Explore Berghain’s hedonistic legacy, the techno mecca’s backstory, and discover other exclusive, sex positive techno venues worldwide.
In today’s world, not knowing about Berghain is like missing a page from the modern cultural bible. Tucked away in a colossal brutalist structure that screams ‘abandoned dystopia’ to the uninitiated, Berghain isn’t just a club—it’s a lifestyle. This Berlin behemoth, where parties ignite on Friday and smolder into the wee hours of Monday, magnetizes a wild mosaic of humanity, from wide-eyed tourists (which are unlikely to get in) to hardcore techno veterans dressed in leather and latex. But here’s the kicker: getting past its steel doors is a feat few can boast about.
Dive into Berghain’s backstory, and you’ll stumble upon its gritty genesis in a male-only fetish night known as Snax, dating back to 1992. This pulsating heart of Berlin’s underground scene later morphed into Ostgut, cradled in an old railway depot in Friedrichshain, now standing as the O2 World Berlin. Berghain, in all its hedonistic glory, has clung to its sex-positive ethos, becoming a sanctuary for the bold and the boundary-pushing on its sprawling 18-meter dancefloor.
If you’re into the dark, kinky and mysterious techno scene, here are some other exclusive venues you should have on your radar.
UnFOLD is an event based in a dingy looking building in Canning Town’s industrial ends. It occurs every 15 days on Sundays, starting at 12pm and finishing in the early hours of the morning. Attracting a crowd which dresses in leather and latex, the venue is quick to become steamy, loud and dark.
Hosted inside a 19th century brewery, many describe K41 as Berghain’s little sister. It retains very similar policies to the German Mecca, with no photographs allowed, a strong queer positive environment and a prominent community spirit that unites its ravers.
You can judge a place’s alternativeness by how well crafted their website is, and De School has clearly hired a graphic designer to deal with theirs. Although this might dismiss the club’s grunge undertones, the venue is still well-loved by techno ravers and artists alike.
On queer friendly techno forums, Bassiani takes the win. Everyone seems to love this place. A notable highlight are the club’s Horoom Nights, which requires pre-registration to make you a verified guest.
Abiding to more traditional clubbing hours (don’t expect daytime clubbing here), Drugstore is a Belgrade favourite. Located a slightly inconvenient 30minute commute from the city centre, Drugstore is small, shady and dark enough to attract the hardcore ravers looking for alternative environments and bunker techno.