Berlin social networks were abuzz yesterday with news that beloved ballroom Clärchens Ballhaus would have to close at the end of the year. Now, the brand new owner of the Auguststraße institution has taken the floor — and given the all-clear, to relief all round.
Here at tip Berlin we weren’t too surprised to learn that this new owner was also our co-owner, the cultural investor and photo artist Yoram Roth.
The contract with the current Ballhaus tenant and former owner of the Monbijou Theatre, Christian Schulz, expires at the end of the year. “I don’t know yet who the new operator will be,” says Yoram Roth, who also owns the photography museum group Fotografiska and initiated the English-language radio station KCRW Berlin. At the end of last year, he acquired the site in Mitte. “But what is important, is that the operator understands the ‘spirit’ of Berlin as well as that of Clärchens,” says Roth. “Clärchen’s Ballhaus is a magical place; that has little to do with who runs it, as long as the operator understands the spirit and meaning of the house.”
However, it won’t be possible to avoid an interim closure. The latest news is that an extensive renovation of the building is planned, with the restaurant, sanitation facilities, roof and stairwells to be overhauled due to years of wear and tear. Historically significant parts such as the popular Mirror Hall will be preserved. “One of our concerns is that we would be forced by the city to build apartments,” says Roth. “This would make Clärchens another victim of Berlin’s club demise, which is a result of the city’s housing madness.”
But fans of the iconic venue needn’t worry. The name will remain, as will the joyous dance evenings. “I bought the property with the clear goal to protect Clärchens Ballhaus,” says Roth. “It is also an important place for me.”
Yoram Roth is co-owner of GoCityMedia GmbH, which also publishes our city magazine. However, this does not influence our reporting.