Berlin is one of the biggest Tango citys in Europe (It’s kind of a sport in Europ to discuss what city is the biggest after Buenos Aires. Paris, Moscow, Istanbul and Berlin each suppose they are the biggest … I personally don’t care.). Because it is so big, we have a lot of Milongas to choose from. Sometimes it’s hard to catch the right one for your taste, so here are some personal impressions. I’ll try to keep it up to date.
Berlin Tango dancers are very price sensitive and the normal entrance fee is in between 5 and 6 €. If there is something special going on, prices can be higher. But often you can listen to live music for as little as 10€!
I’ll write only about Milongas I’ve been dancing at. So please be advised: This post is strictly subjective, and your mileage may differ!
If you come here, make sure to grab a Berlin Tango Guide at the first milonga you visit. It’s an awesome map of all Berlin milonga locations (and some other useful infos for Tango dancers.
Milonga Popular – 21:00-? (with a practica before) – mostly classical – Freudenzimmer, Mehringdamm 61, Backyard, Kreuzberg – Few places had such an huge impact on the Berlin Tango scene as Milonga Popular. Organized by the Tango Kollektiv it is probably the milonga with the youngest crowd in Berlin. The atmosphere is very vibrant and it feels like half of the crowd is new every time, so don’t expect the highest dancing level on average (and be prepared to be bumped into a bit). But there are normally a few good dancers hidden in the crowd. After 1 a.m. it slowly transitions into a full fledged party, with some Tangos mixed in later on, too. Watch out, the floor is sometimes very sticky, as it’s a normal club on the weekends. The music is normally classical tangos, with more modern orchestras mixed in, and a general bias for dramatic songs, but it depends heavily on the DJ playing that night. Also it’s common that they play the cortinas to the end of the song and people will dance to them. If you look for more infos on Tango Kollektiv, visit their Facebook Group. It’s kind of a secret society.
La Berlinesa – 21:30-01:00 – classical – Berliner Str. 46, Backyard,Wilmersdorf – La Berlinesa feels like dancing in a living room. It’s very cosy and the last times I been there it was not very crowded. But if you want some space to dance, enjoy the free soft drinks and general nice atmosphere, it’s exactly the right place for you. Very good floor and changing DJs.
Nou Tango Lounge – 21:45-01:30 – alternative – Nou Mitte Berlin, Chausseestr. 102, Mitte – Monday night is the alternative night at Nou. Music is mixed 50/50 classical vs. non, nuevo, electro, with alternating DJs. Normally not very crowded, so there is space to try out all your big moves. The floor, the sound system and the ventilation have recently been updated, so it’s all top notch.
Clärchens Ballhaus (Spiegelsaal) – 21:00-01:00 – mostly classical – Auguststr. 24, Mitte – It’s one of the traditional milonga places (and social dancing places in general) in Berlin. They have dancing every night and Tuesday is the Tango night. They recently changed locations to the upstairs Spiegelsaal. It’s one of the most beautiful ballrooms we have in town. Sadly since the change you got to pay entrance, but that doesn’t means that the crowd got less wild. So be prepared to be in for a ride. You should also check their Facebook group upfront, if the milonga is taking place.
Oblomov – 21:30-01:00 – Classical – Lenaustraße 7, Neukölln – Located in one of the hippest areas of Berlin at the moment the milonga at Oblomov takes places in the backroom of a bar. It’s a small place with a nice and cozy atmosphere. Specially when Clärchens Ballhaus is not happening it tends to get very crowded.
El Ocaso – 20:00-01:00 – classical – Frannz Club, Schönhauser Allee 36, Prenzlauer Berg – One of the more conservative milongas of Berlin, run by the three DJs/Hosts Monica, Frank and James. They really care about the social etiquette on the dance floor (which works better than in most places in Berlin, but it can be stressful as well). It’s the same organizer crew as Nochero Soy at the last Saturday of the month. They switch between two rooms in the same place, but be advised, at both places the floor is wooden but very slipery. On the plus side there is air conditioning and a decent sound system in both rooms. In summer they move to the garden, to dance open air.
Roter Salon – The regular milonga at Roter Salon at Wednesday night has been closed down. It was one of the oldest regular milongas we had in town and sadly had to make place when the management of the Volksbühne changed. There is supposed to be a revival of the place, but we will have to see, if that will be a regular thing. Check their Facebook group here.
Mala Junta – 21:00-01:00 – Kolonnenstr. 29, 3. yard, 4. floor, Schöneberg – While the Sunday milonga at Mala Junta (Café Dominguez) is organized by an external team, this one is the school milonga of Mala Junta. It’s the first place their students go to experience a milonga, so expect a mixed level crowd. But on the other hand it’s normally not overly crowded and you get space to dance. The DJs change and once a month they have a special edition called “La Milonga que faltaba” with a special music/performance program. The floor at Mala Junta is excellent and they updated their sound system and ventilation last year. While it still can be hot, it’s not as humid as it used to be, so it’s a nice place to dance.
Loca – irregular but normally at the last Thursday of the month – 20:30-02:30 – classical – Tangoloft, Gerichtstr. 23, 2. yard, entrance 2, Wedding – Once a month the Loca crew invites people to dance at the beautiful Tangoloft. People say that it’s one of the prettiest milonga places in the world and although I haven’t seen all of them, I tend to agree. While the crowd can be a bit wild at the weekend, at Loca it’s normally not so busy and you can dance the whole night long. The floor is a bit slippery (something a lot of Berlin milongas have in common, but followers mostly enjoy it).
El Alemán – 21:30-0:30 – classical – Tangotanzen macht schön, Oranienstraße 185, Kreuzberg – It’s more an informal milonga/practica, organized by Alejandro Hermida. The music is strictly classical and it’s very important for Alejandro, that people are respectful on the dancefloor. That’s also the topic of the practica up front, that happens from 20:00-21:15. Not very crowded, but the perfect place if you want to dance a bit or practice with your partner.
Tangotanzenmachtschön “Der schöne Freitag” – 21:30-around 3 – mostly classical – Oranienstr. 185, Kreuzberg – A nice place in the middle of one of the busiest parts of Kreuzberg. You got tons of places to eat and drink all around and the streets are busy all night long. They tend to do an exchange tanda, where they change partners after every song, and play at least one alternative tanda a night. The floor is quite slippery and the floorcraft is a bit bumpy at peak hours. Watch out a bit near the next subway station, Kottbusser Tor: while it got more hipsterish in the last years, pickpockets and other activities are on the rise again.
Nou Mitte – 21:45-04:00 – classical – Chausseestr. 102, Mitte – Friday night is the classical night at Nou. As mentioned above they updated their floor, the sound system and the ventilation recently. The DJs are a changing cast of local ones, with some guests from outside. It’s still one of the in-places, and a lot of the Berlin Tango Mafia tends to show up late. Don’t wonder if you think at 11 p.m. that you catched a boring night, and suddenly between 12 and 1 a.m. the 2nd shift is arriving and stays till the end. They also serve great cocktails, mixed by the Nr. 1 Tango Bartender in Berlin: Tobi. But be aware, guests sometimes have a hard time to get into the crowd, especially when they are there for the first time. I think it get’s a bit easier later on, when the room is less crowded.
Pippo’s Tango – varies – classical – varies – Pippo’s Tango takes place in different locations scattered over the city. Check out the group here for exact locations and times. Normally it starts in the afternoon or early evening and goes till 21:00 or 22:00h. The DJs change, but play classical Tangos.
Tangoloft – 21:00-04:00 – alternative – Gerichtstr. 23, 2. yard, entrance 2, Wedding – At weekends, Tangoloft is one of the biggest alternative Tango places in Europe. People basically travel to Berlin to go there and it’s worth it! If you like to dance to non-tango music (movie scores, chanson or whatever one of the hosts Mona & Henning dug up) then this is your place to be. Nearly everyone in the Berlin Tango scene had a phase where they went to Loft regulary, even the most conservative ones. Specially if you don’t know many people in town or are a beginner, it’s a good place to dance. The atmosphere is more open and friendly than in a lot of other places in Berlin, where people are a bit cautious about whom to dance with.
Tangonacht im Walzerlinksgestrickt – 21:30-around 04:00 – classical – Walzerlinksgestrickt, Am Tempelhofer Berg 7 d, Kreuzberg – A place with a long history of Tango. There used to be a regular milonga at Friday nights and then the Saturday milonga of Michael Rühl moved from Ballhaus Rixdorf to it’s new place here. You should check at Facebook before you go, because sometimes they have to make space for other events. The place is a huge ballroom, but a bit hard to cabeceo at times and the entrance to the dance hall can be very crowded because people don’t really know where to place themself. The sound system is good, but the floor can be slippy, as it is a Ballroom dance school at normal days.
Café Dominguez – 15:00-21:00 – classical – Mala Junta, Kolonnenstr. 29, 3. yard, 4. floor, Schöneberg – If you want to dance to classical music in Berlin at Sunday afternoon, this is the place to go. 5 DJs take turns to entertain you with the best from the golden age. Also there is always nice cake. It tends to get crowded after 5, so if you want to have some space, come early (with the added benefit of cheaper entrance before 16:00). The organizers try their best to have a good floor craft at the place and it mostly works well. Mala Junta itself is made for day milongas, with huge windows at both sides of the room! Also the place has one of the best wooden floors in town, a decent sound system and a ventilation.
Tangoloft – 15:00-04:00 – alternative – Gerichtstr. 23, 2. yard, entrance 2, Wedding – Basically everything from Saturday fits at Sundays too, with the addition that they open up earlier and serve great cakes and food. So if you want to hang out and dance a whole afternoon and night, this is the place for you.
Max & Moritz – 21:00-01:30 – classical – Oranienstr. 162, Kreuzberg – The milonga at Max & Moritz recently celebrated it’s 15th birthday, so they have been around for a while. They have a core DJ team and some guests now and then. The milonga is in the back room of a nice German restaurant (although you will have to wait a while for your food, as it is quite busy most of the time) so you can combine dinner and dancing. Even though the place closes quite early, it’s not unusual for a bunch of people to arrive at 12, but in general it’s hard to predict, how crowded it will be.