Between COVID-19 and the looming Clubsterben, Berlin nightlife faces its fair share of challenges. The loosening of one pandemic restriction might offer establishments a glimmer of hope, however. As restaurants have been cleared to resume business under strict guidelines, nightclub Sisyphos has adjusted their format to reopen in a limited capacity with ://about blank following closely behind.
As of Friday, Berlin cafes and restaurants can operate from 6:00 AM-10:00 PM as long as they serve food prepared in house. Sisyphos’ management have taken advantage of the development by replacing dancing with culinary offerings at “Sittingphos Ent-aurant,” as they call it. “Get cozy at one of our new tables and enjoy hygiene instructions and table service,” reads their Facebook post. “Without dancing, but with music, food, drinks, goodies from the kiosk, and masked Sisy staff waiting your table faster than lightning.”
Plans aren’t as firm at ://about blank. “Containing the pandemic remains our top priority,” Elisabeth Steffen told Berliner Zeitung on behalf of the club. “But of course we notice that there is a longing – with the guests and with us.” She said the owners are weighing out options that would allow them to reopen responsibly.
Exploration of Space
Both Sisyphos and ://about blank carry on a long and celebrated Berlin tradition of repurposing abandoned buildings as creative venues.
Sisyphos opened in 2008 in what used to be a Rummelsburg dog biscuit factory. The open-air club’s tongue-in-cheek branding matches its eccentric decor and surreal atmosphere. Under ordinary circumstances, scheduling is so cryptic that there’s a website whose sole purpose is to tell you whether Sisyphos is open.
On the other hand, since 2010 ://about blank has occupied a former kindergarten in Friedrichshain that has been vacant since the ’90s per Berliner Zeitung. Keeping alive the protest music roots of German techno, its bouncers enforce a selective, Berghain-esque admission policy.
Berlin clubs like YAAM and [ipsə] remain hesitant to reopen amid the COVID-19 pandemic.