Drinking up the atmosphere: Cologne’s best brewery pubs

Brewing really good beer is a art. Centuries-old breweries have helped kölsch attain a worldwide reputation. You can still find it there in original settings but some of the younger breweries serve outstanding, innovative beers too.

Johann Schäfer – a historical pub with modern cuisine


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The Johann Schäfer brewery pub oozes history. 100 years ago, horses were brought here to have their hooves shod; later it was home to a haulage firm. Now they brew an excellent pils, Südstadt-Pils, here. Guests can also enjoy modern seasonal cuisine, expertly prepared using regional ingredients and with plenty of options for vegans.

Elsaßstraße 6, 50677 Cologne

Brauhaus Pütz – keeping it in the family

Traditional brewery-pub atmosphere at Brauhaus Pütz Photo: Brauhaus Pütz

Authentic Mühlen-Kölsch is still brewed to an old family recipe. At Brauhaus Pütz, they serve it from the tapping area, which is situated in the middle of the pub so patrons can watch the köbes (Rhineland breweries’ special brand of waiter) in action as they fill up the glasses.

Engelbertstraße 67, 50674 Cologne

Brauhaus Päffgen – hand-crafted beer and Cologne cuisine

Brauhaus Päffgen
Schnitzel and fries with a “round” of beer: Brauhaus Päffgen Photo: Thierry Monasse/dpa

Cologne’s oldest craft brewery still resides at its original address at 64 Friesengasse – 125 years after it was founded. Contrary to modern convention, Päffgen still brew their beer by hand and you can savour the results at their brewery pub, where they also serve local specialities. The beer garden is popular in the warm weather and is fitted with a retractable roof, turning it into a “winter garden” in the colder months.

Friesenstraße 64-66, 50670 Cologne

Braustelle – small on size, big on creativity

Taking an innovative approach: the team from Braustelle Photo: David Weimann

Cologne’s tiniest brewery is in the colourful Ehrenfeld district. At Braustelle, they’ve been producing innovative craft beers like Pink Panther (a mildly hopped ale with hibiscus flowers) or Schwarze Sieben (a bitter, black stout containing lashings of roasted malt) since 2001. The food menu offers German classics such as knödel dumplings and frikadelle burgers as well as lighter dishes like avocado wraps and salads.

Christianstraße 2, 50825 Cologne

Hellers – great beer in green surroundings, whatever the season

Hellers Brauhaus
Enjoy a beer in the greenery of Hellers Brauhaus Photo: nonverbal bildkommunikation

At Brauhaus Hellers in the heart of Cologne’s popular Kwartier Latäng neighbourhood, the beer is certified organic. For a large dose of gemutlichkeit, grab a table in the “winter garden”. It’s full of lush greenery all year round and has a small fountain burbling away in the background. In the warmer weather, kölsch enthusiasts can enjoy a glass of their favourite tipple coupled with lake views at the Hellers beer garden in the city’s Volksgarten park.

Hellers Brauhaus: Roonstr. 33, 50674 Cologne
Hellers Volksgarten: Volksgartenstrasse 27, 50677 Cologne

Brauhaus Früh – a brew with a view

Brauhaus Früh am Dom
Brauhaus Früh opposite Cologne Cathedral Photo: Cölner Hofbräu P. Josef FRÜH KG

Where’s the best place to enjoy a good kölsch? Where there’s a view of the cathedral, obviously! That’s why Brauhaus Früh was established right opposite the majestic landmark back in 1904. In the cellar with its medieval vaulted ceiling, on the first floor overlooking the Heinzelmännchen fountain and beer garden or, in the summer, from the roofed courtyard terrace – wherever you sit, if you appreciate great kölsch, you’ll feel right at home here.

Am Hof 12-18, 50667 Cologne

Peters Brauhaus – friendly, cheerful and delicious

Peters Brauhaus
Steeped in history: Peters Brauhaus Photo: Peters Brauhaus

The first brewery at 1 Mühlengasse opened back in the 16th century. The building, known as Brügelmannhaus, saw a lot over the years before becoming Peters Brauhaus in 1994. Peters‘ slogan consists of three simple words: Freundlich. Fröhlich. Lecker. (friendly, cheerful and delicious). Their menu features traditional Cologne dishes along with vegetarian and vegan options plus, needless to say, home-brewed Peters kölsch.

Mühlengasse 1, 50667 Cologne

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