Offbeat Berlin: More Than Just A Clubbing City
Berlin is widely known as a mecca of techno music and clubbers, but in truth the city’s nightlife scene is far more three-dimensional. Read on for just a smattering of the more offbeat nighttime cultural attractions Berlin has to offer.
Yellow Lounge – Classical Music With a Club Attitude
The Yellow Lounge is never advertised (or even publicized, for that matter) but still manages to be jam-packed every time. An event that rotates between the hippest Berlin clubs on the first Monday of each month, including Berghain, Cookies, Cocoonclub, Crush, and many more, Yellow Lounge is one of the hottest events to hit Berlin in years, and it’s been around since 2001. Even after all this time, If you want to get in, you have to get in line early - over a hundred disappointed would-be Yellow Loungers have to be turned away out of sheer space consideration at every event.
What could be causing so much furor among the habitual night-lifers of Berlin? Simple. Classical music.
This is no joke. Hundreds of young (and not-so-young) people flock to the appointed club each designated Monday in hopes of getting a chance to hear the likes of the Emerson and Faure String Quintets, world-renowned violinists Hilary Hahn and Anne-Sophie Mutter, the Mahler Chamber Orchestra, famous French pianist Hélène Grimaud, and dozens more. Singer-songwriter Rufus Wainwright has done classical DJ sets at Yellow Lounge events, and Sting has even graced the club-goers with performances on his lute.
Yellow Lounge is the perfect way for people of any stripe to hear classical music without the stuffy, snobby atmosphere of the concert hall. Best of all, since Yellow Lounge is backed by the Universal record label, admission is only five euros.
Imagine sipping your favorite alcoholic beverage and chatting with your friends while a stunning classical musician or four play live on stage in front of you. Or maybe, instead of the usual headache-inducing club beats, you sit and let the wild, inventive sounds of Shostakovich and John Cage wash over you. Afterwards, you can go up and ask the DJ what artist he just played, and he won’t look at you like you have two heads for “not knowing” Beethoven by ear. Yes, there are DJs – but they spin solely classical music. They even take requests.
How to Find a Yellow Lounge Event
If you use Google to search the Yellow Lounge, its website will be the first result, but make sure you have a German-speaking friend or a translator on hand, because there is no English version. The top line in bold lists the date and venue, while the bottom lines list the live artists, DJs, occasional live video installations, and whatever else may happen to be on the program for each event.
The Long Night of the Museums – Museums at Midnight
Every January and August, Berlin has a festival it calls Lange Nacht der Museen, or Long Night of the Museums. An event that started in 1997 with just 12 participating exhibitions, Long Night of the Museums has grown tenfold over the past 10 years. Over 125 museums and other cultural institutions open their doors starting late in the evening, and don’t close them until early the next morning. Thousands of people travel all over the city to explore its art galleries, museums, and other cultural gems by moonlight.
How to Attend the Long Night of the Museums
This summer, the Long Night of the Museums will take place from 6 pm to 2 am. Admission is 12 euros, and includes over 100 museums. Transportation runs all night.Getting around is easy, since one pass works for entrance to all participating institutions, as well as for transportation.
Pfefferberg - Variety in a Brewery
Located in the Prenzlauer Berg of Berlin on Schönhauser Allee 176, Pfefferberg, once known as the “Pfeffer” (pepper) brewery building, is now a 750-person hall complete with a beer garden. The huge space sports a handful of different rooms, including the Subground in Pfefferberg’s cellar, known for its techno prowess. Pfefferberg isn’t limited to techno, however – musicians of all varieties make appearances, including reggae, classical, punk, pop, etc.
Pfefferberg is home to many different kinds of events, including but not limited to dance-parties, cabaret and variety, flamenco dancing, classical music, gigs, readings, theatre, avant-garde performances, and much more.
While it is mostly publicized for sporting one of the best club scenes in the world, Berlin’s nightlife is just as varied as the people who populate it.