In Berlin, “nightlife” runs round-the-clock, and there’s plenty to do at any hour. No matter what your tastes and interests, you will find something to do when the sun goes down. The caliber and variety of of Berlin’s performing arts scene is extraordinary, and the club scene is—and has been since the 1920s—legendary.
The monthly English-language newspaper, “The ExBerliner” (www.exberliner.com), provides a witty, informative guide to the city’s culture and entertainment. This magazine is available at newsstands and tourist offices. Tourist offices also distribute a free magazine called “New Berlin” providing tips and recommendations to visitors. The German-language “Berlin Programm” (www.berlin-programm.de) is available at newsstands. The most detailed listings are found in “zitty” (www.zitty.de), a biweekly publication in German.
You can buy tickets at the venue’s box office (Kasse). Tickets can usually be purchased right up to curtain time. Tickets for more than 100 venues, including opera, classical concerts, musicals, and cabarets are available at Hekticket (www.hekticket.de), with outlets in the Deutsche Bank foyer at Hardenbergstrasse 29 tel. 030/230-9930; U-Bahn: Zoologischer Garter) and Karl-Liebknecht-Strasse 12, on the S-Bahn bridge at Alexanderplatz (tel. 030/230-9930; U-/S-Bahn: Alexanderplatz); both are open Monday through Saturday from 10am to 6pm.; the Zoo location is also open Sundays from 2 to 6pm. For some of the larger opera, ballet, and classical-music venues, you can buy tickets online.
Unsold, day-of-performance tickets for music, dance, and theater venues throughout Berlin are sold for up to 50 percent off at the BERLIN infostores. A Berlin Welcome Card allows you to buy reduced-price tickets (usually 25 percent off) at several major performing-arts venues, including the opera houses.
Very popular among visitors to Berlin is the kind of nightspot depicted in the musical Cabaret, with floor-show patter and acts that make fun of the political and social scene. Cabaret life in between-the-wars Berlin inspired writers such as Christopher Isherwood, among many others. These emporiums of schmaltz have been reborn in the former East Berlin -- though the satire may be a bit less biting than it was during the Weimar Republic. Today's cabaret shows may remind you of Broadway blockbusters, without much of the intimacy of the smoky and trenchant cellar revues of the 1930s.
At its mid-19th-century zenith, Berlin was famous for its cafes. Max Krell, an editor, once wrote: "Cafes were our homeland. They were the stock exchange of ideas, site of intellectual transactions, futures' market of poetic and artistic glory and defeat." They've changed with the times, but cafes are still going strong in Berlin -- particularly, these days, in what used to be East Berlin. In the heart of the old East German capital is a complex of about 100 bars, shops, and restaurants, called Die Hackenschen Höfe (S-Bahn: Hackescher Markt). This stylish minimall attracts hip counterculture denizens who wander between galleries, boutiques, and fashionable cafes. It has become one of the most prominent places in the city to go drinking.
Hanging out at a Kneipe -- A Kneipe is a cozy rendezvous place, a sort of lowbrow pub. Many Berliners have a favorite Kneipe for relaxing after work and visiting with friends, and there are hundreds in Berlin. The following is a more upscale version of a Kneipe known for its history and food.
Gay & Lesbian Berlin
Traditionally, lesbian and gay life centered on the Nollendorfplatz (U-Bahn: Nollendorfplatz), the so-called "Pink Village." There is a history of homosexuality here at the Schwules Museum, Mehringdamm 61 (tel. 030/69599050; www.schwulesmuseum.de). The state-supported Spinnboden Lesbenarchiv & Bibliothek, Anklamerstrasse 38 (tel. 030/4485848; www.spinnboden.de), caters to all sorts of lesbian cultural events. Mann-o-Meter, Bülowstrasse 106 (tel. 030/2168008; www.mann-o-meter.de), is a gay information center.
Today, Motzstrasse is the location of many gay and lesbian bars, including Tom's and Prinzknecht.
In the latter half of June, the Lesbisch-Schwules Stadtfest (Lesbian and Gay Men's Street Fair) takes place at Nollendorfplatz. This is topped in size, though not in exuberance, the last week in June by the Christopher Street Day parade, when 200,000 people congregate to have fun and drop inhibitions.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.