Humans of all ages enjoy a good bit of dancing. Hilda Hoy cut a rug at Clärchens Ballhaus, the charming century-old dance hall where young and old mix.
Dance the night away at a charming century-old dance hall.
O ld is gold. Though Berlin’s clubs and electronic music hog all the hype, one of the city’s shouldn’t-miss spots for nightlife is an unlikely hero: a 101-year-old dance hall that first opened its doors in 1913. With its fading, chipped façade, Clärchens Ballhaus may look somewhat shabby amongst its posh neighbors here in the heart of Mitte’s gallery and boutique district. But its undeniable charm makes it a popular spot nonetheless, drawing an intergenerational mix of dancehappy revelers.
Signs of the Ballhaus’s historic heritage are everywhere, like in its logo, originally painted in 1931 by now-famous artist Otto Dix, or in its doorman, who still greets guests in a suit and tie like in the olden days. The dance floor on the ground level is ringed with tables for enjoying a drink or a meal, while upstairs is a beautifully crumbling baroque Mirror Room, which hosts occasional balls, concerts, and dinner events. The building that used to stand in front was bombed out in WWII, making way for the beer garden that now sprawls before the Ballhaus entrance.
Dancing is the order here, whatever the night of the week. There’s salsa on Mondays and tango on Tuesdays, followed by swing and cha-cha Wednesdays and Thursdays. On weekends, it’s time for Schwoof, a lively mix of everything from classic German hits to mambo to Elvis. If your footwork is a little rusty, not to worry – the Ballhaus offers a variety of dance lessons most nights, too. Whatever your style or skill level, though, better bring your stamina if you want to keep up with the gray-haired regulars tearing up the dance floor.
“Signs of the Ballhaus’s historic heritage are everywhere.”
Auguststr. 24. T: 030 28385588. www.ballhaus.de