Nomad Nightlife: ://about blank, Club der Visionaere, Kater Holzig

As another weekend rolls around, the Nomaditor-in-Chief is finally getting around to last weekend’s nightlife report. Nomad dispatches sometimes take a while to arrive—you know, camels and all that. :)

://about blank, Markgrafendamm 24c.
Last Thursday was the weekly Impulse Dubstep party at ://about blank, which I thought I’d go check out. They do an excellent job promoting this event; I’d been seeing flyers all summer.

The club is located in one of the seemingly endless rundown, spraypainted, industrial-type buildings around Ostkreuz, and was formerly an illegal club. It’s currently hovering in the top 12 Berlin clubs as ranked on Resident Advisor, and so I was excited to make it over there and take in the gritty vibes.

The place was certainly gritty, but it was also something of a disappointment. While boasting extensive outdoor areas with seating and forested niches around a campfire, the indoor areas were bare minimum, and not in a charming way. The best of the grungy venues, like Rosi’s, nonetheless display considerable love and attention to comfortable detail in the shaping of their wacky, kitschy corners and abundance of overstuffed furniture. The inside of ://about blank is simply boring—one bar, one spartan (and stenchy) main room, and a somewhat more interesting little closetlike nook of a room with a couple light panels and better sound. The sound in the main room is appalling—volume isn’t a substitute for quality, guys. It really makes you appreciate the renowned Funktion 1 system in Berghain, where the bass gnaws at your bone marrow, but doesn’t make you feel like your ears are about to start bleeding. I rarely think of bringing earplugs when I go clubbing, but I sure wished I had at ://about blank. One drink and an hour or two here were enough, then I headed home, taking advantage of the nice night to wander by foot from Ostkreuz back to my apartment. One interesting discovery en route was the funky and awesome-looking bar Supamolly, which I will definitely explore in a further installment of Nomad Nightlife.


Club der Visionaere, in the daytime.

Club der Visionaere, Am Flutgraben 1.
The next night, I headed over to Club der Visionaere to catch up with the talented Daryl Alexsy. This place, unlike ://about blank, is absolutely deserving of the hype it’s currently enjoying. The club is perched under a giant willow on the bank of the Landwehrkanal, right off the Spree and the Badeschiff, and offers a peaceful, sleepy atmosphere, whether on a sunny afternoon or a moonlit night. Like Kater Holzig, Ritter Butzke and the legendary Bar25, this place has that wooden saloon-kitsch feeling, and offers plenty of seating with a beautiful view of the canal. Although the music is good, the little dancefloor next to one of the downstairs bars is a bit too small and packed to be appealing. Nonetheless, it’s a wonderful club to spend time with friends and relax. In a clubbing landscape where cover charges are sadly becoming more and more expensive, the usual 2 euro entry fee at CdV is also wonderfully refreshing. Definitely a special place in the city’s wide spectrum of nightlife offerings, and beloved for good reason.


The outdoor area at Kater Holzig.

Kater Holzig, Michaelkirchstraße 23.
On Saturday night, I was off to get my dancing fix at Kater Holzig. This place is rapidly becoming one of my absolute favorite nightlife spots in Berlin—every time I’m there, my good impressions are reinforced and strengthened. Frequently termed a ‘playground for adults,’ the extensive complex of rooms and outdoor spaces is lovingly constructed in iconic Dada-esque Berlin kitsch by a passionate team, including one of the masterminds behind Bar25. It is impossible to get bored here—there are almost infinite rooms and delightful corners tucked away in all kinds of improbable places. Kater Holzig combines river access, a bonfire and the eponymous ‘wooden’ club craftsmanship outside, a toweringly massive, rundown building (including a janked-up concrete staircase spawning side rooms to rival Tacheles), and a lovely restaurant perched up top. Two main dancefloors sprawl in opposing areas of the building on the groundfloor, with a third, chilled-out little mini-dancefloor and bar in a charming wooden shack in the bustling courtyard area. Out of all the venues that might claim to have inherited the Bar25 mantle—Chalet for the former team’s involvement, Club der Visionaere for its similar laid-back shoreside vibe, and Kater Holzig itself, I think Kater Holzig indisputably offers the most encompassing experience and unforgettable atmosphere. Entry was a bit steeper, at 12 euros, but no objections here—the experience is always worth it.

While the structure alone could offer endless diversion, the booking policy is fortunately also solid. The first time I was at KH, my friends and I were lucky enough to catch an enthralling performance from wild electro-funk trio Jahcoozi at the Border Movement launch party.

Border Movement Launch Party @ Katerholzig in Berlin // 13.07.2012 from BorderMovement on Vimeo.

The party last Saturday offered an equally electrifying blend of live music and excellent DJs from numerous labels laying some beats down. The location is also optimal—we took a break from dancing and chilling by the water to go tramping up the street to the Heinrich-Heine-Straße U-Bahnhof for some truly delicious falafel. Other clubs clustered around this station include the famed Tresor and the kinky KitKatClub—dispatches from these to follow in subsequent installations!

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