From bunkers and air raid shelters to twisting passageways and tunnels, Berlin’s underworld goes way beyond its U-Bahn system.

Much of the German capital’s subterranean architecture is result of its tumultuous history during the last 100 years. More recently, its labyrinthine underground has been commandeered as hidden bars, live music spots and even a vintage bowling alley…

Here are 7 of Berlin’s best underground haunts.

Bar Tausend

Berlin underground venue Bar Trausend
Courtesy of Bar Tausend

Tucked under train tracks in the Mitte district, Bar Tausend is a restaurant, bar and live music venue all in one. Mirror panels lining the curved ceiling combined with the large eye-catching light fixture creates a glowing ambiance that’s perfect for its sumptuous cocktails and contemporary fusion dishes from Lima and Berlin.


Tresor Tunnel
Photography: Tiny Traveller

Tresor became a techno institution in Berlin when it first opened in the early 1990s. Fastforward to 2007 and the nightclub reopened in Kraftwerk Berlin, an abandoned power plant spanning 22,000 m2. The club is set in a maze of concrete passages that lead into basement vaults reached via an eerie 30 m long tunnel.

Madame Claude

Berlin underground bars Madame Claude

Entering Madame Claude is a disorienting experience… Styled like a modest, rather retro-looking apartment, the interiors of the cosy Kreuzberg bar and live music venue are literally upside down, with tables and chairs hanging off the ceiling. The bar opened in 2008, taking over a former brothel.


Quasimodo interior
Courtesy of Quasimodo

Since its opening in West Berlin in 1975, legendary underground concert venue Quasimodo has been hosting jazz, blues, soul and funk performers of all stripes. But it was Prince’s hour-long secret concert in 1987 that really thrust the basement jazz club into the spotlight. Above ground is its sister venue, restaurant Modo.

Tante Lisbeth

Courtesy of Tante Lisbeth
Courtesy of Tante Lisbeth

Walk down the stairs of Tante Lisbeth and you’ll find a vintage nine-pin kegelbahn or bowling alley, complete with classic wood panelled walls and dim neon lighting. The gem pays homage to an era when bowling alleys were commonly found in the basement of pubs across Germany.

Cosmic Kaspar

Courtesy of Cosmic Kaspar
Courtesy of Cosmic Kaspar

Located under popular Mitte after-work hotspot Mein Haus am See, Cosmic Kaspar is an event and concert venue that resembles a psychedelic steampunk spaceship. The celestial venue is even decked out with a rotating stage for dancing.

John Muir

John Muir Bar Berlin
Courtesy of John Muir

Named after the influential Scottish-American naturalist and author, John Muir is a subterranean cocktail and craft beer joint located in the heart of Kreuzberg. With open brick walls, chalkboard menus and a rugged aesthetic, John Muir brings some Brooklyn design flavour to Berlin.

Read next: 9 Berlin restaurants in extraordinary spaces



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