From our archives: Mike Miksche’s first hand account of Lab.oratory was first published in June 2014
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Take a crash course in extreme German sexuality at the Lab.oratory, a brashly perverse sex club located in an abandoned power station in Berlin. This hedonistic fantasyland is located on the main level of Berghain, Europe’s top techno club, which hosts the world’s most affluent DJs. Whether you’re looking to experiment sexually or are vanilla at heart, the Lab.oratory is a must, epitomizing the spirit of Berlin’s excessive nightlife.
As you enter from the side door you can hear the techno pounding hard and dirty beats, just like the sleazy action inside. You’re given a bag for your money and clothes (if you choose to remove them) and a number is written your shoulder, which is used to check your belongings and buy drinks, as well as Crisco, if need be, which is also sold at the bar. The doors open at 10pm on Fridays and Saturdays and are locked at midnight, but the party goes on into the morning. On Sundays, the doors are generally open from 4 to 6pm; during the week the times alternate, so check the website to avoid disappointment.
The main room is full of naked and half-naked men of all shapes and sizes, young and old, in what is a truly inclusive atmosphere. With up to 400 guys to choose from, the Lab is steaming with testosterone and other manly scents sure to get you going. Enjoy some group action by the cells, piss on a dude in the washroom, share an intimate moment with a stranger in a dark corner or catch up with an old friend on the sidelines.
With such party themes as Office Slut, Fisthall, Scat, Pump Electro Tits and Drecksloch (described online as “the after-mud-dirthole-piss-fuck”), the Lab.oratory is hands down the most extreme sex club in all of Berlin, if not the world. It’s usually an all-male venue, but they have occasional crossover nights, such as Revolting or Sperma in Den Mai, where women are permitted. These events feature various DJs and live acts. Snax sex parties take place twice a year: Snax Club, during the leather and fetish week around Easter, and FC Snax United, in late November/early December. These men-only parties happen in both the Lab.oratory and Berghain, with a total capacity of 1,900 people, and have hosted such superstar DJs as Danny Tenaglia.
The Snax parties were started in the 1990s by Michael Teufele and Norbert Thormann, the owners of the Lab.oratory. They threw the party at various Berlin locations until it found its home at the famous Osgut Club, which was in an old railway freight yard. The club closed in 2003 because of a new arena that was being built, but Berghain was born the very next year in the abandoned Vattenfall power station. The Lab opened the year after that and still maintains its industrial architecture, designed with high-voltage power-line insulators, steam pipes and pressure gauges — it can be extremely sexy or somewhat unsettling depending on your state of mind.
If you’re looking for a tame night to simply observe, Friday Fuck 2-4-1 is your best bet. There’s no dress code and no featured fetishes per se, plus it’s two-for-one drinks all night. As the dudes get drunk, you’re still sure to witness some fisting and watersports, regardless, as well as the typical fare.
After doing extensive research in the Lab, take in some German techno at Berghain. On a regular Saturday night, getting in can be a bit tricky: almost half the people in line are turned away in an attempt to maintain the club’s fringe factor. Rumour has it that Britney Spears was refused entry. There are online blogs and forums on how to get past the main bouncer, Sven Marquardt, but being gay helps, even if Berghain isn’t a gay club — one of the many alluring paradoxes of this place. Once you get inside, you can indulge in the world’s most delicious techno beats on the main dancefloor or venture upstairs to the Panorama Bar, which plays primarily house music. Though Berghain is somewhat straight and tamer than the Lab.oratory, don’t be fooled: it’s still squirting sexuality all over the place, with two darkrooms, large unisex bathrooms and closable cubbies. Stay the night, the morning — and, hell, all afternoon — and see for yourself whether some things are best left to the imagination. I’m sure many fans will say not.