Published: September 3rd 2006September 3rd 2006
Probably very few tourists who visited Berlin left the city disappointed. The city offers more sights and activities than most other cities in Europe. Its history, culture, size, affordability, accessibility, and atmosphere make it a great destination for anyone who wants a little bit of everything in a short amount of time. A short weekend with the family is my reason to visit. After having seen the main sights, the family takes off for Sweden, and I’m left to explore the city for a day before the flight back to Amsterdam.
Fortunately, an old friend lives there and knows the ins and outs of the city. Shows me the quarters off the beaten tourist tracks, places I would not have ended up at on my own random strollings. After the little historical review of that part of town, a visit to a flea market, and a nice chat catching up on old stories at a random cafÃ©, she suggests something quite alternative. “I’m taking you to a club. It’s not a regular club, it’s the underground type of club. Under-underground”. Sure, why not. If that’s what people do on a Sunday in Berlin, why not. We’re close to the East Side Gallery - the only remains of the Berlin Wall, now transformed to a stretch of stylish or less stylish graffiti on this wall that was once a divider between East and West. Seen it the day before, so let’s go clubbing. The club is located in a rather dodgy neighborhood, houses are worn down, lots of empty lots. The entrance is literally a hole in the wall. Not the famous Berlin wall, but a regular concrete wall on a regular street. No signs, just a curtain covering the hole. We enter The Hangar.
The first scen after having entered through the wall is an outdoor space with worn-down bar, a few trees, a ping-pong table that hasn’t been used lately if ever. Also a few people hang out outside. Mainly people who are too stoned, drugged, or drunk to enjoy the dancefloor inside. It’s not a place one should go who’s scared of germs, drugs, a wide variety of people, rabies, or techno music. The place is very, let’s say, liberal. No prejudice, everyone is welcome. My friend D seems to know most of the people there. She explains that although it is indeed an under-underground club, it’s well known of its kind. You see every kind of people here, from junkies to yuppies. On a good night people queue to get in.
The interior, the actual club, is not as dodgy as the exterior. A dancefloor, a DJ booth, a bar, a few chairs and tables. It’s not very crowded, but for a Sunday afternoon it’s quite impressive how many people are out partying. The audience consist mainly of people who want to extend the fun from Saturday night. Some have passed out, some are dancing, some are chatting. One guy who just woke up from his nap lost his glasses. There’s a Swedish girl who likes the place and the city. An English guy tells his story how he ended up there after many years abroad. The beer is cheap and good, although not very cold. Eventually I have to leave to catch my flight. D shows me the way back. It’s actually not that complicated, I might even be able to find my way back next time in Berlin. Not sure if I will, but it was an enjoyable experience. A contrast to the busy and packed bars and clubs in Amsterdam, and with nice and openminded people. I literally left Berlin with a smile. And with a desire to come back.