Poll Clubs 2009: Berghain / Panorama Bar | DJMag.com Skip to main content
BERGHAIN
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1
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As far as techno goes, there is little debate about where the centre of the universe lies at the moment - deep inside the vast vortex of 70 Am Wriezener Bahnhof, Berlin. Or Berghain and its upstairs Panorama Bar to be specific.

Like its '90s Berlin forefathers E-Werk and Tresor before it, the unhinged happenings of Berghain are resonating out of the German capital and shaping the future of this sound like no other space on Earth.

Joris Voorn describes it as "the true definition of a techno club that is all about the music", Joel Mull believes it is "the temple of techno and house on planet Earth", whilst Paul Woolford lauds it as "a massive inspiration for anybody serious about house and techno culture".

But for the thousands that are magnetised here from Germany, Spain, Italy, the UK and beyond, those words will amount to nothing more than preaching to the converted. In 2009, Berghain is the essential techno pilgrimage.

A colossus in every sense, the towering former power station has hosted just about every key name in techno. But whereas most clubs merely showcase them, Berghain hands its DJs the time, space and freedom to explore the full frontiers of their craft.

Where else will you see Carl Craig play for the best part of a waking day or Laurent Garnier (it was where he first roadtested his Innervisions release 'Back To My Roots') embark on a marathon voyage just as the rest of Europe is tucking into Sunday lunch? Even the very shortest sets at this place tend towards the three-hour mark.

"You can go into deep, slow 110bpm burners from someone like Moodyman, take it up to 130bpm techno classics - and everything in between," explains Jesse Rose. "As long as you get your groove on the crowd will follow."

Bringing house names like Switch, Sneak and Derrick Carter to Berlin, Jesse's monthly Made To Play residency in the Panorama Bar is a perfect example of Berghain's musical democracy. For whilst rising tall as an undisputed techno stronghold, Berghain is far from a closed musical fortress with Jerome Sydenham's soulful deepness, Distance's edgy industrial dubstep and the dystopian voodoo rhythms of Shackleton all finding a home here.

Of course, any weekly club will always be mastered by its residents and in Marcel Dettman Berghain have a DJ that has commanded the main room since 2004. His 'Berghain 02' mix frames the sound of the club at its best - deep, intense, hypnotic and informed by past, present and future in equal measure.

But what really places Berghain in another dimension altogether is that perpetual air of unchecked debauchery. One that consumes the concepts of time and space entirely. As Jesse Rose explains: "Entering Panorama Bar is like going back in time to an age when people went out to really party."

A true hedonists' playground, no club on earth goes deeper, or longer, than the full Berghain/Panorama Bar experience at the moment. Beginning at midnight and just about hitting stride at 10am every Sunday morning in the Panorama Bar, it runs to the late hours of Sunday evening each week.

It is always the forbidden pleasures that satisfy the very deepest urges and the journey into Berghain's abyss is laced with deviant exploration from the start.

Lying like a dark secret at the end of dusty, fence-enclosed road, its huge looming face is as foreboding as the militant rhythms that have become associated with peak-time Berghain.

But whilst the bouncers are notoriously selective, once you finally infiltrate the mainframe it is anything goes.

A reincarnation of Berlin's legendary Ostgut club, which regularly hosted men-only fetish night 'Snax' between '98 and '03, Berghain is still witness to open sex acts - there's even a basement space called The Laboratory designed specifically for them - but it remains a mixed and musically focused environment.

Forget about VIP areas, mirrors in the toilets and your camera (photography is one of the only practices that is actually outlawed here), Berghain's inner structures are two of the most pure, epic and stripped-back rave environments you ever will encounter. All exposed concrete and steelwork, the Berghain main room is the very definition of industrial and cavernous with ceilings so high they might as well not exist at all.

Sundays, of course, are all about Panorama Bar with the slightly more intimate dancefloor and the club's famous shutters that allow the breaking day's light to momentarily infiltrate the venue, only to shut moments later, leaving you lost in the timeless vortex of hedonism.

"Words really cannot describe how good this place is but I will try," says Matt Edwards, aka Radio Slave. "It is the real deal, run by incredibly dedicated people who love music and understand what makes a club work. It really is a place where you get lost in time and space."

1
BERGHAIN
2
FABRIC
3
SPACE IBIZA
4
WOMB
5
AMNESIA
6
MINISTRY OF SOUND
7
PACHA IBIZA
8
WATERGATE
9
D-EDGE
10
The End
11
Cocoon
12
GUVERNMENT
13
ZOUK SINGAPORE
14
SUB CLUB
15
WARUNG
16
SANKEYS MCR
17
DC-10
18
Plastic People
19
SIRENA
20
21
Paradiso
22
Pacha Buenos Aires
23
Beta Nightclub
24
ROBERT JOHNSON
25
Ruby Skye
26
Matter
27
The Arches
28
Space Miami
29
Club Volume
30
Pacha Miami
31
AGEHA
32
Hardpop
33
RAZZMATAZZ
34
CIELO
35
Eden
36
Alte Börse
37
The Rex
38
Batofar
39
Studio Martin
40
Avalon
41
Club JB's
42
My House
43
CAVO PARADISO
44
FABRIK
45
Noxx
46
TENAX CLUB
47
Fuse
48
Clash Club
49
PRIVILEGE
50
Onzi-eme
51
ANZUCLUB
52
52 Crystal
53
Vanguard
54
Villa
55
Metro City
56
Kristal
57
Club Midi
58
360°
59
Harry Klein
60
MANSION
61
Circa
62
ARMA 17
63
Club Der Visionaere
64
Vision
65
Vinyl
66
Caves
67
CHINESE LAUNDRY
68
Goa Club
69
Stereo
70
Bar 25
71
Byblos
72
Warehouse
73
Heaven
74
Air
75
Florida 135
76
Culture Box
77
MINT CLUB
78
Dirty Dancing
79
Circus Afterhours
80
Tribehouse
81
Cabaret Voltaire
82
Pacha Sharm
83
1015
84
Haoman 17
85
Prince Of Wales Bandroom
86
Numero Uno
87
MOTION & MARBLE FACTORY
88
Barfly
89
Café D'Anvers
90
Stiff Kitten
91
Factory Club
92
93
TRESOR
94
Global
95
YALTA
96
LUX FRAGIL
97
Sq Klub
98
Le Queen
99
Weekend
100
Le Bataclan