By Cacinda Maloney
Put on some old school blue eyes music while you read this post to get the true feeling of this place.
One of the most interesting things I came across while in Berlin was a dance hall. In Germany, they call them ballhaus’. I find it a funny word that even my teenage son would get a giggle out of! So late one night, while out with other travel bloggers after a grub crawl, we went to Clärchens Ballhaus.
It is one of three original dance halls in Berlin to survive both world wars. It’s one of the few places left in Berlin where the roaring decade keeps its heart beating. This extraordinary old -school dance hall has been a favorite of light-footed Berliners since it first opened in 1913 and now has acquired a whole new popularity. It seems to attract party-hard hipsters and old-school swingers alike to come to the sounds of swing, tango and occasionally Abba, Tina Turner and Mr. Sinatra himself.
I knew instantly that this place had a unique blend of old and new that I had never experienced before in the USA. It provides a glimmer of nostalgia that we all hanker for in a city that’s seen too many hard times. The Chairman of the Board was playing upon our arrival as we creaked open the door. Think old school with a modern twist.
Our group snagged a couple of large tables right off the dance floor and we considered ourselves lucky, as it was crowded this weekday night.
Most of my enjoyment came from being a spectator, watching how serious these swing dancers were as they waltzed all over that dance floor without missing a beat. It didn’t seem to matter who was in their way, because they just waltzed where ever they pleased.
I had read that tango, cha-cha and swing dance classes were offered here throughout the week, in case you weren’t quite ready to show off your budding dancing skills, but I can tell you that if this is what they looked like during the week night, then I had better stay far away on the weekend when the seasoned pros turn out. These guys are serious about their swing!
There is a beer garden in the back that is the perfect place for people watching and drinking under the stars. Clärchens Ballhaus, Augustrasse 24.