Review: Brunnen 70 Puts the 'Art' Into 'Party'

I love art and I love parties and when you put the two things together, I'm in seventh heaven. Cassiopeia and Tacheles are well known examples of venues which combine clubbing with culture... and climbing too, if that's your cup of tea, but I find them a bit crowded and impersonal. That's why I am always on the lookout for places which attract the masses without feeling mass-produced. Last weekend I finally checked out Brunnen 70 and what I saw there put it at the top of the list.

I went there with a friend on a Saturday night.  After passing the chilled security check, we were ushered into a small room, empty except for an old-fashioned settee against the far wall, and two door staff who were propping up a table with a shoe (labeled 'tips') on it. They smiled at us as a second steel door slid closed behind us, sealing the room shut. My friend and I were slightly freaked out. "Wow, okay... this is a small club..." I began to say, before realizing that that the room was moving.  We were, in fact, in a lift going down.

When the door opened again it was on to a wide, utilitarian space, covered in a latticework of lights that played across our eyes, dazzling us.  We paid the 6 euros entrance and, after our eyes had adjusted to the dark, looked around the single room space beyond the coat-check.  It had an underground feeling which went beyond the style, maybe because it actually was underground.

Since my friend and I had already had enough adventure for one night (we'd gotten off at the wrong U-Bahn station, then made a manic, two-person journey uphill to the club on a single bike) we were happy with the intimate, chilled surroundings even if they were a bit on the small side.   

At some point we saw two guys walk through an inconspicuous doorway by the bar and realized that there was a second room to the place.  My friend and I stood up as one and followed them, to see what was happening in there.  The answer they gave us was, "Not much".  The party lights were on in the second room, and the sound system looked ready to go, but it was quiet and, aside from us and those two guys it was empty.

We struck up a conversation with the guys and shared a cigarette.  Me and Ange introduced ourselves.

"My name is Sasha," said the first guy.

"Me too," said the second, sending me and Ange into a fit of giggles (it was strong tobacco).  The two Sasha's were very friendly and it turned out that they both worked at the club, too.  They informed us that the second room was closed for the night, along with all of the club's other rooms.

"How many other rooms?" I asked.

"Eleven, I think?" asked the taller Sasha.

"No it's more like 12," said the second Sasha.  "Don't forget the submarine room."

"Submarine room?"  Ange and I stared at one another.

"There's also a labyrinth," pointed out Sasha One.  

My friend and both had the same idea: "Can we could see the rest of the club?  Pleeease?" we begged. 
The two Sashas obliged.

The submarine room, when we finally got to it, had an eerie chill despite the old furnace which filled it and probably would not have looked out of place on the set of Ringu. Before we got there however, we wound our way through a series of other rooms, laid out like a maze and strewn with a breadcrumb trail of artistic experimentation.  The cigarettes were really starting to take effect too, and soon we were all blissfully disoriented in the dark.

Did I forget to mention that it was almost pitch-black during this tour?  The lights were off seeing as how most of the club wasn't in use - so we had to use the flashes from our cameras to light the way. Which is why Ange and me each ended up with about 150 pictures of the club; abstract murals and installations that were illuminated briefly before vanishing into the inky dark, leaving surreal afterimages burned onto our retinas.

Okay, so we didn't spend much time in the actual party, itself, but our night still pretty damn fun.

The club now opens in weekly for an indoor 'festival' called Wild Wedding. Assuming that the organizers keep on making the most of the club's unique dimensions, it is going to be one hell of a party.

I'll be going there next month to make sure, but something tells me I might have found my 70th Heaven.

*Thanks Ang for taking some of these photos (and many amazing ones besides). And thanks Sandra for recommending B70.
You're coming with us next time! 


1 comment:

  1. Terrible terrible toilets and sick on chairs that remains for months. potential is there for a good club but terrible management and billions of rumours about unpaid staff/collaborators make me hope people will boycott this place


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...is NOT a fashion blogger! I write about underground music, activism, social media rights. Other publications that I have written for: OpenDemocracy, Urban Challenger, Siegesaeule, Alternative Berlin and Sensanostra.