Zwei Menschen stoßen mit Cocktails an.
Cocktails, mocktails, kölsch or shorts – whatever your tipple, you can be sure of a great night out in Cologne's pubs. Photo: Andrii Medvediuk/Getty Images

Something for everyone – seven Cologne pubs that cater for all tastes

From crowd pleasers to rock joints to stylish bars, once you've stepped inside these Cologne pubs, it'll be hours before you leave!

A good night out at the pub is all about the right mix of ingredients. It’s not just the drinks that create an unforgettable experience – the atmosphere, furnishings, music, clientele and the people behind the bar are crucial too. But which Cologne pubs have what it takes to make the evening perfect?

1. Im Schnörres – a firm favourite in the Cologne pub scene

When this popular Cologne pub with its huge golden moustache had to shut down in 2017 due to complaints from neighbours, there was a lot of mourning and the farewell festivities went on for an entire week. But the new Schnörres, which has stayed in the city’s Südstadt district, has gone on to become a firm favourite with Cologne’s night owls. It’s bigger, has a dancefloor and its exposed walls and red wooden counter lend a nice trendy touch.

But Schnörres has plenty more to offer: decently priced, premium drinks (try the Schnapskartell spirits or the espresso martini), a wide range of DJ sets (including a number of local big names) with a masterful mix of music and then there’s the profound fondness for Cologne’s karneval tradition. Wednesday is gin day with 2 euros off any gin. There’s also a fantastic selection of wines (including sparkling wine) and non-alcoholic drinks. They have snacks too – just in case you get an attack of the nighttime nibbles.

Dreikönigenstraße 2, 50678 Cologne,,

2. Frieda Bar – punk rock’s beating heart

Kölner Kneipen: Der Tresen der Frieda Bar, mit vielen Spirituosen auf Regalen, schummrigen Licht und Barhockern davor.
The calm before the storm at Frieda Bar. Photo: Frieda Bar Köln

Sitting on the edge of the hip Belgian Quarter, Frieda Bar provides a welcome contrast to the other offerings around Brüsseler Platz square. Pure punk, stoner rock and heavy metal fill the airwaves, expertly chosen by the city’s most bewhiskered DJs and usually played at a conversation-friendly volume. Definitely one of the top pubs in Cologne for guitar music.

As well as kölsch, they serve Jever on tap and a mucho delicioso Mexikaner shot too. The atmosphere’s warm and friendly and it feels as if the guests are all old friends. Don a woolly hat and a hoodie and you won’t need any more dressing up than that. Two great features here are the vintage wooden bar, giving the place the flair of a quintessential British pub, and the patterned wallpaper for even more of a living-room vibe.

Antwerpener Straße 53, 50672 Cologne,

3. Die hängenden Gärten von Ehrenfeld – a locals’ local

Kölner Kneipen: Ein Kneipentresen mit Spirituosen und Gläsern auf einem Glasregal sowie einem roten Blumenfeld an der Decke, an der Lampen kopfüber hängen.
The calm before the storm again – this time at Die hängenden Gärten von Ehrenfeld. Photo: Thomas Pollmann

Die hängenden Gärten von Ehrenfeld (literally, “the hanging gardens of Ehrenfeld”) is without doubt one of the city’s top pubs for a perfect night out. A lively local during the week, it often gets really full at the weekend. But it still feels as if the convivial customers congregated beneath the artificial flowers suspended from the ceiling all know each other – that’s how chilled and cheerful the mood here is.

Patrons sing along to Britpop and indie hits and a pleasantly chaotic atmosphere hangs in the air. The service is great thanks to a smooth-running team of quirky bar staff that lend the place a large portion of the charm that makes it so special in Cologne. Be sure to try the “Gärtner” herb schnapps! Apart from being a pub, Die hängenden Gärten also hosts a number of small concerts by indie artists. A Cologne pub that truly does have everything you could wish for.

Vogelsanger Straße 140, 50823 Cologne,,

4. Die Wohngemeinschaft – a home from home

Some pubs in Cologne almost feel like home. Take Die Wohngemeinschaft, for instance. It’s a hostel, café and a bar – all rolled into one. The interior has been made to look as if it were a home-share (that’s what Wohngemeinschaft means), inhabited by four fictitious characters. In Lolo’s room, you can admire the flowery wallpaper whilst you sip on your coffee; Jojo’s room has a camper van to chill in; Björn’s room is full of sculptures; and Mai-Li’s room is the setting of many a table-tennis match. You can reserve the rooms for private groups in the afternoon and enjoy the delicious direct trade coffee with a slice of cake like Grandma used to make from Café Braun. Or, if you’re more the savoury type, order a bowl of soup, which Die Wohngemeinschaft sources from Meister Lampe.

In the evening, everyone gets together in the dimly lit bar. The atmosphere is warm and relaxed here too and it’s easy to find someone to chat to over a Dolden Sud IPA craft beer or an apple, cherry & elderberry vodka. There’s also a terrace outside, open from April to October, where the Mühlen kölsch instantly tastes twice as good – naturally.

Richard-Wagner-Straße 39, 50674 Cologne,,

5. Bumann & SOHN – a contemporary industrial aesthetic

Kölner Kneipen: Eine helle Halle mit Industrial-Look-Barhockern und -Tischen, unverputztem Gemäuer und stylischem Betonboden.
At the weekend, Bumann & SOHN’s exposed concrete floor fills up with dancers. Photo: Bumann & SOHN

If you’re looking for a stylish bar for your night out, head for Bumann & SOHN in Cologne’s Ehrenfeld district. This trendy watering hole features a contemporary industrial aesthetic – including open brickwork, ventilation pipes hanging prominently from the ceiling and homemade bar stools. On Friday and Saturday evenings, it takes on a club-like vibe with live DJ sets and dancing ’til dawn on the exposed concrete floor. And the great thing is: admission is free! They often have live concerts here too; tickets can be bought in advance.

Bumann & SOHN really comes into its own in the summer, when the beer garden opens (weather permitting). With its wooden chairs, benches, loungers and piles of brightly coloured cushions, this is the perfect place to chill outdoors. A wide range of snacks are available from the food trucks that park up here, adding to the experience. And when the temperatures drop and the season turns jolly, this space is also where you’ll find the Ehrenfeld Christmas market.

Bartholomäus-Schink-Straße 2, 50825 Cologne,,

6. Pegel – a conversation starter

It may not be Cologne’s most original pub, but perhaps that’s precisely why Pegel (on the outskirts of the Belgian Quarter) offers the ideal backdrop to a fantastic evening out. There are lots of comfy places to congregate – even if you’re with a large group – and a range of live DJs covering a broad spectrum of styles. The music is never too loud and you can actually have a proper conversation!

At the long bar with its dozens of stools, you’ll quickly get chatting to other guests, and the fast and friendly team behind the bar keep you supplied with beer and delicious long drinks. This is a place with tasteful, functional furnishings and no frills, lots of space and in the summer they even have tables and chairs on the pavement outside. It all combines to attract a broad mix of friendly, fun people, making Pegel a wonderful place to savour the evening with good friends – present and future.

Brüsseler Straße 10, 50674 Cologne,,öln-256804787688559/

7. Lotta Bar – a cult Cologne pub

Kölner Kneipen: Eine mit Stickern beklebte Kneipe mit schwarzem Tresen und Barhockern.
Lotta Bar ready to invite guests in. Photo: Marco Ziemann

Lotta Bar, just off Cologne’s Chlodwigplatz square, has been around for over 20 years and hasn’t really changed much in all that time. I mean that in the nicest possible way though! True, the legendary leopard-skin wallpaper behind the bar had to go the last time they redecorated but the red star in the logo and the much-loved table football game have remained the trademarks of this Cologne pub.

People still come here to watch the 1. FC Köln and FC St. Pauli football clubs’ matches and Cologne’s carnival-goers like to drop by for a party too. The rest of the year the customers and staff alike are wonderfully easy-going. It’s simply a nice place to enjoy a fairly priced glass of kölsch in a laidback atmosphere with a tastefully crafted acoustic backdrop of punk, soul, ska and indie pop classics. The guests may have grown a little older along with Lotta, but a constant flow of new visitors succumbs to her charms too. This place is also proof that Cologne pubs can take a political stance: run by a dedicated collective, Lotta is firmly rooted in the city’s left-wing alternative scene.

Kartäuserwall 12, 50678 Cologne,,

If it’s good cocktail bars you’re after, make sure you read this!

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