Last weekend, a friend was talking about a “labyrinth bar” in Berlin. It was closing in two weeks she had told me, so it was important that she check it out before it was over. This spiked my interest and I began looking for it online. Searching “Berlin Labyrinth Bar” on google brought me to this blog post written a few years ago. The labyrinth, Peristal Signum exists within the club Wilde Renate – an interesting spot to experience in itself. The club is made up of several different rooms and a big garden, it sort of has a cool house party feel to it with all the different areas to hang out. When we arrived last night (only 3 more days until the labyrinth closes forever), we were greeted by a doorman with a black line down the middle of his face separating the bearded side with the clean shaven side. He had suspenders, a top hat, and a fuzzy vest on – interesting character to say the least. We were unfortunately told that Peristal Signum was sold out, but my friend Chelsea worked her magic in speaking German, and the guy eventually told us that we might be able to get waiting tickets later. We decided to stick around for a few beers regardless. We headed to the garden where there were boats suspended from trees to sit in, photobooths and other mismatched decorations. Within a few minutes, we were visited by an angel (or just a random dude with a halo on his head) who gave us 5 tickets to the labyrinth (!!!). We were told it would be about an hour and a half wait, but we didn’t mind at all. We went inside and listened to a wild band reminiscent of Lemon Bucket Orchestra in Toronto – trombones, trumpets, bass and drums filled a tiny room of dancers.
Following their performance, I think the second band was late, because a motley crew of musicians took the stage to entertain. The angel was there, he was working with an accordion. A woman with a bow was shredding sweet tunes with a crosscut saw. They got a little help from musicians of the previous band and started to play a few songs of serious extremes. A folk-like tune, a screaming metal song, and then a love song. The angel took the mic and began an ode to Germany’s one true love, the sausage. The lyrics went a bit like this, “You are my sausage, my lovely sausage”.
When it was our time to enter the labyrinth, we got rid of all our bags and coats (we were told there would be climbing, crawling and sliding involved), and gave the girl at the front our ticket and 10 euros in exchange for a gold coin. Waiting to enter the labyrinth, we got to see some people come out – some were definitely not impressed and seemed overjoyed to be out of there. When it was time to go in, we were lead one by one. I had to close my eyes and this girl spun me around in circles, she then put me into a closeted room by myself, took the coin and put it into a slot, then released my hands, held them to her heart and whispered “Follow your heart”. She closed the door and left me alone. A video started playing and an old bearded man pointed to the wall on my right. I pushed it, and this is where it all began. There was no going back.
Some of my friends, when discussing afterwards, said that they were met by the real life bearded man beyond the door. There is this wild bearded 70+ year old that cruises Berlin’s clubs and open airs and is often seen blowing bubbles (when he’s having a REALLY good time). I saw him at the Neukoln Open Air, and he was at Wilde Renate last night. Apparently he also hung out in the labyrinth, but he wasn’t there for my entry.
I’m not sure how long it took me in total to get through the labyrinth, but the whole experience was a wild ride. I met new people and followed them for periods of time before choosing my own path. The whole place seemed pretty sketchy – it’s probably closing because of a safety violation – I couldn’t believe we didn’t have to sign a document about not suing the bar afterwards, but I guess I’m not in Canada anymore. I went down slides, climbed sketchy ladders, crawled through tunnels, sliced my knee open and ended up in some pretty weird rooms. I kept returning to this one room, where this one guy told me “You’ll keep coming back here until you find your way”. At one point I ran into my friend who was the first to go in, and she was ready to get out of there. We were going opposite directions and she declared that she was going that way to get out, I wanted to continue exploring so I continued on my own path. Before I knew it, I walked through the exit door and I was out before anyone else. I was a bit disappointed in this but I still think I saw most of the labyrinth.
Maybe it’s time for a new labyrinth and one will be reincarnated in the space. If you are in Berlin, and have some free time, I highly recommend trying to check it out before it’s demise this weekend. Saturday is the last day – it opens at 3pm so go early!