Café Reichard
Steeped in tradition, Café Reichard offers a fabulous view of Cologne Cathedral. Photo: Café Reichard

Historical Cologne cafés that coffee lovers won’t want to miss

Cologne is full of classic cafés steeped in history. And we know where the best ones are! Six recommendations for wonderful cafés in the city.

Coming up roses: Konditorei Wahlen

Café Wahlen
Traditional Café Wahlen is a favourite among coffee fans in Cologne.

Café Wahlen has been a family-run business since 1911. Whilst the buttercream caresses their palates, guests gaze in awe at the assortment of cakes and gateaux and the sedate surroundings. Tasteful wicker chairs are lined up at white-clothed tables beneath resplendent chandeliers. Even the staff, dressed in traditional black uniforms with white aprons, look as if they’re from a different era.

Café Konditorei Wahlen, Tues to Sun, 11am to 6pm, Hohenstaufenring 64, 50674 Cologne,

Café Wahlen

Cake and cocktails at Café Franck

The orange upholstery of the cord armchairs at this living-room-styled place whisks you back in time to the 1970s. The patterned wallpaper and light fittings at Café Franck hark back to Grandma’s days too. In the daytime, people meet here for a latte with a slice of a classic gooseberry meringue cake or vegan courgette cake. At the weekends though, the lights dim after 7pm and the café transforms into a cocktail lounge. They do breakfasts here too but make sure you reserve as it’s always busy.

Tues to Sun, 10am to 7pm, Eichendorffstraße 30, 50825 Cologne,

Café Franck
Café Franck, in the heart of the Neuehrenfeld neighbourhood, is a mixture of old-style café, cocktail lounge and dance club.

A taste of nostalgia and a taste of the new at Café Fridolin

With its elegant wingback chairs and floral china, Café Fridolin is like travelling back to the 1950s and 60s. The menu, however, is bang up to date. In this lovingly decorated café, which has been housed in the local community centre since 2020, there’s something for everyone: vegetarian, vegans, carnivores and allergy sufferers. The legendary carrot and walnut cake draws guests from far and wide. As do the homemade sparkling drinks, such as rosemary & lemon or passionfruit & mint.

Mon to Weds + Sun, 10am to 9pm, Thurs to Sat, 10am to 11pm, Venloer Straße 425, 50825 Cologne,

Café Fridolin
Café Fridolin is a cosy café with a 1950s & 60s look and homemade cakes, snacks and cocktails.

A trip down memory lane at Café Jansen by Fassbender

Lots of people in Cologne remember when this place in the old part of town (Altstadt) was Café Jansen. That’s what the family-run business was called when it was founded in the middle of the 19th century. Today, it’s home to Fassbender, a chain of cake shops headquartered in the nearby town of Siegburg. Take a trip down memory lane, where smartly dressed waitresses carry exquisitely crafted cakes through the stylish ambience of the economic miracle years.

Mon to Fri, 9am to 6.30pm, Sat 9am to 7pm, Sun 11am to 6pm, Obenmarspforten 7, 50667 Cologne,

Café Jansen by Fassbender
The shelves at Café Jansen by Fassbender are brimming with sweet delicacies.

Cologne’s most glorious view – at Café Reichard

At this place, with its pink velvet seats, guests can choose from 50 different cakes, pastries, handcrafted chocolates, truffles and much more. The speciality is the layered baumkuchen. With 400 seats inside and another 400 outside, Café Reichard, established back in 1905, is not only one of the largest cafés in Cologne – it’s also one of the loveliest and offers a view of the cathedra’s main portal. The building was destroyed in the Second World War but local broadcaster WDR bought it and rebuilt it in its original neo-Gothic style.

Daily, 8.30am to 8pm, Unter Fettenhennen 11, 50667 Cologne,

Café Reichard
As well as being one of the largest and most recommendable cafés in Cologne, Café Reichard (established in 1905), has a prime location with a view of the main portal of Cologne Cathedral.

Tradition updated at Café Osterspey

Young pastry chefs Lea Schlosser and Kevin Thomas Kleber only took over this café – including the furniture and name – in 2021. There’s been a cake shop here, managed by the Osterspey family, since 1919. With their fresh lemon tartlets, fruit gateaux and petits fours – baked daily and mostly using regional ingredients – the new team have brought this place into the 21st century. Rather than seeking to be a hip café, their aim is to preserve tradition – rooted in today.

Tues to Sun, 10am to 5pm, Luxemburger Straße 267, 50939 Cologne,

Café Osterspey
Tradition rooted in today: young pastry chefs Lea Schlosser and Keven Thomas Kleber have turned Café Osterspey, opened in 1919, into a modern meeting place for lovers of Kaffee und Kuchen.

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