Recommended Milongas in Berlin, as of February 2020
Berlin is one of the biggest Tango cities in Europe (It’s kind of a sport in Europe to discuss what city is the biggest after Buenos Aires. Paris, Moscow, Istanbul and Berlin each suppose they are the biggest… I 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 around 6-7€. 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!
Milonga Popular – 21:00-? (with a practica before) – mostly classical – Freudenzimmer, Mehringdamm 61, Backyard, Kreuzberg – Few places had such a 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 quite 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. Commonly, they play the Cortinas to the end of the song and people will dance to them. If you look for more information 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 cozy and the last time I been there it was not very crowded. But if you want some space to dance, enjoy the free soft drinks and a generally nice atmosphere, it’s exactly the right place for you. Very good floor and changing DJs.
Berlinos Aires – 20:00-01:00 – classical – CURRENTLY ON HIATUS (Until March 2020 – Berlinos Aires is a classical milonga, that changed places a few times. They are currently on hiatus until March 2020. Check their Facebook group for current information.
Oblomov – 21:30-01:00 – Classical – Lenaustraße 7, Neukölln – Located in one of the hippest areas of Berlin the milonga at Oblomov takes places in the backroom of a bar. It’s a small place with a nice and cozy atmosphere. The downside is, that it can get very crowded and the inexperienced dancers can
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 DJs/Hosts Monica and Frank. They 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 the Trasnochando Tango Festival. They switch between two rooms in the same place but be advised, at both places the floor is wooden but very slippery. 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 on Wednesday night has been closed down. It was one of the oldest regular milongas we had in town and sadly had to take place when the management of the Volksbühne changed. Every few weeks/months there still is a milonga at the places. For current information 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 on 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).
Nou Mitte – 21:45-04:00 – classical – Chausseestr. 102, Mitte – Friday night is the classical night at Nou. The DJs are a changing cast of locals with some guests from outside in between. It used to be one of the in-places, but recently that has tuned down a bit. But still don’t wonder if you think at 11 p.m. that you caught a boring night, and suddenly between 12 and 1 a.m., the 2nd shift is arriving and stays till the end. 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 gets 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 regularly, even the most conservative ones. Especially 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 on Friday nights and then the Saturday milonga of Michael Rühl moved from Ballhaus Rixdorf to its 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 on 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 on 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 a selection of yummy cakes. 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! The venue has one of the best wooden floors in town, a decent sound system, and ventilation.
Tangoloft – 15:00-04:00 – alternative – Gerichtstr. 23, 2. yard, entrance 2, Wedding – Basically everything from Saturday fits on 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.