Leipzig’s nightlife leaves nothing to be desired. In addition to its wide range of high culture – theatre, opera, the Gewandhaus Orchestra, cabaret and more – there’s always something exciting for night owls to discover in the many bars and clubs, too. Besides the “Drallewatsch” restaurant mile in the city centre, the dozens of pubs in the Südvorstadt on Karl-Liebknecht-Straße are some of the most popular haunts. Here the blend of squatter scene and club culture took off at the start of the nineties. Buildings due for demolition were turned into makeshift bars, sound systems and theatre stages. The area grew into a meeting place for young people looking for a space they could call their own and an alternative to commercial music. But today the venues have spilled out beyond these former limits. “KarLi”, as the street has affectionately been nicknamed by locals, is a remarkable mix of culture and international gastronomy.
Thousands of party-people throng to the outdoor benches in good weather, transforming “KarLi” into the longest bar in Leipzig. Concert-goers should pay a visit to the venue Werk II. Located right on Connewitzer Kreuz, the former materials testing machine factory houses galleries and associations, a friendly pub and culture of all genres. Concerts are frequently held in Events Hall A. Leipzig’s culture is also very much in evidence at one of the oldest cinemas in Germany – the UT Connewitz. 100 years after its opening, the stage with portico relief still radiates the glory and splendour of the original architecture. “UT” is pronounced as it’s spelled in German: U-T. The name has its origins in the cinema’s eventful commercial history. Both an institution and the alternative heart of Connewitz, Conne Island is a self-governing cultural centre “by and for left-wing, youth, pop and sub-cultures”. Situated at the other end of KarLi is naTO - the trade fair city's cinema venue for alternative films far away from the big multiplexes. The Distillery – a stalwart among the world’s house and techno clubs and the oldest techno club in eastern Germany – is the place to end a night out. Right next door, Leipzig’s latest club project has sprung up on the site of the former Kohlrabizirkus Market Hall. The club Institut für Zukunft has been financed by a crowd-funding campaign and attracts party-goers with techno and house beats.
But careful: “Go West” is the new slogan! Leipzig’s creative types reside in the districts of Plagwitz and Lindenau – the backdrop of the Spinnerei (a former cotton mill) and Tapetenwerk (an old wallpaper factory) has lured newcomers to the area with hitherto cheap rents and its intellectual crowd. Night owls have long taken the west of the city by storm. Among the exciting new clubs in the city are the Alte Damenhandschuhfabrik (historic ladies’ glove factory), elipamanoke, Täubchenthal in the converted offices of a spinning mill for worsted yarn, and the Villa Hasenholz – formerly a legendary restaurant situated in Leutzscher Holz. Karl-Heine-Straße, the best-known street in the hipster district of Plagwitz, is home to cultural venues such as Da Capo, Schaubühne Lindenfels, the Westwerk and cool bars like “Noch Besser Leben” (‘Live Even Better’), which offers both guest rooms and regular club nights.
Hetero, homo or don’t know – there’s always somewhere to go in Leipzig. The LGBT scene is young – and the city is tolerant. Indeed, tolerance has been written with a capital T in Leipzig, city of the Peaceful Revolution, for a very long time. At the same time, nobody need worry about discretion, for example when visiting Europe’s biggest gay sauna, Stargayte: spanning 2,600 square metres, it has gay saunas, a cinema
and a bar, all open from Friday afternoon right through to Monday morning. Those who like things a little more innocent and colourful can try out the popular party series “Pony Club”, a mix of children’s birthday party and big-city gay scene. The “KissKissBangBang” queer night also takes place regularly at city centre club TwentyOne, every second Friday from 10 pm. The RosaLinde Leipzig e.V. Association publishes a gay guide every year, packed with valuable info on Leipzig.
The brochure “Hidden Leipzig” features 60 images and 146 tips for specific places to head to, all presenting Leipzig’s special atmosphere away from the more commonly trod paths. Not even all Leipzig locals will know about all the tips in this extraordinary guide, which also includes plenty of hints for going out. Friendly locals reveal their magical spots and show where the city is at its liveliest. It is the tips for the east of the city – slowly awakening from its long slumber – that show you just where Leipzig’s nightlife might be happening next. www.hidden-leipzig.com