Berlin is poor, but sexy.
– Klaus Wowereit
A shipwreck of a watering hole located on the canal adjacent to the Turkish market. Shoppers, hipsters, and DJs with babies are like flotsam and jetsem floating in and out of the bar day and night.
A picturesque beer garden in the middle of the city's central park Tiergarten is usually very crowded on weekends but offers a nice mid-week escape, complete with lazy river and vintage string lights.
An old Soviet-era, sepia-toned dance hall. Waiters wear tuxedos and serve schnitzel. Wonderfully chintzy tinsel decorations look like they haven't changed in decades. There's a beer garden and waltzing on the dance floor. Generations mix, mingle, and ask one another to dance.
There's not one, not two, but three opera houses in the city. This is considered the flagship: bread and butter productions, excellent casts. But no English sub-titles.
A theater trifecta offering a wide range of avant-garde and experimental events: international guest performances, contemporary dance, sound and light installations, and festivals.
The disco dance party Pet Shop Bears brings a lightheartedness to Berlin's club scene that's rarely seen elsewhere. Though its home venue is in the shadows of the monolithic club Berghain (specifically, in the old cantina behind it), the party's all about fun. There are themes, costumes, and boys, boys, boys.
A tiny bar and even tinier dance floor, where a polished crowd, inspired by the good music, is determined to keep the party going until the sun rises.
This monumental stretch of Karl Marx Allee retains all the feeling of a socialist boulevard. The cinema has a striking retro look from the outside, but a peek inside reveals a glamorous foyer of chandeliers, wood paneling, glittering curtains, and hand-painted movie posters. You must have a post-flick cocktail at the equally retro-fitted bar Babette across the street.
Cozy, hidden hang that instantly transforms you into a local. Great gay scene Thursday evenings. DJs keep it subtle on turntables perched at the end of the bar.
Imposing, tent-like structure from the outside. Intimate auditorium inside. Terraced, wraparound seating creates supreme acoustics and sightlines. (Go for: chief conductor Sir Simon Rattle; the free lunchtime concerts.)
A Micro Korean pop party that never ends. Good DJs inside, Seoul BBQ next door, and karaoke in the bathroom under a disco ball.
Next door to Clärchens Ballhaus is the Spiegelsaal, a gorgeous, dilapidated, half bombed-out old ballroom with a precariously hung chandelier, huge candelabras dripping with wax, and rustic flower arrangements. Listen to a quartet on Sunday evenings, with a spritzer and pretzel.
An Asian jewel box hidden from the bland tourist promenade in a small courtyard. Thick Persian carpets line the floors, and folks lounge on ikat divans next to low tables (there’s a no shoe policy). Order the Russian tea ceremony, which has a silver samovar plus a slew of accompaniments — like rum raisins, marmalade, crystallized orange. The waiter will no doubt offer vodka to cut the sweetness.
The "People's Theater" is dramatic in structure and content: a huge stone monument showcasing provocative, shimmering performances, lectures, debates, and concerts.
A beloved house and techno club overlooking the River Spree is notable for its intense LED lighting installation, which runs the length of the club.
A neighbohood bar and cafe that's good for groups looking for a house-party atmosphere. Vintage furniture is set up like a parlor, and the cocktails keep on coming.