Berghain

I Got Knocked Back From Berghain Last Sunday and I’m Totally Blaming Brexit

We sent our most intrepid reporter down to the famed techno fortress to see what the chances of a Brit abroad getting in were in a post-Brexit world.
19 July 2016, 9:00am

It's no secret that it's a bitch to get into Berghain. But less than a month after the UK's historic vote to leave the EU there is growing anecdotal evidence that Brit's are finding it 'even harder than ever' to gain access to Berlin's famed techno fortress. Some believe that the problem will only get worse once Theresa May's new government triggers Article 50, starting the two-year countdown to leaving the bloc for good. I guess this is just another one of those minor details that Boris and Farage didn't think through before they gee-d up half the population up to quit, like how we're going to operate outside the single market, and what exactly we're planning to sell to all those new trading partners. Still, I doubt the Blonde Brexiter goes clubbing much these days, and the thought of a shirtless Farage necking a pill and getting all huggy on the dancefloor is way too scary to contemplate.

A satirical online article in the run-up to the referendum playfully 'quoted' facially-adorned head doorman Sven Marquardt as saying that if Brit's voted out, they would be 99% less likely to get in. Now, in the wake of the shock Leave majority, life is imitating art with concerned clubbers taking to social media to express their concerns. One, posting under the name Economist, expressed the fears of many:

"I already have to choose my clothes carefully and warn my mates to not speak English in the queue, but worried it could get even worse post EU membership?"

Hearing anecdotal reports of a good many Brits getting the 'sorry, not tonight' treatment outside the Teutonic bender-coliseum over the last couple of weekends, I travelled to Berlin with my girlfriend Sophia to find out if the rumours were true.

Now, in theory I should be pretty well-placed to get into Berghain. For a start, I've been let in several times before with no problems. While not German or a Berlin citizen I spend a lot of time in the city and am fully-versed in the club's music policy. I've even written about Berlin nightlife before for Thump. I also own a lot of black clothes and look pretty miserable most of the time. But as anyone who's ever tried to penetrate Sven's dark chasm before knows, the past doesn't matter—it's only tonight that counts.

To maximise our chances of getting in we took some of the key pieces of Berghain advice that tend to get passed around the internet, namely we wore black, went on Sunday night rather than Saturday and tried not to talk too much in the queue. The only problem with the latter is that hanging around in silence waiting for a bunch of dudes to judge you can get pretty boring. And also this was meant to be an experiment, right?

Just before the door things were looking pretty good—the queue hadn't been long at all and the bouncers looked chilled and cheery. In front of us a couple of guys got turned away. No problem though. One was wearing board shorts and they weren't even black. They looked like out-of-towners, and certainly not urban sophisticates with a taste for Ben Klock like us.

We remained nonchalant, casual even, Didn't try to hard with the eye contact. Just kind of hung there, styling it out like we naturally assumed we'd get in. "I'm sorry, you didn't get in," said a doorman amicably. And with that we were propelled into the walk of shame out of there. 'Was it to do with Brexit?' I asked as I passed. The granite-riven man remained taciturn.

Now to be fair, I can't be so certain that Brexit was to blame for this ignominy that I can send Boris the bill for my easyJet flights in good conscience. But let's face it, even though Berghain has always denied a preference for German clubbers, it's pretty-much agreed that as a Brit you're much more likely to get in if you're mates with a local who can do the talking for you. Now that 52% of our country has taken what many in Germany consider a great stinking dump on the mutter-land, access to the club is hardly likely to have improved.

For the purposes of this article I tweeted Boris and Farage —as prominent Leavers, presumably they would have some words of comfort for me. At the time of publication those Tweets remain unanswered. I also tweeted Angela Merkel for her assurances, but I think it was a fake account. John-Claude Junker was also unavailable for comment.

We are entering into a new, uncharted era where entrance to Berghain for a younger generation of UK partygoers may be under threat. For the sake of continued good clubbing vibes across Europe we need answers from our leaders—and fast.

John Lucas is on Twitter

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