It’s no secret that Berlin’s vibrant music scene is a huge part of what keeps the German capital at the top of the world’s “hippest city” lists. Many people spend years here without having the chance to visit all of the city’s best music venues, but here are a few spots we think you shouldn’t miss!
All That Jazz
If you’re not an A-Trane regular already, the dim lights and intimate atmosphere of this Charlottenburg club are likely to transport you to a past era. The cool cats behind the scene have been stream wonderful concerts online in the midst of the pandemic. Some acts that have recently performed at A-Trane recently include Andreas Schmidt & Friends, Eb Davis & the Super Band, Gary Wiggins Band, and the venue was also one of the places to host Jazzfest Berlin.
If you’re looking for something more funky, Zig Zag is a great place to discover high quality jazz, funk, soul and blues. This outstanding club has recently hosted acts such as the Miguel Zenon Quartet, the Peter Bernstein Quartet, the James Carter Organ Trio and Kneebody. From the blue velvet curtains to the warm red lighting and the ultra comfy sofas, it’s all too easy to spend an evening at this cosy gem.
When in Kreuzberg, we feel right at home at Yorckschlösschen. Also known as Das Lokal, this self-proclaimed home of jazz and blues hosts live music Wednesday through Saturday, and offers daily specialties of Central European cuisine that pairs perfectly with some Kreuzberg-brewed beer. Yorckschlösschen is nothing if not charming; it’s decked out wall to wall with records and posters, and spectators are practically face-to-face with performers. Recent events include the Berlin Jazz Jam Night and concerts by the Lenard Streicher Band and the Toughest Tenors.
Go Big or Go Home
Wedding is always forecasted as one of Berlin’s rising cool districts, and the Silent Green Kulturquartier, located inside the old Wedding Crematorium, offers three things: culture, culture and culture. No, but seriously, they specialize in anything and everything from art exhibitions, film and video installations, screenings, lectures, seminars and yoga classes! The heart of the old building is the Cupola, a refurbished dome that used to be the mourning hall and now hosts concerts, lectures and screenings. It is fully customizable so you can either sit on chairs, chill on bean bags or dance around, depending on the occasion. If you’re in the mood for something completely different but don’t feel like going too far, the Underground Hall offers up a wholly different experience. The massive Betonhalle, literally “cement hall” was inaugurated shortly before the closing of the crematorium and is now mainly an exhibition space and bar. Last but certainly not least there is the Cube, an adjacent space with three rooms for lectures and seminars that can be converted into a yoga studio or massage parlour. Who says you can’t have it all? Oh, did we mention there’s also a garden?
It’s tough to miss the white spiked, lotus flower-like tent of the Tempodrom. This concert arena is located just west of Potsdamer Platz and hosts everything from conferences and gala dinners to concerts and other types of evening events. Some of those include concerts by the White Lies and Liam Gallagher, Jim Jeffries’ standup show, the Russian Circus on Ice and the Nutcracker performed by the Moscow Ballet. The space is divided into a large amphitheatre arena that can seat up to 3,000 guests and a smaller circular arena right next to it that can fit up to 400 guests, as well as a terrace and roof terrace; just perfect for summer events or, in this case, social distancing. Tempodrom hasn’t let COVID get it down and remains open, however, most concerts have been rescheduled.
Gotta Love the Classics
If you’re into classical music and know how to appreciate the incredibly intricate art of restoring grand pianos, Piano Salon Cristofori is just the place for you. The workshop-cum-venue is named after Bartolomeo Francesco Cristofori, the inventor of the double string and the pianoforte. Traditionally, the salon cultivated a very homey atmosphere, inviting guests to savour the soothing music over a glass of wine and to stay for a chat and smoke with the artists after. These days, the music can still be savoured, but under certain restrictions: concerts are conducted without an intermission and there are no drinks allowed.
Cool As a Cucumber
Located in Friedrichshain, Zuckerzauber Bar’s colorful atmosphere is ideal after a long day of hitting the thrift stores. Open Thursday through Sunday, it is at once a bar, a caffe and a concert venue. Honestly, we can’t think of a better place to keep the spirit of summer alive; from the fairy lights and the multicolored flags to the ping pong table and the sand on the ground. They don’t limit themselves to one genre of music, so depending on the day you could wander into Butt Bounce Thursdays, Spaced out Wellness Open Air or a DJ set.
Huxley’s Neue Welt caters to a wide range of events from Berlin Wrestling Night, New Year’s Eve parties and Tattoo Festivals to concerts by the likes of Nick Cave, Iggy Pop and the Prodigy. The large neoclassical building has been partially renovated to include top notch acoustics and a dazzling light show, while still preserving some of the original architectural features. The large open space is just perfect for concerts and parties, with a large dance floor and a bar to the side. Located in the hip Neukölln district, it is walking distance from popular outdoor spaces Hasenheide and Tempelhof, the abandoned airport field. A bunch of cool shows are planned but have, however, been postponed into the (hopefully) near future.
Cassiopeia, whose motto is “sounds like subculture”, can hardly be accused of false advertising. It is situated in the RAW Gelände just off of Warschauer Straße, a quintessential Berlin cultural spot and untouched industrial complex. It caters to an array of genres, from hardcore musical tastes, having hosted punk concerts by Toxoplasma and Rawside, as well as the Garden and glam rockers Reckless Love. After you’re done headbanging, you can grab a bite to eat at one of the food trucks in the inner courtyard and have a look around – the exposed brick makes for a very cool setting, and there are quite a number of striking graffitis you can feast your eyes on. Unfortunately Cassiopeia is currently closed, but you can tune in to their concerts via livestream!