Walking along a main road from the Berlin Wall towards Alexanderplatz, and once the coloured graffiti is out of sight, and the landscape returns to Berlin’s familiar grey, it is hard not to miss a most peculiar looking wooden gate. A curious passerby would peek into the spaces between this tall, long, crooked assembly of shabby pieces of wood to see a garden of sand and beyond some wooden cabins, the famous river Spree. To that onlooker, this particular “venue” may seem like an art’s centre of sorts, or a home, made by a community of some of the many free spirited inhabitants of Berlin. To clubbing regulars and dance music lovers, the venue is instantly recognisable as what used to be Bar25, a club infamous worldwide for its hedonistic parties that would go on from days on end. This venue represented freedom, counterculture, friendships, loveships, and extraordinary outfits. The bar was an iconic symbol of Berlin- or what used to be Berlin, since the bar was forced to shut its gate for good in 2010 due to issues of gentrification.
Today, just across that river, swanky apartment blocks overlook the old Bar25, which after closing also became KaterHolzig, a popular party set up by one of the owners of Bar25, which too was forced to meet its end. That gate and the wooden structures, are the only few remaining symbols left of the legendary bar, however the venue has evolved into a new one quite recently.
The sad and unfortunate story of one of the best parties falling victim to new developments, is exhibited in Berlin’s first major crowd funded documentary, Bar25 Days out of Time.
Showcasing first in London for its international premier at the city’s 20th Raindance Film Festival a few years back, Bar25 lifts its curtains once again via a screening at Hackney Wick’s iconic Number90. Popcorn and footstools will be provided, as well as DJ sets post movie from Bar25 DJ, Lee Jones, and other artists that hold the same wild and free spirited vibes; Juntos resident Guille Bonesso, Road to Nowhere founder, Itchy Rich and London based DJ and producer, Ibellini.
As the trailer shows, the documentary does reveal clips from the bar’s heydays to instil sentimental feelings to those that were lucky enough to live in the “crazy paradise” that was Bar25. For those that were left out, this is a great opportunity to glimpse into this confetti love affair, as well as learn about what is now marked as clubbing history and the impact gentrification has on the clubbing scene.
The documentary gives an insight into the particular movement against the closing down of Bar25, which lasted about 5 years. During this time, at the end of each summer, it was uncertain the club would ever reopen as they faced the threat of having to shut down again and again, and each summer they did reopen, it was a cause to celebrate the fact that the voices and efforts of the people still mattered in Berlin.
Not just informative, but personal too, viewers follow the lives of Bar25’s founders who turned a river side dump into not just a circus wonderland and recluse for party people, but a creative venue and a home for themselves (the curious passerby wasn’t too far off after all). Even though they do throw amazing parties, they face some difficulties too, and question their ethos of living as “business hippies” once their small modest party and venue grows into an internationally recognised clubbing hub. Two of the four founders filmed 900 hours of footage over the course of seven years, and it was the producers of the film that edited the footage and turned it into a watchable documentary.
A real look from the inside, expect an intimate showcase that has the capacity to push a roller coaster of feelings onto viewers- even those that have never stepped foot into Bar25, and what a better venue to showcase this film at Number90, a bar which is not so many worlds apart from the legendary 25. As well as being right by the river, Number90 is not just a bar, but a restaurant too, which does bear some similarities to KaterHolzig’s rather up market top floor restaurant. Number90 is a creative meeting point for musicians, artists and party people too. Let’s not forget that it is, like Bar25 was, a place to have fun!
Hackney Wick, the area which surrounds Number90, is home to warehouses and a burgeoning underground party scene. With the past London Olympics, the area did see some pretty swanky buildings propping up, which suggests uncertainties in the area’s future and clubbing scene. Fortunately for Hackney Wick, there are venues including Number90, that manage to keep a party central and creative vibe strong.
Join the fun, laughter (and tears) this Friday as Number90 screens Bar25 Days out of Time this Friday at 8pm, followed by live art and music. Carry on the celebration at Keep on Going’s Special Bar25 after party.
Credits: Caroline Saage’s photographs of Bar25
18:00 – 06:00
FREE Before 8pm
Screening at 22:00
£10 pre sales tickets, £15 at the door
LIMITED CAPACITY (make sure to get there early to avoid disappointment)
90 Main Yard, Wallis Road, Hackney Wick, London E9 5LN
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