What are the best places for music in Berlin? We asked music production students Louissa Akila, Rowan Edwards, Davide Molinari, Filip Högberg and Rocco Santucci for their insider tips.
Came for the music, stayed for the good vibes. So goes the Neuberliner adage. The first cultural touchpoint for many a new visitor, Berlin’s infectious music scene is like a computer virus routed for the soul; once it’s got you, there ain’t no getting rid of that feeling. As the late, great David Bowie put it, “Berlin, the greatest cultural extravaganza that one could imagine.”
From punk to the ubiquitous techno, and everything in between, this boundary-pushing musical sandbox is all about freedom of expression and creative exploration. It’s about being part of a diverse international community that came for the exact same reason as you: to create – and thrive.
It goes without saying that our music students have got the bug, so we couldn’t not probe them for their insiders’ knowledge. What are the best places for music in Berlin? Here’s what they told us.
Nestled between old Berlin charm and a young, artistic atmosphere since 2011, Kindl Stuben is a welcoming setting for performers. “One of my favourite places for music in Berlin is Kindl Stuben, a cafe located on Sonnenallee," Louissa tells us. "They have an open mic night every Sunday and you can register there an hour before the show starts. I really like this place because there’s a bunch of cool musicians and you can hang, learn and gain experience with them.”
In the spring and summer, Berlin's parks are the beating heart of the city's creative scene. “As much as the club scene in Berlin is fantastic, one of my favourite places to hear music in the city is Görlitzer Park in Kreuzberg," says Gozi. "Berlin is full of artists and musicians from all around the world and in the summertime you can more or less guarantee that someone will be jamming there. For me, there’s nothing nicer than lying in the sunshine and hearing people just play, not performing for anyone. It’s one of my favourite things about Berlin!”
Kreuzberg's Lido is one of Berlin's most popular live venues for rock, indie, electro and pop. “I consider the club Lido as one of the best places for music in Berlin," Davide tells us. "I went there once to see The Neal Morse Band and the atmosphere of the space was just amazing. The sound, the number of people, the dimension of the stage, everything was perfect in that event. I highly recommend everyone to go to a show there.”
The atmosphere of the space owes itself in part to Lido's rich history. In the 1950s and '60s, the Schlesische Straße location was a favourite with movie buffs. "If you were an East Berliner who wanted to see films from the West, you couldn't avoid Lido," the club's website advises. "Then in the '70s, the then 'Westside' establishment had a pioneering role in rock 'n' roll." After shutting down for a couple of decades, it was only in 2006 that the Lido as we know it today was opened.
“I find most of my inspiration in Berlin’s club scene and it’s where I go to enjoy music. Tresor is one of my favourites and I always bring something back with me from the experience that has value to what I do musically." Filip says.
Tresor, which originally opened in a basement in 1991, is one of Berlin's oldest and most famous clubs. As the Tresor website informs, the club's historical highlights include "Jeff Mills’ first sets on three turntables... the grandiose Tresor Park parties... various chapters of the Loveparade with Sven Väth in the '90s, and since then, countless generation-spanning parties that represented for their visitors the highlights of their personal clubbing experiences."
Despite being a popular DJ and dark techno producer as Antwon Blanc, for Filip, it's not always about parties. "If I don’t go to clubs, I like to be at the Funkhaus, " he adds. "There’s usually a lot of interesting events happening, you meet interesting people and the venue itself is very cool.”
Rocco Santucci is also a big fan of Berlin's park culture: “I would say that my favourite musical place is the parks in the summer – Mauerpark for example – when you catch some amazing band or artist performing under the sun for all to hear. This is something that wasn’t possible where I grew up, so it’s the best for me.”