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Tango in Berlin


We've just returned from a weekend of tango in Berlin and can safely say that the German city deserves its unofficial title as "European Capital of Tango".

 We spent four nights at a central Berlin hotel and had daily classes with Sandra & Santiago Monticelli, Argentine experts and stars of Midnight Tango and Strictly Come Dancing. S&S put us through our paces and offered a comprehensive syllabus which prepared us for the afternoons and evenings, when the real fun began.
Whether classic Tango Argentino or modern Tango Nuevo, whether in a historical ballroom or in the open air, Berlin offers an impressive selection of venues. We were lucky enough to be visiting in summer when open air milongas are held every weekend and venues include the open-air sundeck Tangocafé im Radialsystem, where you can dance to tango and electro tango music with a view of the Spree and the Zollpackhof Beer Garden which is transformed in the summer into a dance floor under trees to the strains of Tango and Tango Nuevo music. In the Strandbar Mitte there are several milongas during the week, when the bandoneón starts playing.
By night, there are milongas every day of the week and by far our favourite was at Tango Loft on Sunday. An exceptional venue and one of the city's most popular, open until the early hours. It's located in an old industrial building but is definitely a hidden gem. The venue itself had a "Boho" feel with black and white photos of tango musicians on the walls, comfy old chairs to sit in and a grand piano sitting in the middle of the (wooden) dance floor. Light streams into the venue through the frosted glass which really lights up the venue until the sun goes down.
As far as the dancing goes, people are not afraid to experiment and the music was very eclectic. Berlin's milongas generally start at 9pm and go on until 4 or 5am and are great value; from around 5 euros.
In summary, we can't recommend Berlin enough for tango aficionados; if the purse won't stretch to Buenos Aires then the German capital is a fantastic alternative.