The Top 5 Music Venues in Berlin

September 20, 2017

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SO36. Image by Prokura Nepp, courtesy of the venue.

When people ask The HUNT Berlin writer Hilda Hoy why she loves living in Berlin, her first reason is that there’s so much going on here: you could truly go out any and every night of the week and always have a fantastic time. Music is a prominent dish in the local cultural smorgasbord, and venues abound with concerts of all styles and genres.

SO36. Image by Prokura Nepp, courtesy of the venue.

SO36 counts as one of the legends. In the ’70s and ’80s, it was the core of Kreuzberg’s wild punk and new wave scene, hosting legends such as Dead Kennedys, Suicide and Einstürzende Neubauten. These days, SO36 has expanded its repertoire to such genres as rock and Balkan beats, and even holds roller disco parties.

Smaller but definitely worth a visit is Madame Claude, also in Kreuzberg. Descending the stairs into the basement performance space, things start feeling a bit topsy-turvy — that’s because an entire living room’s worth of furniture has been attached upside down to the ceiling, and you might have to remind yourself which way is up as the evening goes on. The nightly performances feature many homegrown unknowns, and the weekly Experimontag and Freaky Friday nights are a treasure trove of weird, genre-defying stuff.

Privatclub. Image courtesy of the venue.

White Trash Fast Food is another venue with an irreverent edge. Combining restaurant, beer garden and tattoo studio with a concert stage, White Trash hosts nightly shows where you can chow down on a fat burger while being serenaded with something loud and live. In keeping with the place’s rowdy, rockabilly theme, the shows have a solid rock and punk bent.

With Berlin being the techno haven that it is, Hilda has often had friends ask where they can go out dancing to music that isn’t electronic. Her response is always Privatclub. There are concerts nearly every night of the week featuring mellow singer-songwriter stuff to indie bands with a lively pop beat, and on the weekends, the floor fills up with partygoers dancing to boogie, soul and hip-hop sounds.

Yorckschlösschen. Image via website.

There are jazz clubs dotting the city, but Yorckschlösschen is something remarkable. An easygoing corner pub in western Kreuzberg, it dates back more than 100 years, making it one of the oldest pubs in the city. For the past 40 or so years, owner Olaf has been inviting jazz, blues and swing acts to play three to five nights a week. It’s an utterly unpretentious place to have a bite, a drink and catch some grooves, an atmosphere borrowed from the jazz joints of New Orleans’s French Quarter.

About The HUNT Berlin Writer: Hilda Hoy is a journalist and writer who ended up in Berlin as a result of a very happy coincidence: after leaving a newspaper job in Prague, Berlin just happened to be a nearby place to take an extended holiday — one that has lasted nine years and counting. When not covering local dining and nightlife for Where Berlin magazine, she can be found tilling her allotment garden, scouring flea markets or exploring all corners of the city by bike, U-Bahn and on foot. She writes about the places she finds on her blog,

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