NIGHTLIFE

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.

Where Berlin - - Contents -

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

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