Berghain Bouncer Reveals Philosophy Behind Mysterious Door Policy

“How do I get into the Berghain?”

The statement is one of the most frequently asked questions of would-be Berliners and travelers alike. Justifiably too, getting into one of the world’s most famous and arguably decadent clubs is no small feat, and the countless mysteries and legends about the notorious club only further the sentiment. For those not embedded in the Berlin techno scene, it’s an uphill struggle. There’s no guest list, reservations or seemingly any preferential treatment whatsoever. With an hours-long wait for entry, getting through the door to the techno-fuelled delights beyond is no simple task.

In fact, there’s entire websites and even an app dedicated to navigating the rave mecca’s notorious lines and mysterious door policy.

Taking their questions directly to the source, GQ had an incredibly rare in-depth chat with the Sven Marquardt, the club’s high-profile doorman.

At 52, Sven moonlights as a renowned photographer. When it comes to Berghain, he has the final say on who gets through. The East Berliner has been calling the shots since the club first opened its doors in 2004.

“It’s subjective,” he revealed. “Only a few of my guys are allowed to select guests at the door. They have to understand what Berghain is all about first, and I try to give them that foundation. Beyond that, there are no set rules. My people all have their own personalities, and you can see their sensibilities reflected in the crowd over the course of their shifts. You always want friction, though. That’s the theme in any good club: diversity, friction.”

At first this “the only rule is there are no rules” philosophy comes across as overly vague. But pressed further, Seven offered a little more perspective. “I feel like I have a responsibility to make Berghain a safe place for people who come purely to enjoy the music and celebrate — to preserve it as a place where people can forget about space and time for a little while and enjoy themselves,” he continued. “The club evolved from the gay scene in Berlin in the nineties. It’s important to me we preserve some of that heritage, that it still feels like a welcoming place for the original sort of club-goers. If we were just a club full of models, pretty people all dressed in black, it would be nice to look at for a half an hour, but god, that would be boring. It would feel less tolerant, too.”

So there isn’t a checklist. When presented with a number of generic factors which might assist hopeful patrons, Sven became dismissive. “It’s all subjective,” he repeated.

It looks like the anything goes nature is all part of the fun.

Read the full interview here, which includes discussion about Marquardt’s tattoos, fetish photography, fashion and more.