November 07, 2016
LUXE Loves is the regular feature where we spotlight our all-time favourite places in the world. From spiff boutique stays to the finest diners, dapper drinkers and swooniest shops… welcome to the crème of our curated cohort.
Tucked amid the mod art galleries and cafes of Berlin’s marvellous Mitte
The nightlife epicentre of Europe may conjure dismaying images of burly swingers and pleather-clad club kids, but the fact remains – when in Berlin, one must dance. But that’s not to say you need to brave Berghain to get your groove on, at least not when refined dowager dancehall Clärchens Ballhaus is just a foxtrot away.
Built in 1895, the regal shimmy spot has seen it all, from flirty flappers in the roaring ‘20s to black marketers under communist rule. Today, in her current iteration as a nightclub, dance class venue, concert space and beer garden, the now slightly shabby centenarian remains a grand institution of Berlin’s party scene.
The crowd here spans hip young scenesters to seasoned 80-something seniors – ‘I met my first husband here back in 1930’. And the jam-packed roster of activities and events truly offers something for everyone. During the week you can expect tango and waltz classes on the well-worn parquetry floor of the main room, which turns into a DJ-fuelled, cross-generational bop fest come Friday and Saturday.
Or, if you’re not in the mood for a boogie, see what’s happening in the eerily beautiful upstairs Spiegelsaal. Clärchens’ crowning jewel is a magical mirror-lined affair with painted ceilings and plaster still pocked with holes from WWII bullets. Every Sunday you can catch intimate classical and chamber concerts here (with a tipple in hand, natürlich), or look out for the occasional Gipsy Restaurant when the majestic space hosts live folk tunes and candlelit dining.
On all other evenings, sate that dancer’s appetite in the outdoor bare bulb-strung beer garden, which serves up a simple German menu of schnitzel and cheese dumplings, plus beers and cocktails that are as classic as the surrounds. Wunderbar!
Auguststr. 24, Mitte, Berlin. +49 30 282 9295. ballhaus.de
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