Clubs and stages, street food and underground art – it is the urban playground for steam punkers: The RAW Area at Warschauer Straße has become the (sub-)cultural center of Berlin Friedrichshain in many ways. Since we, the Industriepalast Hostel, are practically neighbors, we introduce you in our new mini-series Boiling RAW to the area’s history, future, and all the amazing stuff it has to offer. This week we cast an eye on the famous nightlife at RAW.
Fat bass is humming through the spray-painted brick walls, cheerful party people are waiting in line in front of an old warehouse, foofed girls hang out between punks, hipsters and a group of long-haired metal fans on their way home from a concert. It is not easy to describe the nights on RAW area in a few words. They are loud, they are creative, they are wild – maybe most of all: They sum up, what makes Berlin Friedrichshain special. What is an urban oasis of creativeness during the day turns into a nightlife jungle after dark; on the weekends just as much as on a regular Tuesday night, in summer as in winter. You could spend countless nights on the former industrial wasteland and still you would only scratch the surface of the immense diversity of nightlife opportunities. Still, here is a little overview of the most famous institutions and places on RAW:
Relaxed and a little Queer
The night doesn’t have to escalate immediately, rather give it a go with some relaxed fun around sundown. Especially now during summer Cassiopeia is a good place to go; you will not only find a nice biergarten, but also the open-air cinema Insel where you can enjoy classics and new releases, often in the original version, under the open sky. In case you already spent the afternoon in the fancy swimming pool wonderland Haubentaucher you might want to relax a bit to the sound of smooth techhouse in their lounge area. Creative minds should stop by at the unique art center Urban Spree at nighttime, too. There are not only fascinating events and workshops, galleries and art shops, but also plenty of space to hang out with all sorts of artsy folk with a nice drink at hand. And if you feel drawn towards the exciting Queer scene of Berlin you should check out the Bar zum schmutzigen Hobby (“Bar of Dirty Hobbies”), one of the city’s most famous LGBT* places.
Feeling a little hungry? No worries, a stroll through the many snacking options on RAW will definitely do. Mexican burritos meet wurst stalls, burgers or Currywurst. And every Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 6 pm Neue Heimat presents their Bar&Food Night: Street food goes hand in hand with live jazz, and the wicked cocktails are best served along the finest beats of local djs. It goes all through the night and you most likely won’t find anything like it.
Best Made Handmade
RAW also has some of the finest live music venues of the capital, always somewhere between subculture and mainstream. Astra Kulturhaus has famous world stars as well as exciting newcomers, from hardrock over punk and hip hop all the way to guitar folk. More often than not there is a suitable party afterwards, so it’s always worth a visit. A little more off the beaten track is Badehaus Szimpla: Back in the days railroad workers washed sweaty dust of their bodies here, now it’s a saloon for unusual music. It might be Balkan beats, might be reggae, or maybe klezmer, gipsy, dancehall – sublime bands and parties all through the night make sure that you will never be bored here. Only poor little mainstream will have to wait outside. Right next door is abovementioned Cassiopeia which has great gigs and fun parties, too.
Berlin Two Step
It is no secret, Berlin is Europe’s techno capital! The club Suicide Circus on the western end of the area has been a tower of techno in an electronic dance music landscape that is getting shallower and shallower for more than six years now. It ain’t fancy, it ain’t big, but the music is fast and hard and the turntables host some of the capital’s best producers. You won’t have to wait in line for hours as in hyped clubs like Berghain or Watergate, the admission is cheaper and the experience is intense. And during the warm summer months the shabby outdoor area brings you real close to the feeling of the 1990s illegal squatter clubs. Quite a techno underdog.
After a long, crazy night on RAW there’s nothing like a last beer for the sunset on Warschauer Bridge. And five minutes later you can collapse happily into your soft bed at Industriepalast Hostel – a late check-out until 1 pm will give you plenty of time to sleep in.
Have some wicked fun on RAW,
Blogger at Industriepalast Hostel
is Berliner by choice and a passionate backpacker himself. As a receptionist he knows the real hostel life; as a blogger he's been writing for Industriepalast Hostel's Berlin blog since 2014.