In some positive news out of clubland, the new deal extends the renowned venue's contract to 2025.
Golden Gate is already one of Berlin's longest-running clubs. It's been operating from beneath Jannowitzbrücke train station in Mitte for a decade, renting space from state-owned railway company Deutsche Bahn. The 250-capacity venue is among Berlin's most popular and best-known spots for house and techno, renowned for its simple, no-frills interior and long opening hours.
News of the extended lease follows a series of club closures around Europe, including London's Plastic People, Glasgow's The Arches and Berlin's own Stattbad.
To find out what the contract extension means for Golden Gate, we caught up with co-founder Hubertus Graf Strachwitz for a rare interview.
A ten-year rental contract seems unusually long for a club in Berlin. Is it? You must be pleased with the security it brings.
It depends on what goals and concept you have in mind. If you want to make fast money, it's unusual because you do hardcore promotion and book the big names. By doing this you reach the peak very fast. But if you look at it as a long-term project and want to establish something, it takes time until you get recognition. If you follow this line it's not that unusual.
Does the fact that the lease is with Deutsche Bahn make things easier?
What could it make easier? We are happy with the Deutsche Bahn as our lessor. But we still have to pay rent. So actually easier? No.
How has Golden Gate changed since you opened ten years ago?
At the beginning, Golden Gate was not an electronic music-only club. We had all kinds of parties. Electro clash, rock & roll, pop and various electronic events. We had concerts as well—you never knew what to expect when you came to Golden Gate. We eventually started the Saturday afterhour, and by doing this slowly turned into an electronic music-only club. It doesn't make sense to do a rock & roll party on Friday night, and chase the crowd away by starting techno music on Saturday morning. Chasing the afterhour crowd away by playing rock on Saturday night is no fun either. But there were still some great moments when we did this. I will never forget the expression on the faces of the rock musicians who came Saturday for the soundcheck expecting an empty club, and came into this madness. Or a sleeping guy who woke up, looked around and said, 'How weird is this? I fell asleep to techno and wake up with rock & roll.' He could not believe it.
What other clubs were around when Golden Gate first opened that are still operating now?
In the same place, with the same people running it? I think Watergate is the only one. They had their ten-year anniversary the same year and month as we did.
How has the crowd at Golden Gate changed over the years? What impacts have the extra tourists and foreigners had?
I hate the discussion about tourists and their impact. There are good and bad people everywhere in the world. So let's not talk about nationality. If you want to enjoy yourself, are willing to respect the others and are open-minded, you are welcome at Golden Gate. If not, please stay away. In the end all these tourist haters are arguing the same way the nationalist parties do, 'We have to protect our culture, bla bla bla.'
For me a party is about meeting people, having fun, listening to good music and dancing. If someone tries to tell me a good party depends on the percentage of tourists, I stop listening. Tourists are adding to the diversity. Thanks to them you can meet people from all over the world, get to know different points of view, and experience different cultures—cool shit! Without them, half of the clubs in Berlin could close. So by coming they support the diversity of the clubs as well. Thank you!