Berghain, more than just a door policy

Articles // Tue 17 Aug 2021 - 10:32am

Ofcourse you’ve heard of Berghain

The Berlin club inside a decommissioned power plant is so well known within music culture it’s almost impossible to find a raver who hasn’t heard of it.

Though the location in one of the best nightlife cities in the world and past lineups of top-tier techno DJs and producers have contributed to the fame, most people remember Berghain for one thing.

The strict door policy

Representative of door policies across Berlin, Berghain focuses on ensuring only people who can handle the experiences inside and want to be there get through the steel doors. To understand why this came to be we need to dig deeper.

Rising from the rubble

Tracing back to the late 90s and the male fetish night ‘Snax’ Berghain founders Thormann and Teufele worked as promoters within Berlin’s nightlife. After the fall of the Berlin wall, hedonism and the techno scene in the city was blossoming, calling for more raves and safe spaces for people to explore newfound freedoms.

Opening from 1999 to 2003 The duo’s first club was in a disused railway repair depot, and named Ostgut. Hosting techno nights, the club catered to a wider clientele than the previous snax nights.

After the closure of Ostgut to make way for the construction of Berlin’s O2 world stadium, it took Thormann and Teufele almost 2 years to find a suitable venue to continue the legacy the club had built in its short lifespan.

Opening in October of 2004, Berghain served to continue this legacy, now based in a disused power station on the borders of districts Kreutzberg and Friedrichshain. The power hall’s 18ft high ceilings now becoming the gritty surroundings for some of the hardest techno nights in the world, and a venue ravers will travel thousands of miles to experience.

Digging into the door policy

With the twice-yearly Snax events keeping the strictest male-only door policy, the less rigid year-round door policy has still gained the infamy of being ‘the hardest door in Berlin’. No amount of money or fame will get you through the door, only the discretion of lead doorman Sven Marquardt and his team. The team works to ensure all within the concrete walls are fit to experience the release they can enjoy inside and relax without wandering eyes stopping and staring.

Not the only strict policy…

Alongside the near-impenetrable door, the club also runs a strict no photo policy, with cameras being taped up and safe deposit boxes available for your phones, to avoid getting kicked out by mistake. It helps aid the safe space for all inside, knowing their exploits will not be seen outside the walls of the club.

Working to uphold these policies since the opening of Ostgut back in 1999, Marquardt has become a minor celebrity within the scene in Berlin, still ensuring to this day that the club’s standards are upheld. When asked about the door policy Sven was quoted as saying:

“I feel like I have a responsibility to make Berghain a safe place for people who come purely to enjoy the music and celebrate-to preserve it as a place where people can forget about space and time for a little while and enjoy themselves.”

“The club evolved from the gay scene in Berlin in the nineties. It’s important to me we preserve some of that heritage so that it still feels like a welcoming place for the original sort of club-goers.”

“If we were just a club full of models, pretty people all dressed in black, it would be nice to look at for half an hour, but god, that would be boring. It would feel less tolerant, too.”

– Sven Marquardt

Now a cultural institution and sporting its record label, ‘Ostgut Ton’, Berghain is still held in the highest regard within the techno scene. Once international travel restrictions ease, we will no doubt see ravers from all over the globe travelling to Berlin to try their chances at getting through the steel doors and into the mystery behind them. We will dance again.

The Tribal team has curated a playlist of some of the finest hardcore and industrial Techno to give you a taster of what lies inside Berghain: