If you want a break from house and techno there are actually plenty of fantastic live venues in Berlin worth checking out. Here are a few of our fave places!
Once a move theatre, now concert hall for indie music ranging from indie rock to death metal performances to punk to dubstep. Yup you can find it all here. Lido is known for it's Rock AG party on friday nights where both new and old tunes from the Who to the Strokes are mixed. It is open Tuesday through Sundays and hosts both concerts, and sometimes special parties on the weekends (such as those hosted by Indie scout's Karerra Club). Not only home of the young Indie crowd, also has a nice mix of locals, alternatives, tourists, and concert fanatics. The funky furniture. ecletic colours, nostalgic wallpaper will be sure to set the tone for a night of grooving and shaking.
This is a venue for both live music and parties. The space is made up of two floors and a generous outdoor area for all my fellow smokers. The good news is that its open all week long (including sunday nights). A bunch of big names have performed here such as Coco Rosie, Death Cab for Cutie and Friendly Fires to name a few..but Magnet is also a supporter of the "emerging" and local acts. Magnet also has a DJ's one deck spinning a mix of mainstream and more alternative tunes, throughout the week. The crowd is on the younger side. For all you rock 'n' rollers don't miss "Rock Bar" every tuesday night, where you can dance the night away to rock, indie, punk and disco tunes. (And just in case you've had enough of the head banging and hip swinging watergate is just a one door down.)
This place has an interesting history, where the like of Iggy Pop and Lou Reed performed back in Berlin's heyday of the late 70's, and was at the epicentre of the grunge punk secene throughout the 80's. Today, bands that go by the name of "Hell on Earth" and "Church of Misery" can be seen playing at SO36. The hall welcomes newcomers to the music scene, where today's popular styles of metal, hip-hop, techno and drum and base are to be found. SO36 is a melting pot of all types of people but is known for its gay and lesbian scene. On Sunday the evening starts out with an open dance class in SO36's Cafe Fatale, that is then followed by Disco, Pop, Retro and Pop music where theory is put in motion! Panel discussions, public readings, and political fundraisers are just as much part of SO36's agenda as are its smashing musical soirees.
Feststaal welcomes both the big and small fish of the indie rock scene. From the Virgins to Balcony, Ratatat, The Oh Sees, Festaal has established itself as a popular venue for concerts, readings, panel discussions, partys, fashion shows and family celebrations. The Festsaal is located right in the centre of the culturally diverse and blooming Kreuzberg district and used to serve as a turkish wedding hall before it became the multifaceted venue it is today. The gallery from back then has been maintained and the view from above onto the events is pretty great. (We all know what it feels like to be stuck behind what seems to be the tallest person in the room, so this gives all you short people a chance to not only hear the show but to see it too.) Festsaal Kreuzberg is located right by the hub of Kottbusser Tor where the U1 hits the U8.
Skalitzer Straße 130
Schokoladen is one of the more authentic "underground" literally and figuratively speaking. It greets you not with flash and glam, but an unpretentious room in the cellar. This is where you will find lesser-known bands perform, that often play just for the experience and free drinks. Schokoladen has been home to artists since 1990, where an art meets life ethic has been advocated. With a cafe on the ground floor, (where poetry readings often take place throughout the week), artist studios within the building there is an genuine dedication and enthusiasm to the arts. It has a solid line up of small acts, and a pleasant atmosphere.
This Prenzlauerberg weekend hangout (open from thursday to Saturday) is a restaurant/club where seasonal dishes can be enjoyed at your disposal. It fits about 80 people, and is open Thursdays to Saturdays only.
Schoenhauser Allee 36 (Kulturbrauerei)
Levee Club which used to be known as Berlin's banbang club has two floors. Old street lamps and run down urban feel. An intimate setting. Underground quite literally speaking. discoesque, hosts both electronic music and indie bands (mainly on the weekends). So whatever your fancy this place is both easy on the ears and on the eyes.
Neue Promenade 10
White Trash Fast Food
White Trash is a restaurant/bar-come-live music club that is very popular with the more rock'n'roll variety of Berlin hipsters. When Pink, Carl Barat or Lenny from Motorhead are in town, they stop by White Trash for a beer and one of their legendary cheeseburgers and to shoot the shit with Wally, the enigmatic tattooed Texan owner who you will never catch without his cowboy hat on. Many a Berlin-band regularly play here (such as We Heart Sharks or Myriad Creatures) on the ground floor which has a pub-restuarant kind of feel and in the 'Diamond Lounge' in the basement they have indie club nights and more live shows. Back in the days when Gossip were a little unknown band they played here. You can also get a tattoo in their basement tattoo parlour if you are feeling particularly brave - plenty of great rockabilly tat styles to choose from or bring in your own design. Come down and rock out, its a very fun, relaxed place - and the food is anything but trashy (the name is a joke), with really good natural ingredients going into their menu.
Schönhauser Allee 6/7
Tel: 030 5034 8668