10 German words for a night out in Berlin

Berlin’s alternative and anarchic nightlife can be suitable for almost everyone. If you are visiting for a weekend, or having been living here for some time, you want to be well-prepared to know how to address in German your party mood or you after day hangover state. Deutsche Welle listed ten curious points to be aware of before going out for a night in Berlin.


Feel like going out tonight? First thing, you have to break free from working commitments and the stress. Germans have a word to describe exactly that moment: ‘Feierabend’, which literally means, to finish work or to knock off (work).


After work, a quick pit-stop back home to freshen up is definitely something worth considering before a nice night out. After all, you never know how the night is going to evolve. Aufbrezeln means exactly this; to pamper up, whether with a fresh t shirt for boys and a line of lipstick for girls (or the other way round..).


Although it wouldn’t be proper to incite readers to drink, not to drink German beers would be like missing out on a pillar of the country’s cultural heritage. Vorglühen, in English to pre-heat / pre-drink, is exactly that: the drinking of one, two or, who are we kidding, three or more drinks prior to commencing the night out, to relax and zone out of the working mind and get into the partying one.


After a while in Berlin you’ll notice it: whether it be one girl or boy walking on her own in the sole company of a cold beer in their hand, or bigger groups of people holding two or more bottles of beers (coats have pockets after all), you’ll be able to spot them in any neighbourhood of the city at any time of the night. A Wegbier is the beer you take along with you for the walk.

n.b. although drinking in public is legal in Germany, it is well advised to contain your exuberant- drunk spirits and maintain a dignified behavior – a bit of style never harms.


Sven: if you haven’t met him you surely heard about him. Berghains’ bouncer, in German, would be the Türsteher, as so would be a doorman or a doorkeeper, for the literal meaning is “Him who stands at the door”. Assuming a more active role than this passive description conveys, they are notorious here in Berlin. Starting by knowing how to address them could be a first, small, step towards getting into a club.


“Auf ex!” If your friends demand you do to so, perhaps it’s best you prepare for what will happen next. The literal translation? Empty your glass in one sip.


It’s that moment between day and night, or night and day – the beginning and end of a day all melted into one word. Between dusk and dawn, it can be a truly magical moment in Berlin (according to the season), and you’ll most likely find yourself more often than not at Dämmerung wondering how it is possible that the night is already over!


Being a night crawler. Everyone has one of those friends in Berlin that only emerge out of their den once the sun has set. Or maybe, you’ve become one of these yourself. Another interesting translation from German is night owl; you know that they are hiding somewhere during the day, but you’ll only see them at night.


Kater would be a ‘tomcat’, a male cat. But being one of those wonderful German words that have a certain meaning but actually mean something else, Kater is more commonly used to explain the state of being of the day following a night to remember (or not). You know it? You know it…

Photo:  © Christoffer Boman CC BY SA 2.0


Want to refine your German? Take a look at the German courses that Berlino Schule organizes.

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