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A Beginner’s Guide To Berlin’s Night Owls

For those new to Berlin’s famous nightlife, things can be a little daunting: aside from the constant fear your new pals are going to try and get into Berghain without speaking a single word of German, and the maddening sound of minimal techno (you’ll get used to it) there’s all these new people.  People unlike those you’ve met before, from all walks of life, shaken and stirred in the Berlin milieu. Don’t feel lost, we’ve conducted an in depth study of the most common night owls in the city, which you’re welcome to use until you’ve got a more nuanced approach.

The Old Timer

Appearance:  Almost aggressively German. Usually a man, although they also come in female, this is an original Berliner (or Easterner) who has lived in this city longer than you have lived. Formerly bewildered by the sight of all these newcomers, The Old Timer is now mostly resolved to haunting the pubs that you’re trying to gentrify and ordering Bock-wurst and sadly muttering into their beer.

Your opening line: Nothing. Do not approach unless spoken to first, especially in English.

The Evangelical Vegan

Appearance: Equal parts male and female, The Evangelical Vegan is probably a very highly educated German between 25-35 years old. Liable to be wearing hemp clothing, sandals, and may or may not have dreadlocks, these guys are so at one with nature that they don’t have to change their clothes according to the weather. Typically not drinking, these guys will be your best friends when future drunk you needs to find your way home. The downside is you’ll have to help them hand out pro-vegan leaflets every other Sunday all summer.

Your opening line: No, my shoes aren’t leather, and I’m very interested in hearing about your homemade sustainable rucksack.

Fried Startup Underlings

Appearance: These guys only ever appear in packs, and everyone is under 35. Definitely enormously drunk, because they started drinking in the office at 3:30pm and haven’t had any food since lunch, these guys live their jobs and are talking (badly) shop. This is fine for two reasons. The first is you might need a job, and befriending one of these drunk messes is your way in (yep, that 22-year-old hot mess over there is the ‘Head of Culture’ somewhere, Berlin, eh?) and secondly because start-ups are Anglo-friendly so you don’t have to feel like a jerk in English.

Your opening line: What do you do? You won’t have to say anything else, and boom, friends.

The Fashionable drinker

Appearance: You can recognise this type from far, far away. Holding an eco-friendly mixdrink in one hand, their phone for Instagram pictures in the other, this lot are checking their hair and /or beard on the hour, every hour.

They look like they just came from an fashion shoot. Or they look homeless, but never in between. They speak in a language that is too cool for the average Berliner. Most of all, they are interesting to watch. You can find them at private parties, fashion events and in mysterious clubs where they know the door keeper. Keep your eyes open, because they are everywhere in Berlin.

Your opening line: I know where you can get an authentic Old Fashioned.

The Festival Lover

Appearance: This one is probably younger than your average stereotype. Summer is their favorite season. Flowers in their hair, shorts and crazy sunglasses. The Festival Lover saved all their money to go to every festival in the summer. Laying in the grass, with a beer or mix drink in their hand, and will bore you with stories from Melt two years ago. Often keen on things a little stronger than beer, these guys can show you a good time, if you can tolerate them going on and on about DJs and lineups.

Your opening line: Are you going to Fusion this year? I’m so over Burning Man.

The Networker

Appearance: Sales or insurance person, or bizarrely, hyper art type. The Network is a peculiar breed of nightclubber in the city, in both cases The Networker is hoping to scrape together a lead for business, but whether that’s hard cash or gallery space depends on the networker. Talking with everyone, these guys have the chat. Drinks? Tequila shots with everyone! Fun to hang out with, but not for long. Beware, buyers can smell desperation.

Your opening line: Avoid, unless you’re hiring.

By Karmijn Simons and Sarah Coughlan

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