Monday, December 24, 2012

Top 10 Sin Cities: #10 Berlin

Bring out das gimp! Latex pants, tops, chains, whips, and S&M are all the rage in Berlin, one of the world’s most fetish-friendly sin cities. Need to be punished? Turn yourself in to any of the city’s sex dungeons for rehabilitation. Want to dance at a club you can also have sex at? The KitKat Club will oblige. Between the First and Second World Wars, Berlin established the world’s first institute for sexual science, which, among other things, had a porn collection that put every teenager’s hidden stash to shame. This openness inspired cabaret and burlesque shows. Plus, at a popular nightclub of the time, patrons could even send cocaine vials by pneumatic tube to other patrons.

In modern-day Berlin, prostitution is legal everywhere. So, if handcuffs and zipper masks don’t do it for you, working women will be happy to oblige.

Famous Berlin Sex Clubs

  1. A

    KitKatClub @ Sage

    This 'kitty' is naughty, sexy, decadent, listens to techno and house and fancies leather and lace, vinyl and whips. Berlin's infamous erotic nightclub currently hides out at Sage Club with its multiple dance floors, shimmering pools and fire-breathing dragon. Check the website for dress code instructions.
  2. B


    The techno pioneer is back in the dark industrial maze of a former power station.
  3. Insomnia

    For a night of hedonistic pleasure, travel to far-flung Tempelhof, south of Schöneberg, the home of Insomnia. This late-19th-century ballroom has been reincarnated as a classy playground of passion presided over by SM and fetish queen Dominique. Besides the dance floor and big-screen Andrew Blake porn, there are performances and various pleasure pits, including a whirlpool, a bondage room and gynaecological chair. Saturday’s Circus Bizarre is good for first-timers; Sundays are reserved for couples and their playmates. The special-themed sex parties during the week are for more advanced players; many require preregistration.
  4. C


    It’s the best club in the world, according to Britain’s well-regarded DJ Mag, and we have no problem seconding the hype. Only vinyl masters such as André Galluzzi and Ricardo Villalobos heat up this hedonistic bass junkie hellhole inside a labyrinthine ex-power plant. The upper floor (Panoramabar, aka ‘Pannebar’) is all about house; the gay-leaning big factory hall below (Berghain) pounds with minimal techno beats. Strict door and no cameras. In summer there’s a beer garden for daytime chilling.
  5. D

    Bar 25

    With the 'Mediaspree' river development likely to become reality, some of Berlin’s most beloved riverside party spots are threatened. Summers just wouldn’t be the same without this surreal playground where you can arrive on Thursday and stumble home on Sunday without the party letting up. The setting is straight out of Twin Peaks : rustic log-cabin-style bar, candle-lit restaurant, a rope swing, an outdoor cinema, a spa with sauna and a trancey, thumpy club with disco ball.
  6. Rechenzentrum

    This club had its start in April 2008, so fingers are crossed it’ll survive. Far, far off the beaten track, in a GDR-era data processing centre (some of the chunky old computers are still there), you can feel the electro beat on Saturday night, then chill by the UFO in the riverside Funkpark on Sunday (summer only). Opening times vary, but it’s usually open Saturday and Sunday. A free bus shuttles between the club and Ostkreuz (corner Neue Bahnhofstrasse and Sonntagstrasse) between 11pm and 5am.
  7. E


    The moneyed and beautiful (or surgically enhanced) with A-list aspirations cavort at this snazzy party pen that’s a veritable jet-set oasis in ghetto-glam Berlin. Once you’ve made it past the velvet rope, you too can be shaking that booty to ‘international club sounds’, sipping champagne cocktails at the sleek bar and – who knows? – maybe even meeting your very own Carrie or Mr Big.
  8. F

    Grüner Salon

    Sultry sophistication rules in the Volksbühne’s intimate ‘Green Salon’, an elegant 1920s glamour vixen that lures natty, chatty sophisticates with mellow lighting and eardrum-friendly indie, jazz, chanson and tango concerts and club nights. On Tuesdays it’s the place in town to kick up your salsa heels. Come early for lessons. The entrance is on the right side of the theatre building.
  9. G


    This labyrinthine cellar of a former brewery is Berlin’s holy grail of drum and bass – Recycle on Saturday is an eardrum-rinsing local institution. Friday is generally given over to special events, with some very strong nu-skool breakbeat and downtempo nights. International DJ royalty such as Grooverider and Nightmares on Wax occasionally head the line-up here.
  10. H


    With the "Mediaspree' river development likely to become reality, some of Berlin’s most beloved riverside party spots are threatened. The granddaddy of all summer parties is the home of reggae, samba, soca, rap and the birthplace of the band Seeed. The Beach Classic on Sunday has been dishing up food, drink, music, beach volleyball and other sports for years.
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  12. I


    By day, the opulent baroque salon in front - complete with plump velvet sofas, gold-leaf mirrors and chandeliers - caters to the cafe crowd. After dark, it morphs into an eats-and-lounge act before turning into a chic club hosting a variety of retro and electro nights with occasional 'extras' such as go-go dancers. Dress on the smarter side of casual.
  13. J


    This derelict house-cum-garden- lounge next to the railway tracks catches the Friedrichshain vibe spot on – dim lighting, dank concrete, mismatched furniture and an alchemy of sounds (surf music to Latin, breakbeat to dancehall) that gets a punky-funky crowd fired up for extended dance-a-thons. Live acts and the relaxed beer garden are bonuses.
  14. K


    An old-time train-repair shop has been given a new life by being turned into an urban playground that includes a skate hall, a beer garden, a climbing tower and an attitude-free, two-floor party den. The crowd defines the word eclectic and so does the music, which covers the spectrum from vintage hip hop to hard funk, roots, reggae and punk.
  15. L


    Check in your attitude at the door of scruffy 'Esso' where the Dead Kennedys and the Toten Hosen were playing gigs when many of today's patrons were still in diapers. Overall, though, who goes when depends on what's on that night: a solidarity concert, a lesbigay theme party, a night flea market: anything goes at SO36.
  16. M

    40 Seconds

    Possibly the best thing about this posh penthouse boîte is the outdoor areas, which are perfect for smooching, smoking and looking out over Potsdamer Platz. Inside, deep-pocketed poseurs seem too busy with SM (standing and modelling, that is) to actually have fun. Look good, or forget about joining them.
  17. N

    Club Culture Houze

    This sex party palace has hot ‘n’ heavy themes ranging from ‘Naked’ Mondays to ‘Balls’ (underwear) Thursdays and ‘Fist Factory’ Fridays. Adventurous hets and bis can get in on the action on Wednesdays and Sundays. Check the website before heading out.
  18. O

    Felix Clubrestaurant

    Once past the velvet rope of this exclusive supper club at the Adlon, you too can be shaking that booty to 'international club sounds', sip champagne cocktails and - who knows? - maybe even meet your very own Carrie or 'Mr Big'. Great after-work party on Thursday (from 9pm).
  19. P

    Tape Club

    There's a tantalising underground vibe to this dancing den where top local and visiting DJs get clubbers going with Chicago- and Detroit-influenced house, deep house, dub house and dub techno. Watch out for the 'Tape Modern' party series, a fusion of club and art expo.
  20. Q


    Part of the Berghain complex, this is a ‘lab’ for advanced sexual experimentation in what looks like the engine room of a U-boat. Party names like Yellow Facts, Fausthaus and Rubber leave little to the imagination. Check the website before heading out.
  21. R


    This hot 'n' heavy club in a GDR-era office building delivers awesome views, sleek design and high-profile spinners such as Dixon, Phonique and Tiefschwarz. There are three floors: the 12th with its panoramic windows, the inky black 15th and the rooftop lounge.

  23. S


    Seventies disco legend Hamilton Bohannon inspired the name of this basement club where groovemeisters such as Barney Millah, B.Side and visiting DJ royalty spin a wicked mix of funk, hip hop, reggae and dancehall with as much emphasis on tunes as beats.
  24. T


    An industrial workshop got a reboot as an unpretentious alt-club with DJs spinning a shape-shifting line-up of funk, soul and electronica for all comers. It’s a smallish place with two rooms; once in a while, bands take to a small stage.
  25. U

    Clärchens Ballhaus

    Yesteryear is now at this late, great 19th-century dance hall where groovers and grannies swing their legs to tango, swing, waltz, disco and pop. In the daytime, the garden's a nice spot for pizza and German soul food (served from 12.30pm).
  26. V


    Watergate has a fantastic location with a lounge overlooking the Spree and a floating terrace actually on it. Top DJs keep the two floors hot and sweaty with a head-spinning mix of techno, breakbeat, house and drum 'n' bass.
  27. W

    Maria Am Ostbahnhof

    This cavernous club by the Spree River has been a long-time rave fixture and often brings in top DJs from the US and the UK alongside Berlin royalty such as Modeselektor, Apparat and T. Raumschmiere.

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