No queue, no bouncer: Berlin clubs open as ‘monuments’

As part of the city's Day of Open Monuments, eight Berlin clubs will be opening their doors, saving visitors the hassle of waiting in a long queue and facing a grumpy bouncer.

No queue, no bouncer: Berlin clubs open as 'monuments'
Photo: DPA.

Cities around Germany will celebrate on Saturday the Day of Open Monuments. Visitors will get to freely tour some of Germany’s most historic churches, theatres, museums, cemeteries and in Berlin, something more unusual – its clubs.

Between Friday and Saturday, the Berlin Club Commission is offering free tours during the day of eight of the capital’s nightlife spots that have made it famous for partying – including notorious sex club KitKatCLUB and one of the city’s oldest joints, SilverWings.

“The clubs themselves have a great economic value for Berlin. Tourists come here for them as much as for the Brandenburg Gate,” Eberhard Elfert from the Club Commission told The Local.

“But the club culture and buildings also have a great historical value.”

Elfert explained that a big part of the spirit of the Berlin club culture has been about preserving old buildings the way they were in a bygone era. Chaltet, Club der Visionäre and Arena clubs are housed in a former recreational area in the city where urban infrastructure was later built. 

Chalet is located in a Prussian-built tollhouse that still maintains the original architecture.

KitKat also, for example, preserves a part of the “daily life of East Berliners” during the Cold War, Elfert said. The club resides in a building that once had an entrance to the Heinrich-Heine-Strasse U-Bahn in its basement. The entrance was then closed up in 1961 with the construction of the Berlin Wall and the division of the city.

When KitKat eventually moved in after the fall of the Wall in the 1990s, the club owners refused to allow the entrance to be opened back up. Thus, the club still in a way reflects this Cold War time period, Elfert explained.

SilverWings at Tempelhof airport dates back to the city’s post-Second World War era when American soldiers were stationed in Berlin and later used Tempelhof for the Berlin Airlift of supplies to West Berlin. It became a popular nightlife spot for Yankees, selling cheeseburgers and French fries – and country music legend Johnny Cash even played there.

“The history of the club scene is also a political one,” Elfert said.

The Club Commission normally hosts tours of the Berlin club scene, but without going inside the venues. This weekend will be the first time they're opening their doors as part of the Day of Open Monuments.

Those interested in the Friday and Saturday tours are asked to register at

“It’s important to see these clubs, not only because of the club culture,” Elfert explained, “but also because of their value as monuments.”

Member comments

Log in here to leave a comment.
Become a Member to leave a comment.


Bavaria mulls reopening clubs – but only for the vaccinated

Bavarian revellers could once again be able to hit the clubs in their home state this autumn - but only if they've had their Covid jabs.

Bavaria mulls reopening clubs - but only for the vaccinated
Guests partying at the exclusive P1 club in Munich. Photo: picture alliance / dpa | Nicolas Armer

Markus Söder, the Bavarian state premier, told his cabinet on Tuesday that he wanted to reintroduce much more freedom for the vaccinated over the coming months, according to a report on BR24.

This would include opening night-time events and clubs for the vaccinated in autumn, and allowing immunised people to attend sporting events without counting in the official attendance numbers. 

READ ALSO: German football fans get green light to return to stadiums next season

Since Thursday, sporting events in the southern state have allowed up to 20,000 attendees – around half the capacity of a football stadium.

People who’d been fully vaccinated could also avoid quarantining on their return from holiday – though it is unclear how this would differ from national rules that exempt inoculated people from quarantine when they return from risk areas and high-incidence areas.

Under federal rules however, vaccinated people must quarantine when coming from a ‘virus variant area of concern’.

The timeline for introducing the new privileges is still unconfirmed, though the clubs could reopen after summer.

However, Söder believes that much more young people need to get vaccinated in Bavaria for his nightlife plans to make sense. 

Markus Söder, Bavaria and CSU leader. Photo: picture alliance/dpa | Sven Hoppe

Jabs in shops, mosques and fast-food restaurants

The promise of getting to enjoy nightlife again isn’t the only way the Bavarian government is encouraging vaccination.

The state premier also wants see pop-up vaccination clinics set up camp in supermarkets, shopping malls, kebab shops, mosques, restaurants, pubs, and leisure centres. “Whatever works for each local area,” Söder said. 

READ ALSO: Car parks, job centres and festivals: How Germany is trying to get Covid jabs to everyone

In addition, mobile vaccination teams will head to markets, major sports events and businesses to offer spur-of-the-moment shots to anyone who wants one.

Meanwhile, the big state vaccination centres will become a lot more like drop-in clinics, with no appointment or prior registration needed for first-vaccinations. 

“The incentive to get vaccinated isn’t a currywurst or a beer,” said Söder, “The incentive is the ability to live a normal life again.”

Getting jabbed is the only way to “free ourselves from the Covid sword of Damocles,” he added. 

Söder has been considering ways to speed up Bavaria’s flagging vaccination drive for a number of weeks now as the state continues to trail behind the national figures

READ ALSO: Bavaria opens up Covid vaccines to all adults in bid to speed up jab drive

At present, 57 percent of people in Bavaria have received at least one jab, while 42.7 percent of the population are fully vaccinated.

On a national level, 58,9 percent of people have had their first dose of vaccine, while 43.7 percent are now fully immunised.