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Berlin

23h30

It’s time to shine the high beams on Berlin’s music scene, the German capital’s beating heart. The city has been the birthplace of countercultures since the fall of the wall and saw the emergence of a new clubbing movement in the early 90s: electronic music, an electric, magnetic, fantastic new way of expressing oneself freely through dance that redefined what it meant to party.

23h30

After passing along the walls of the East Side Gallery, a shrine to street art etched into the city’s history, the Alpine 110 Première Edition cruises through the narrow cobblestone streets of RAW-Gelände, a former industrial area in the eastern Friedrichshain neighbourhood that has become a hotspot for alternative culture. Joel Boychuk, better known as DJ Hobo, has arranged for us to meet here. Raised on the synthesizer beats of Techno pioneers Kraftwerk and Jeff Mills, and the sounds of Detroit, the artist brought his own, more melodic sound to Berlin eleven years ago and was left spellbound by the city. In between night-time photoautomat sessions and trips to mini-clubs at all hours of the night to get his disco fix, Boychuk began to play sets for Berliner audiences.

“There is a constant creative flow, between the production studios, skate park, open-air cinema and pool (in the Haubentaucher building, a former bunker), clubs like Suicide Circus and Cassiopiea, bars and restaurants open all night long,” he explains. “RAW-Gelände is like no place other, much like Berlin itself. It’s a place where worlds and free spirited people from all over come together.” While Berghain, the monolithic club nearby, is still recognised as the city’s nightlife temple, a ride through the area after dark reveals other venues.

We hit the road in the Alpine A110 Première Edition and stop by the Chalet Club, an industrial villa in Kreuzberg with blazing neon lights and bumping house, electro and techno, then head to Kosmonaut, typical of East Berlin, where all are welcome.

The sports coupé marches to the beat of its own drum as it glides through the scenery, reflecting its blue silhouette onto the Spree. At the end of the Oberbaumbrücke, a neo-Gothic brick bridge connecting Friedrichschain with Kreuzberg

– two districts once separated by the wall – lies Watergate, where the artist played his first gig in the city. The visually stunning club is “the symbol of unified Berlin,” says Hobo, “where the joy of being yourself takes people’s spirits to new heights.”

02h35

02h35

Berlin is a city of contrasts, where the industrial meets the monumental. There are postcard-perfect views as we approach the historic Reichstag, the reflection of its huge dome glimmering on the water. A more intimate setting emerges as the sun rises and we take one last drive around Museum Island in the Mitte district, offering an opportune moment to take in our surroundings. This is the playground of Instagrammer #berlinstagram, who roams the city in search of eye-catching architecture and design – works such as Galerie Bastian on the banks of the Spree, which was designed by architect David Chipperield, and the extraordinary Futurium, a building with a glass envelope that heralds the future of Berlin.