Location: Berlin, Germany
The allure of Berghain starts outside. A former power plant, the blocky structure straddling Kreuzberg and Friedrichshain stands tall in the sparse landscape surrounding it. Lined with rectangular windows, you can hear the distant boom emitting from the club’s acclaimed Funktion-One soundsystem, adding to the sense of mystery seeping from Berghain, Panorama Bar and multiple dark rooms inside. Deemed a cultural institution by German law in 2016, Berghain remains a rite of passage for ravers and artists alike.
The club was founded in 2004 by two seasoned promoters: Norbert Thormann and Michael Teufele. The pair had promoted their Snax parties — a male-only fetish event — since in the early ’90s, before opening their first club, Ostgut, in a derelict repair depot in Friedrichshain. The glassy Mercedes-Benz Arena now looms in its place, but Thormann and Teufele took Ostgut to its current address of 70 Am Wriezener Bahnhof. A strict door policy, a palpable sense of hedonism, and in-house record label — Ostgut Ton — has endured ever since.
With 24 world-renowned artists making up the club’s resident DJ roster, including Ben Klock, Etapp Kyle and Tama Sumo, the club adapted as Covid-19 snaked its way around the globe. Doubling as an exhibition space, the non-profit Boros Foundation recently hosted the ‘STUDIO BERLIN’ showcase to shine a light on contemporary Berlin-based artists, taking place in pockets of the venue that are still unknown to the public. Outside, Berghain’s Klub Garten has seen FJAAK, Gabber Eleganza, and Miss Kittin soundtrack the sun-drenched spot over the summer. Pandemic or not, the legacy of Berghain prevails.