone from tee-totaling tango dancers to hopped-up techno junkies and flamboyant transvestites can find the perfect place to let their hair down.

When hitting the town, it’s important to remember that each of Berlin’s districts has a different party flavor. Currently the most dynamic hipster hoods are Kreuzberg and in Friedrichshain, on opposite sides of the Spree River. Both are rather gritty areas dominated by students, artists and immigrants. By contrast, dapper drinking has long been fashionable at such venerable haunts as the Green Door in the western districts of Schöneberg, which is also Berlin's historic hub of the gay scene. Berlin’s most cosmopolitan district - called Mitte - sports nightlife venues that channel the Golden Twenties, such as Clärchens Ballhaus and Chamäleon Variete and also has plenty of handsome bars that are the darlings of the creative in-crowd. 

The English Garden in the far northwest corner of the vast Tiergarten Park is a hidden jewel that not even many Berliners know about. And smack dab in the heart of it, next to an idyllic pond, a gurgling fountain and an oak planted by Queen...  Read More

Cabaret may have been born in Paris in the late 1800s but it didn't really come of age until the Golden Twenties in Berlin. This intimate venue brings the raucous Weimar era back to life with innovative and artistic variety acts that prove that...  Read More


Compared to the many flea-market-chic student pubs surrounding it, Tier (German for 'animal') is quite literally a different creature in the sizzling hot Neukölln district. Sure, you can come for just a beer but you'd be missing out on the...  Read More

G&T Bar
Photo courtesy of Stjepan Sedlar

"The proper union of gin and tonic is...one of the happiest marriages on earth, and one of the shortest lived," writes historian Bernard DeVoto in The Hour: A Cocktail Manifesto. Berlin bar maven Mario Grünfelder would likely agree. His latest...  Read More

Tempelhof - SchÖneberg

The Green Door has welcomed libation lovers to its tube-shaped shrine to spirits since 1995, long before Berlin's cocktail culture boom. Walls sheathed in checks and waves decorate this lounge bar presided over by top-flight publicans whose...  Read More

Club der Visionäre
Photo courtesy of vike on flickr

This essential summertime party venue occupies a ramshackle old boat house on a side canal of the Spree River. The idyllic setting alone is something to write home about: wooden decks right above the waterline and fringed by weeping willows,...  Read More

Charlottenburg - Wilmersdorf
Monkey Bar
Photo courtesy of Andrea Schulte-Peevers

Perfect for sundowners, this 10th-floor 'urban jungle' hotspot comes with both sweeping views of city landmarks and the monkey enclosure of the Berlin Zoo, in summer from a sweeping terrace. It's part of the hip new 25 Hours Hotel Bikini Berlin,...  Read More

One would perhaps not expect the haunt of Germany's best bartender of 2013 to be a dimly lit, living-room-style thirst parlor in Berlin's gritty-chic Kreuzberg district. But once you've tried one of Atalay Atlas' inventive cocktails, you'll have...  Read More

Photo courtesy of Prinzipal Bar

The sexy glamour of the Golden Twenties gets a classy reboot at this jewel-box-sized burlesque bar tucked between doner kebab shops and dive bars on funky-punky Oranienstrasse. Once buzzed past the anonymous steel door, patrons plunge into a...  Read More

Crowned 'Best Hotel Bar of 2013' by Mixology Magazine, the Amano Bar in the eponymous budget-hip hotel in Berlin's old Jewish quarter is the place to come for original libations that verge on cocktail alchemy. Grab a seat at the stylish marble...  Read More


Meet Andrea Schulte-Peevers

Andrea has made a living as a travel writer and photographer for over 20 years, visiting some 70 countries in the process and authoring a similar number of guidebooks, mostly for Lonely...  More About Andrea

comments powered by Disqus

Build your own lists that you can easily reference or share stories with your friends.

Login ×

Forgot login/password?
Don't have an account? Create Your Account!

Enter your username or email in the box below and click
"Remind Me".

Remind Me ×
Create Account ×
Create Account ×

Already have an account?

Add to List ×
Save ×

Go to Lists Close Window ×