Berlin: The Cultural Codes and Etiquette You Need to Know

BY Max Migowski

Berlin: The Cultural Codes and Etiquette You Need to Know


There are virtually no real rules as to what you can or cannot wear where in Berlin. A coat or something to cover up the more daring or revealing of outfits may come in handy, at least if you prefer not to be stared-down before you reach your destination.

All in all though, from a fashion perspective, there’s not much this city hasn’t seen, so go wild and just trust your common sense and gut as to what attire works for which occasion. I’ll go on a whim and assume these won’t be the first raves or restaurant you’ll have attended in life, and if there is anything or any place in particular you’re wanting to give a shot, you will have read or heard or seen somewhere else by now which aesthetic or colour works best – and that others don’t necessarily fair as well *insert wink*.

That said, let’s talk nightlife, shall we? For many if not most, this is what Berlin is all about. The club scene here is inherent to its cultural impact. As long as you’re into electronic music, you are in for a treat. Most clubs have resident DJs and fixed genres, but partying here is also very event-based, so you’re better off tapping into the nuts and bolts of your itinerary, via Resident Advisor for instance, once you’ve made your trip official and know when you’ll be here and what you’re after. Some general advice would be to make sure you do not draw any negative attention to yourself while queuing by being unnecessarily loud or drunk or the like. Bouncers can be intimidating and even unreasonable, which, in turn, can be irritating, downright unfair, problematic and discriminatory. Still, pick your battles wisely, and inform yourself of the party organisers and/or venue’s reputation to be sure you’re prepped to play their games if you must, won’t have your evening ruined or are putting money into the wrong pockets.

Read up on style and audience too, so you’ll know whether or not you can or want to comply with their requirements before being denied access after an hour plus of standing in line, or finding yourself amongst a crowd or within a setting you’re not actually willing to engage with. Codes of conduct are simple: be respectful, don’t gawk at or touch people without consent, secure your wallet, phone or other valuables, do not(!) take pictures or leave drinks unattended. If it comes down to it – which in many clubs here it could – practice safer sex. None of this should be news anyways, but while Berlin club-attendees are known to be pleasant and obedient to the rules of a safe space, you don’t want to be naive and caught off guard.