As spring is there and the tavel season for Berlin is about to start, it’s time to write a Berlin Milonga Guide for visitors.
This guide is oriented on my personal favourites in Berlin. There are many other milongas to choose from and of course things are changing every once in a while. You’ll find an up to date overview on Hoy Milonga, on Tango Kultur Info or on Facebook (many groups and pages, for example Tango Berlin Social). To get an impression where people go on one particular day, have a look at the Facebook group: Where do you dance tango tonight in Berlin / Wo tanzt Du heute abend Tango in Berlin?
On Monday there are basically two milongas to choose from.
- Monday is not my regular milonga day, but if I decide to go dancing, I normally pick Berlinos Aires Milonga. Wendy is really a perfect and very welcoming host. The milonga starts early and ends not too late. It is suitable for the start of a work week, though. Unfortunately you never really know what you get. There are really nice evenings and also quiet evenings at that milonga. At the moment, the milonga is happening at Tangoloft in Wedding, which is one of the most beautiful venues for milongas I have ever been. You have to go there at least once during your visit to Berlin. But as you will see, there are several options through the week to dance at that place.
- If I don‘t have to work on Tuesday and I am in the mood for a tango party. I go to Milonga Popular in Kreuzberg. It attracts a younger audience, is more alternative and definititely one of the „must dos“ in terms of milongas in Berlin. Milonga Popular has a very unique atmosphere. There are two floors, one is traditional with party cortinas and the other one non/neo. Keep in mind, that it is not the best place to dance on a high level and in a organized ronda. If you can, also try their classes before the milonga, as they are really an event in itself.
Tuesday: Tuesday is my yoga day, not my tango day, normally I don‘t go out. If I do, I choose between these two:
- The first one is Clärchens Ballhaus – Spiegelsaal. If you are a visitor, go there and check it out. The venue is amazing. But have a look on Hoy Milonga before, because sometimes it is cancelled.
- The other good option is Oblomov in Neukölln. It is very welcoming, relaxed, younger, more alternative with a managable ronda. Sometimes there also is an additional Oblomov milonga on Saturday.
On Wednesday my milonga mood returns.
- I like to go to El Ocaso. It has a good level and a nice ronda. Sometimes it is a bit hard to get dances if you don‘t know anyone. Be patient, be nice and don‘t lose your good mood. In summer the milonga is outside – beautiful!
- Not every week, but from time to time (about every two weeks at the moment) there is a milonga at Roter Salon in Volksbühne. It is the oldest milonga in Berlin and it is absolutely worth going.
- It‘s not in my hood, so I normally don‘t go there. But if you are more in the western part of the city the milonga at Mala Junta could be a valuable option for you.
Thursday is – at least in my opinion – not the best milonga day in Berlin, but of course you can dance:
- Cada Jueves in Soda Club is the place to be if you like a more party kind of milonga and especially if you are not only a tango lover, but also a salsa, bachata… lover. You’ll find different dancefloors with different dances there.
- Villa Kreuzberg is the more traditional option on Thursdays. Nice atmosphere, good music, a slightly older audience.
- On the last Thursday in a month you have another chance to dance at wonderful Tangoloft to traditional music: Milonga Loca. Check on Hoy Milonga, before you go.
Yay, weekend is there. To be honest, friday is not my preferred tango day, just because most Fridays I am too tired to dance the whole night. But there are milongas, of course.
- When I go, I go to Nou. The ronda is certainly not the best one in Berlin, but you‘ll find good dancers there. Sometimes it is a bit hard to get to dance with them. Still it is a nice milonga, beautiful place, with good Djs (often guest Djs), sometimes shows and live music.
- The second option for Fridays is Tango tanzen macht schön (TTMS). It has a slightly older audience than Nou and occasionally shows and live music as well. Here, it is much easier to find a partner to dance with.
- I almost always go to traditional milongas, still I want to mention two options for Fridays, that include non-tango music: There is a milonga at Art.13 in Kreuzberg and a milonga at Haus der Sinne in Prenzlauer Berg. Haus der Sinne is nice if you are with friends and want to spend a relaxed evening mostly with them. Art.13 is more wild and young. You can go there on your own, no matter what level of dancing you have, you probably will dance.
On Saturdays there are different options and on many Saturdays you can create your own tango marathon, starting with a good afternoon milonga, continuing with a great evening milonga.
- Pippo is – for me – the best afternoon/early evening option. It is not happening every week and it has different venues, so you have to check beforehand. Great Djs, good level of dancers, sometimes specials like live music or shows.
- The evergreen for Saturday evening is Walzer linksgestrickt in Kreuzberg. I love that place for dancing. It offers enough space, cabeceo is working quite well, you can sit and talk, you can have a drink on the bar and you can dance, of course. It is a complete milonga experience. The best evenings at Walzer are when there are not too many other options (especially not the „younger“ traditional milongas like Cristal or Subte). Sometimes the Walzer milonga is taking place at Ballhaus Rixdorf, which is one of the tango venues with some history and tradition in Berlin.
- Problably the most „hip“ milonga at the moment in Berlin is Milonga Cristal, which is happening once a month at TTMS. The milonga has some fancy specials: Each edition has a theme, there is a tombola and a social hero show, which means that „normal“ social dancers are performing. Sometimes it is too crowded.
- Another milonga which is happening once a month at TTMS is Subte. They also have a special theme and even offer some handmade snacks from time to time. Subte is normally not as crowded as Milonga Cristal and therefore sometimes even better for dancing.
- Especially on Saturdays there are many other options, check out the other ones on Hoy Milonga. For tango and non-tango you can also go to Tangoloft on Saturday evenings.
- My first choice on Sunday and one of my favourite milongas of the whole week is Café Dominguez. It starts in the afternoon and ends in the early evening. They have coffee, cake, good dancers, a organized ronda and great music. It is small and crowded, so no show-off dancing please. Sometimes it is a bit hard for people who go there for the first time, especially for followers. If you have the chance and feel like it could be a good milonga for you, keep on coming back, it will get better.
- If you don‘t wanna stop after Café Dominguez, there are several options to continue. But most of them don’t happen every week. So make sure to check on Hoy Milonga. A regular option is Tangoloft (mixed music). By the way: You could already start at Tangoloft in the afternoon, they also have delicious cake. In Tangoloft you will dance, for sure. If you are lucky, there is the Millionaires du Dimanche Milonga in Lotus Loft (the second room of Tangoloft). It is not a weekly milonga, but it is a traditional milonga, starting in the early evening, finishing at midnight. Afterwards you can continue on the crazy dancefloor in the mainroom of Tangoloft. Other good Sunday evening options, which are not happening every week, are El Aleman at TTMS or Domilonga at TTMS in Kreuzberg.
One very special summer venue is missing in this article so far: Standbar. It is a wonderful open air location directly at the river Spree, where they have different dances every night and tango around twice a week (Wednesday and Sunday normally). The dance floor is bad, the ronda is bad, the level is absolutely mixed, but the atmosphere of that place is so lovely that you can’t miss it. You could also just have a drink and listen to the music. At the moment we don’t know, if and how Strandbar will open this year and if there will be tango. Let’s keep our fingers crossed. News about that here (in German).
Final remark: I know, dancing tango in Berlin is sometimes not easy for people who are visiting and don‘t know anyone. It can be really hard to find someone to have a good tanda with. As the community in Berlin is quite big, visitors are often not immediatly noticed, even good dancers. Additionally to that, many people are very focused on their tango friends and are not looking for other cabeceos that much. Last but not least, sad, but true: Yes, we Berliners are sometimes a bit shy towards people we don‘t know. Please: Keep it easy, socialise, give us time and don‘t – really don’t – take it personally.
Here you’ll find Berlin Tango Vibes on Facebook.