Berlin nightlife is famed around the world for its experimental and eccentric clubs and nights. Year after year tourists visit the city just to experience the nightlife and on Saturday nights the queue’s outside of Berghain can reach up to seven hours. Of course there are a lot of policies in Berlin nightclubs that often confuse tourists and non regulars, and one of these is the that upon entry, particularly if you’re going into Berghain or KitKatClub the camera on the front of your phone is covered with a piece of black tape.
Here in London, it is almost impossible to go on a night out without seeing groups taking constant selfies next to the bar, or filming the DJs mixing tracks however in Berlin even attempting to do this in certain nightclubs will get you instantly thrown out the door. Of course you are allowed to use your phone for texting or playing games if you somehow manage to get bored enough to do so however photographs are strictly banned.
Of course this helps create the level of mystique that draws many to these clubs, particularly Berghain. The fact that no one except those who enter actually knows what the club looks like, or indeed what happens inside is part of what makes the club so legendary, and certainly aids the club’s popularity.
However there is another reason why one cannot take photos inside many Berlin clubs that comes from the cultural history of what many of these clubs represent, and is in fact a huge part of what makes Berlin nightlife so iconic. Many of these clubs operate as safe spaces for members of the LGBQTI community and others, and are places for people to come and enjoy themselves without fear of judgement or prejudice. Because of this it is unsurprising that many people don’t necessarily want photos taken of them. One of the reasons why Berghain particularly is famed for being hard to get into is because they do not want random people coming in who don’t understand the culture and ruin the atmosphere for those who simply want to have a nice time without feeling judged.
Of course in the UK where nightclubs are often just a place to get drunk the idea of having a club that operates so strongly as a safe space to many is a new concept. However it is part of what makes the atmosphere so incredible. The fact that no one can take any photos allows people to live in the moment, not to worry about what might be posted on social media the next day, and to just have a good night and is a policy that I think should be adopted not only in the UK as well but around the world.