Berlin is great for some less run-of-the-mill nights out. Some favourites:
Clarchen's Ballhaus, an old 1930s ballroom that remains pretty much unchanged. What I liked most about it was how unpretentious it was - there were people who could dance, and people who couldn't, young and old people, and people who had really dressed up along with people dancing in hiking boots and jeans. If you like a chilled atmosphere with cheesy ballroom classics like
Cheek to Cheek
(and I do)
then this is for you.
[Exterior view, during the day]
On our first night we met my best friend Blair and his little brother Dean (above) for a drink in a bar next to the Dead Chicken Collective's Monster Cabinet. Afterwards we went to B Flat, a jazz club where they make gin gimlets (sort of just a cup of gin with lime juice... yes, hammered). On the way home we saw this massive petrol fire in the street - it was quite exciting really, in an anarchic sort of way.
One of my favourite nights out wasn't to a club or a ballroom though - it was to Liquidrom, a minimalist spa in Mitte/Kreuzberg.
Liquidrom sounded like a good shout after a day of walking around all day in -1 degrees temperatures. We were pretty tired, and not too up for going out, but it was open until 1am so we thought it might be a good alternative to a bar.
How right we were.
The main attraction is a big round pool of really salty water, with a domed ceiling. You float around in it, and all around the pool are tall pillar candles flickering. When your ears are underwater you can hear really chilled electro music. It's sort of like the most relaxing thing ever. It's also the closest I've gotten to floating in the Dead Sea, which has always sounded pretty dreamy to me.
It's 19.5 euros for two hours, or 24.5 for four. We went for four, and I'm glad we did, because we were so relaxed we didn't want to leave. If you go on a Friday night, you get complimentary prosecco, and there is a harpist in the bar who plays for about three hours straight.
There was an outdoor saltwater pool as well, and the usual saunas and steam rooms.
The weirdest thing was the no-swimwear-in-the-sauna-or-steamroom policy. Apparently it's pretty common in Germany, but it definitely wasn't something I'd come across before. Somehow it seems less weird when you're so relaxed that you're almost asleep. I definitely got the impression that no-one really cared whether you were wearing clothes or not.
One thing I don't recommend is drinking prosecco after being in a big salty pool. It makes you very, very thirsty.
*Liquidrom photos from