DOWN FROM SCHLESISCHES TOR YOU WILL REACH THE CARNIVAL OF THE BIZARRE AT MADAME CLAUDE. WALKING IN OFF THE STREETS AND THROUGH THE RED CURTAIN TAKES YOU INTO A CAVERNOUS GROTTO, WHERE THE FURNITURE IS AFFIXED TO THE CEILING, AND THE MUSIC VARIES FROM THE EXPERIMENTAL TO THE OTHERWISE OUTLANDISH.
The decor is otherwise consistent with that of most music venues and dive-bars in Kreuzberg, styled in classic, pragmatic Berlin fashion. The dimly lit, intimate interior is left over from the space’s former life as a brothel (that’s discounting a brief period as a notorious karaoke bar), from which it took its name. With its decor also paying passing homage to the “waiting room” from Twin Peaks – black and white floors, copious use of dark reds, and the aforementioned ceiling sofas – its musical programming is often adjusted to befit the surroundings. Mondays are known as “Experimontag” and feature a mixture of ambient, Krautrock and other alternative electronic musicians plugging away live, drawing in a wide cross-section of leather-clad, avant-garde enthusiasts. In fact, one of the venue's first bookings was the German band Embryo, one of the most important Krautrock collectives from the 70s, who blessed the upside-down venue with a show back in 2010.
The bar and events space also runs open-mic nights at which you can catch local bands, musicians, singers and DJs, all entertaining the laidback clientele. There's even a music quiz in English once a week. With its unique atmosphere and full musical calendar, there's almost always something new to discover. Madame Claude is still proving itself to be an important, yet eccentric, pillar of the community and a fertile breeding ground for the modern reawakenings of the likes of Neu!, Can or Tangerine Dream. In the face of rising rents and gentrification, Madame Claude still holds its own as one of the quirkier, independent and authentic spots in Kreuzberg; a space that will leave you with a certain “lost” feeling, as if you’ve passed through a quasi-barrier into a smoke-filled dimension of dark spirits and exotic sounds, where time and gravity have no meaning.