Berlin is one of Europe’s great cities. This thoroughly modern metropolis boasts a world-class dining scene and an interesting and unique collection of nightlife venues. Berlin is known for its cutting edge culture, and this carries over into the dining and after-dark-entertainment scenes as well. At the same time, both restaurants and nightclubs are more accessible here than in other European cities. Dress codes and expensive cover charges are much more rare here than in London or Paris. For many Berliners, an evening on the town is more about enjoying yourself and relaxing than it is about “making the scene.” That said, those looking for an upscale experience will easily be able to find what they are looking for.
Here is where to find the best of Berlin’s dining and nighttime entertainment scenes.
Berlin boasts a thriving arts scene. A number of theaters, film houses, and concert spaces are found throughout the city. These venues range from small theaters with a couple hundred seats to massive performance spaces with palatial décor and enough seats for an audience of thousands. Some of the best performance spaces include the Deutsches Theater, a classical theater that hosts talented drama troupes, and Berliner Ensemble, a theater that is more focused on contemporary works of drama. And then there is the cinema. Going to the movies in Berlin is a more unique experience that simply heading to the local cineplex. The city’s best theaters are works of art in and of themselves. Some of these theaters date back to the 40s and 50s. The Kino Moviemento was established in 1907, making it one of Europe’s oldest movie theaters. Most movies played at these places are art house movies and experimental films. The aged but well-kept cinemas like Kino Moviemento are great places to soak in classic atmosphere, but you probably won’t be able to catch the latest international blockbuster unless you head to one of Berlin’s more modern movie houses.
Enjoying Ethnic Food in Berlin
Berlin is a cosmopolitan city with a lot of diversity. Some of the best (and cheapest) meals can be found in the ethnic restaurants located in the middle of Berlin (most are found on the easternmost neighborhoods of the city’s central districts). For €5-€15, diners will treated to a full meal. The best of these places include Sarod’s Thai Restaurant, which serve up authentic spicy curries and noodle dishes, and Hasir, a locally famous kebab restaurant that has created some unique German-Middle Eastern fusion dishes. Probably the most famous place in this district is Mustafas Gemüse Kebap, a hugely popular eatery that sells kebabs (“kebaps”) fast-food style. Standard offerings are less than €3, but nearly constitute a full meal. During peak times, people can stand in line for 20 minutes or longer waiting to get served. Almost all of them think the wait is worth it.
Berlin’s Pub Scene
Berlin has a lively pub scene. Visitors are often pleased to find that pubs are very laid back and can even features art, cultural exhibits or low-key music performances. It is fine to wear casual attire to these venues (most people will be in sneakers or loafers and jeans). South Berlin has lots of cheaper pubs frequented by students and young bohemians and artists. Drinking streets like Boxhagener Platz have a variety of pubs and bars, ranging from beer halls to more upscale cocktail lounges and even some cafes. These places can get crowded on the weekends. Surprisingly, Irish pubs are very popular in Berlin, with most drinking areas and nightlife neighborhoods having a couple of choices with both imported Irish and local brews on tap. Spacious beer gardens are also on tap for nightlife seekers. Some of these places feature huge tables where strangers can meet and mingle while drinking specially-made microbrews.
Berlin’s Nightclubs – The Epicenter of Electronic Music
Berlin remains a haven for electronic music lovers. It was one of the first places in the world where this genre of music flourished. Berlin’s best clubs still play host to internationally famous DJs. There are literally hundreds of choices. However, this is one sector of the nightlife scene that might not be as all-inclusive and laid back as other parts of after-dark Berlin. Some clubs have strict door policies and you won’t get in unless you are with someone who knows the unspoken rules. Come with a local who knows the policy, and you’ll have a much better chance of getting in. Groups of tourists arriving together have virtually no chance. Some clubs, however, are more focused on the music and have an open-door policy for anyone who shows up.