Having just returned from a night of very gentle on the ankle type excess, I feel compelled to write about it before it fades because other than the stamp on my wrist, I have no proof that I was even there. The only thing they require you to check at the door is your camera. And they are strict about it. They ransack bags and pockets and specify that you are not to use your cellphone to take pictures either. There are no cameras, there are no mirrors anywhere.
This is the Panorama club in Berlin and I was lucky enough to be guestlisted to go with Peter and Felix, aka the dirt crew, aka James Flavor and Break 3000, aka supersweet dudes. They are truly ubersuper. We had a lovely dinner at a trattoria not too far and then headed to the club. Upon walking in, you are searched, like I mentioned. Your camera goes into check. You exit into a grand entry hall, all white and arty and benches. Then on past likely the biggest coat check I’ve ever seen to the right. And then into a larger room, this one dark with a bar to the immediate left, inimate couches beyond and further off into the darkness, the dark places I dared not visit, for fear of interrupting the most intimate of encounters. To the right, a giant metal staircase, at least wide enough for 5 people to walk shoulder to shoulder which went up 4 short levels to a wide open dance floor. This area of the club seemed to be predominantly gay throughout the night, though the entire club is probably 80% gay and 20 % open to whatever. But here, it was large, open, flashy flashy flashy lights and hard hard techno all night. To the right of this open space with it’s concrete beams going far off into the darkness of the ceiling, (far, far off, maybe 40 feet above us) was a glassed in room, which ran the length of the dancefloor and had a bar that did the same. Here there were more couches, and large platforms hanging from insanely large chains that probably 10-20 people could sit on and swing gently back and forth. Just inbetween the 2 platforms were a set of stairs that climbed up to overlook the bar. At the top? An ice cream parlor. Yeah. They also have fruit smoothies, much to my delight. And so there I am, sippin on a mango smoothie, standing in front of a glass wall that looks down over the bar below, which has it’s own large glass wall overlooking the dance floor. Which is pulsing with music and flashing light.
Ok, so now I wander back down the stairs and continue past the other platform towards the back of the building. From here there is a caged in catwalk that runs the width of the dancefloor and takes me to the other side of the room. A great way to go because trying to navigate through the dancefloor can be trying at times, not to mention slippery what with all the sweaty muscley gay men bumpin, grindin, poppin and lockin like there’s no tomorrow. Which at this club, doesn’t happen until sometime sunday night. Serious. They open at midnight on saturday. They run until midnight sunday. Hooray for shuttered windows. Except, after sunrise, every hour the shutters ill fly open and everyone screams like they’re all vampires. As I write this, one of the dj’s I met, Phillipe is 1 1/2 hours into his 4 hour 8 am-noon set. Apparently noon to 4 is when it’s really hopping. I can’t possibly imagine that because the amount of people the by 4 am was insane. I was sad to leave before Phillipi played, but about halfway through the night, little miss clean living poked her head out and gave miss sore little monkey hell for being on her swollen ankle, regardless of whether it hurts or not. That’s the thing, the pain goes, but the swelling and injury is still there and do I really need to dance more than 7 hours at a time?
At any rate, we are now on the far side of the hard techno dance floor. If we have followed the catwalk at the back of the room, we can go left into the smoking area, where there are no window shutters, so be prepared if you go there after 5 am. Take sunglasses. Nice view of the train tracks, giant buildings, blue sky. And absolutely wasterd peeps of every variation. There are stairs here, but instead, wander back into the main room and head back towards the dance floor. To your left is another bar. Directly ahead, you will see another set of stairs that go up. If you follow them you will be in yet another hallways lined with couches. To the left are the toilettes, and the way to the upper level of the smoking room and a set of stairs that leads to a small open room with places to sit and a balcony that overlooks the dancefloor of the panorama bar. To the right is the actual panorama bar.
Long tall windows, even here the ceiling goes further still. There are staircases to levels above, but as far as I could tell they are blocked off. I was fortunate enough that the Dirt Crew started the show at mindnight, when the first people were just being let in. And since it was the second dancefloor, many people never got past the first, second or third bars, and first dancefloor just yet. And so what does this mean for our happy hulaloopy hero? It means, shoes off, hulahoop assembled and a dancefloor all to herself to hula as much as she should like. Which I did, and blissfully so. It was the highlight of my time here in Berlin, not because I was in this fancy club in Berlin on a saturday I would likely never get into if not with Peter and Felix, but because for just a moment, I could close my eyes and pretend I was on the beach at soundwave. Music playing, ocean in the background, moon overhead, friends and family all around. Didn’t see that coming. The highlight of Berlin would be the thing that reminds me of Soundwave. Makes sense though.
Ok, so it’s a few more than a thousand words. But you get the picture.