ENTERTAINMENT & NIGHTLIFE IN GERMANY
Berlin's nightspots are open to the early hours of the morning, but if you stay out after 12:45 pm, Monday-Thursday or Sunday, you'll have to find a night bus line or the last S-bahn to get you home. On Friday and Saturday, most subway lines run every 15 to 20 minutes throughout the night. Clubs often switch the music they play nightly, so their crowds and popularity can vary widely. Though club nights are driven by the DJ name, the music genres are written in English in listing magazines.
The happening places in western Berlin are around Savignyplatz in Charlottenburg, Nollendorfplatz and Winterfeldplatz in Schöneberg, Ludwigkirchplatz in Wilmersdorf, and along Oranienstrasse and Wienerstrasse in Kreuzberg, as well as Lützowplatz in Tiergarten. In Mitte most of the action radiates off Rosenthaler Platz and the Hackesche Höfe. Kastanienallee and Helmholzplatz are the hubs in Prenzlauer Berg.
Clubs and bars in downtown western Berlin tend to be dressier and more conservative; the scene in Kreuzberg, Prenzlauer Berg, Mitte, and Friedrichshain is laid-back, alternative, grungy, and only occasionally stylish. For the latest information on Berlin's bustling house, electro, and hip-hop club scene, pick up (030), a free weekly.
Berlin is unmistakably Germany's gay capital, and many Europeans come to partake in the diverse scene, which is concentrated in Schöneberg (around Nollendorfplatz) and Kreuzberg. Check out the magazines Siegessäule, (030), and Sergej (free and available at the places listed below as well as at many other locations around town).
Frankfurt at night is a city of stark contrasts. Old hippies and sharply dressed bankers, Turkish and Greek guest workers, people on pensions, chess players, exhibitionists and loners all have their piece of the action. People from the banking world seek different amusements than the city's 38,000 students, but their paths cross in such places as the cider taverns in Sachsenhausen and the gay bars of the Nordend.
Sachsenhausen (Frankfurt's "Left Bank") is a good place to start for bars, clubs and Apfelwein taverns. The ever-more-fashionable Nordend has an almost equal number of bars and clubs but fewer tourists.
A major trend in the night spots is the "After Work" or "After Hours" happy hour with half-price drinks, lasting usually from, 5 pm/6 pm to 9pm/10 pm, one weekday per week. You can go to Jimmy's every weeknight, EuroDeli on Tuesday, the Studio Bar on Wednesday and King Kamehameha on Thursday.
Frankfurt is also one of Europe's leading cities for techno, the computer-generated music of ultrafast beats that's the anthem of German youth culture. Please note that most dance and nightclubs charge entrance fees ranging from EUR 5 to EUR 20. In addition, some trendy nightclubs, such as the Living and King Kamehameha, enforce dress codes – usually no jeans, tennis shoes, or khaki pants admitted. Most bars close between 2 am and 4 am.
Munich's nocturnal attractions vary with the seasons. The year starts with the abandon of Fasching, the Bavarian carnival time, which begins quietly in mid-November with the crowning of the King and Queen of Fools, expands with fancy-dress balls, and ends with a great street party on Fasching Dienstag (Shrove Tuesday), which can take place between early February and late March. Men should forget wearing neckties on Fasching Dienstag: women posing as witches make a point of cutting them off. From spring until late fall the beer garden dictates the style and pace of Munich's nightlife. When it rains, the indoor beer halls and taverns absorb the thirsty like blotting paper.
The beer gardens and most beer halls close at midnight, but there's no need to go home: some bars and nightclubs are open until 6 am. A word of caution about bars: most are run honestly, but a few may intentionally overcharge, especially the seedier ones near the main train station. Stick to beer or wine if you can, and pay as you go.
Clubs, discos and the like can be a bit of a problem in Munich: the bouncers outside are primarily there to add to the often specious exclusivity of the inside. Bouncers are usually rude, crude and somewhat thick and as such have achieved dubious notoriety throughout Germany. They are in charge of picking who is "in" and who is "out," and there's no use trying to warm up to them.