Germany is one of the most interesting countries in the world. It’s endured a long, brutal history, and has come out of the other side more free-spirited and progressive than ever. This is certainly something you feel when you’re on a night out in Germany. It’s fun, good-natured, and vibrant. Whether you’re looking for a wild underground club or a traditional Bavarian beer hall, you can find it all across Germany. Here’s where to go for the best nightlife in Germany.
Best Nightlife in Germany
A country’s capital city typically has some of the best nightlife in the country, and Germany is no different. Berlin is one of the best nightlife cities in all of Europe, let alone Germany. It’s diverse, exciting, and surprising. The city has everything from progressive, rebellious spots to traditional Bavarian bars. When the Berlin wall came down, the once-abandoned warehouses were transformed into nightclubs and bars, where freedom and expression are extremely important. These spots usually play techno, and you’ll probably want to research door policy and what to wear.
The nightlife scene in Berlin spans further than techno bunkers, although you will find them in pretty much every nightlife district. There are so many nightlife districts dotted around the city, but here are some of the most popular ones. The Mitte district was the wild area in the ’90s and today has a little bit of everything. Prenzlauer Berg is a trendy nightlife district and home to the oldest beer garden in Berlin. Kreuzberg is another trendy, multi-cultural district, with low-key bars and popular clubs. Wrangelstrasse is right by the River Spree, with many bars, clubs, and pubs lining the waterfront – you’ll find a lot of expats here. And then there’s Friedrichshain, a place of converted warehouses with an industrial feel – the rebellious spirit of the ’90s is still alive here, particularly in the famous Berghain nightclub.
Munich is the largest city in Bavarian Germany, so you can certainly expect lots of traditional beer halls. There are loads of great beer halls, but the Hofbräuhaus is Munich’s oldest, dating all the way back to 1589. Given its historical significance, tourists do flock there, but it’s worth it if you don’t mind that. If you’d rather visit a beer hall that’s still lively, rampant, and steeped in tradition, but without quite so many tourists, head to Beer Garden Augustiner Keller. Expect to see a lot of hairs in plaits and lederhosens, celebrating Bavarian beer culture in all its cliché glory. Don’t let this put you off, though – Bavarians consider this to be the best beer hall in Munich. And of course, Munich is home to the world-famous Oktoberfest, but you can find lively beer halls whenever you visit Munich.
While the beer hall scene is truly alive in Munich, there are several nightlife districts around the city where you can enjoy a drink in a low-key bar, a fancy cocktail on a rooftop terrace, live music venues, or dancing ’til dawn in an underground club. The areas of Altstadt-Lehel, Maxvorstadt, Ludwigsvorstadt-Isarvorstadt, Au-Haidhausen, and Schwabing are some of the most popular, to name a few! On the weekends, the city’s mainstream nightlife scene tends to stick to Feierbanane, which translates to ‘party banana’. The region is an unofficial banana-shaped party zone which is bursting with clubs, bars, restaurants, and pubs.
Cologne is the fourth most populous city in Germany, so the city is bound to have some of the best nightlife in Germany. Like many other German cities, Cologne has a vibrant brewery scene. It’s particularly known for its Kölsch, the famous local beer and its Bräuhausers, which is a cross between a British pub and a German beer hall. FRÜH am Dom is a hugely famous Bräuhaus, one of the most popular in Cologne. It’s a sprawling maze steeped in history that is always super busy, but still manages to serve up excellent food if you get hungry.
The nightlife scene in Cologne is certainly not limited to beer-guzzling spots, there are plenty of nightclubs and stylish cocktail bars to tickle your fancy. Many of them are concentrated around Buttermarkt and Salzgasse, but there are some great districts further out of the city centre too. The Belgisches Viertel is packed with fashionable bars, and the Univiertel (the University Quarter) is always bouncing.
Hamburg is so north that it’s often referred to as Germany’s most Scandinavian city. In comparison to other cities in Germany, which embrace Bavarian architecture and have an overall ‘town’ feel to them, Hamburg has a Big City vibe. It’s one of the best places for nightlife in Germany, with a high concentration of young professionals. The city has catered to this, creating a varied, diverse, and energetic nightlife scene. St. Pauli is the hub of Hamburg’s nightlife scene and it’s here that you can find the famous Reeperbahn. The Reeperbahn is almost a kilometre-long road of bars, pubs, clubs, live music venues, shows, and more. If you want chilled drinks in a bar or pub, head to Hans-Albers-Platz – a square full of outdoor bars and live buskers.
Frankfurt has a reputation for being the financial capital of Germany. So, you might be thinking that it’s all hotel bars and swanky restaurants. But there are tonnes of cool and stylish places to spend the evening, particularly live music venues. Frankfurt bars seem to love live music, especially jazz. Jazz enthusiasts will absolutely love a trip to Frankfurt – it’s so popular that they’ve even nicknamed a district as Jazzgasse, which translates to Jazz Alley. There are some underground, speakeasy bars that have a similar vibe to East Berlin, namely Die Rote and the Kinly Bar. And if your feet are itching for a good old dance, head to Silbergold, Frankfurt’s superclub.
The nightlife in Düsseldorf is vibrant, energetic, and an all-around good time. Most of the city’s nightlife scene is in the Old Town, or the Altstadt. The Altstadt is full to the brim with over 300 bars, pubs, and clubs. It’s earnt the nickname of ‘longest bar in the world’, where you can hop from one to the other with ease. There are plenty of spots where you can try the city’s famous beer, altbier. You’ll find it hits you pretty quickly though – it’s standard for bartenders to replenish your drink without asking.
While the Altstadt is home to countless bouncing altbier spots and clubs, you can also find Latin and jazz clubs on the main area’s side streets. And if you want to head to a fancy club hosting international DJs, head to Königsallee. Another great area is Bilk. It’s particularly popular with young people and students, with a great selection of nightclubs, bars, and late-night cafes.