Bittersweet Berlin goodbye as Clärchens Ballhaus faces uncertain future

The legendary club and ballroom joins a growing list of iconic city venues under threat due to lease renewal issues

By the time the brass band came out blaring Bella, Ciao, the wooden floor was heaving under the weight of hundreds of revellers. Last Friday night, the rowdiest party in Berlin was at a century-old ballroom in the gentrified Mitte neighbourhood. Unlike at the city’s techno clubs, the guests queuing for Clärchens Ballhaus ran the gamut from grade-schoolers to retirees.

“I’ve been coming here since 1983 and it looked pretty much the same then,” said Matthias Kühne. “There’s always been a mix of young and old, rich and poor on the dancefloor.”

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