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Hip bars and clubs to drink, dance and live the city nightlife.
If you think Hamburg is probably boring and sleepy after 10 p.m., you’re wrong. From hip-hop disco to club for grown-ups, the nightlife scene is livelier than you could imagine.
If you are looking for an inspiring and extravagant watering hole: The Mad Hatter is just that. It is located in one of the (formerly) rather sinister corners of St. Pauli. But, oh, by entering this fine bar you will know that is a place of unlimited entertainment. The crowd is well-dressed, pleasant and communicative. There is a small stage on which sometimes small adventures play out. There is great bar food and there is bartender who is at the top of his game. Most of the times they have a DJ and the music induces the atmosphere of “anything goes”.
This bar used to be typical St. Pauli bar for 30+ years, called “Na und?” Bar. There are a number of people who think these rooms ought to be a museum. But instead, there is a new bar with a whole different culture. Instead of two types of beer and bottles upon bottles of schnapps, The Walrus serves its much younger crowd high-end cocktails. The room is now dominated by a huge bar counter and features a small DJ corner. It has become a modern bar with actual barkeepers who know what they are doing. A stiff Martini? No problem. A traditional Negroni? They even get the ice right. “You want to try something new?” “Of course, you don’t have to twist my arm!” The bartender lit up some thyme, burned sugar on a pear and poured pear brandy in my gin & tonic. Like everybody else in the world, they also offer craft beers on tap. But these guys themselves are crafty. And they experiment with all sorts of flavours and a variety of local liqueurs and ingredients. The atmosphere is buzzy but nice – the perfect spot post dinner. At it is located right on the strip (Wohlwillstrasse) between St. Pauli and the Schanze. A promising start to the night.
Okay, don’t be mistaken: this is not a big club. It is a micro club. Kleiner Donner is in the basement of the Haus 73, right next to the Rote Flora and the Ganja strip, in the epi-centre of the Schanze. You walk down the stairs and you have half a foot on the dancing floor. A lot of wood on the walls, a well-illuminated (and well-maintained) bar and a DJ booth. That’s it. That is your club. Micro. But if you like hip-hop, dancehall or similar beats and you like to let loose and show off some moves, this is the place. The atmosphere is intense and the mood is friendly. You cannot NOT dance in this spot. The beats – the “small thunders” (Kleiner Donner) – take over and you are lost along with the others on the dancefloor (or shall we say, stage?). Oh, you lost your friends somewhere during the night? Come here and meet new ones! This scene pretty much sums up the atmosphere. If there is no gig, they usually open their doors at midnight (Fri. & Sat.). Check their events page for artists and special opening times.
The PAL is a regular night club with up to three music floors, covering electronic and house music as well as Hip Hop. The atmosphere is intense but very joyful. These people just want to dance the night through. The music selection and ever-changing DJs (often international calibre) make it easy to let go. If you don’t care for cheap thrills or an exceptional bar, but just want to move around, it’s an ideal spot to do just that until dawn. And then it is a special feature that you will leave the club and recognize that you are under the huge and immaculate television tower – what a sight!
The Golem is a place for conscious entertainment and serious drinking. And it is somewhat of a nightclub, really. A fine location near the waterline, it offers a bar, a library, a hidden dancefloor and a movie theatre. The bartenders are like alchemists, retrieving old drink recipes every week. Sure, you can order a beer or a Moscow Mule, but you might also get a little glare with that order. Challenge the bar! These might be the best drinks you will have in Hamburg. During the week, they have countercultural readings or screenings, jazz sessions or small concerts in the bar. On weekends though, this place turns into something different. There are usually DJs playing and you suddenly realize that this bar has a dancefloor. Additionally, they will open the secret door (hidden between the bookshelves) to the basement, called the Krypta. There, guests find yet another dancefloor – with different DJs, playing tunes to make you want to let loose. This bar is really a club! The best time to arrive is between 11 p.m. and midnight.