Papa Joe's Jazzlokal Em Streckstrump
Famous far beyond Cologne: Papa Joe’s "Em Streckstrump" is "Germany's oldest jazz bar with live jazz every day”. Photo: Jochen Buschmann

Cologne – city of jazz

Cologne is the home of jazz in Germany. If you're looking to explore the city's rich jazz scene, check out these names and places.

The best jazz bars in Cologne

Famous the world over: Papa Joe’s Em Streckstrump jazz bar

Em Streckstrump
Jazz bar Em Streckstrump hosts live concerts every day Photo: Em Streckstrump

Jazz bar Em Streckstrump is famous far beyond Germany’s borders. Established in 1974, it’s hosted nearly 17,000 concerts, from international acts to local luminaries. Right up until he passed away, Cologne musician Josef Wilhelm “Papa Joe” Buschmann was often to be seen at the piano ivories here. Today, his sons have picked up the baton. There are still free band performances and two concerts on Sundays, with the focus on Dixieland, New Orleans jazz and swing.

Wednesday to Saturday, starting 7 pm
Every Friday and Saturday: Disco night, half midnight to 3am
Admission free
Buttermarkt 37, Cologne

Metronom: THE pub for jazz

Like the device it’s named after, the Metronom jazz pub knows how to keep the beat going. It might not look like much from the outside but inside, there’s a world devoid of music streaming, where the bar staff serve up the perfect combination of warm-sounding vinyl records and cool-tasting kölsch or Guinness.

Tuesday to Sunday, from 8pm
Weyerstraße 59, 50676 Cologne

Stadtgarten: a hotspot for all jazz and improv fans

Stadtgarten Köln
Cologne’s Stadtgarten is one of the city’s top jazz hotspots. Photo: Stadtgarten Köln

Stadtgarten, on the edge of the inner-city park it’s named after, was set up by Initiative Kölner Jazz Haus e. V. in 1986. With its concert venue, club (Jaki), café/restaurant and beer garden, it enjoys a well-established reputation as one of Cologne’s top hotspots for jazz and improvised music.

Cologne Jazzweek – A jazz festival for the city of jazz

Festival „Cologne Jazzweek“
Cologne Jazzweek 2022 is taking place from 13 to 20 August with more than 40 concerts planned. Photo: Cologne Jazzweek

Cologne’s jazz scene is as vast as it is varied as well as enjoying Europe-wide acclaim. And the same goes for the Cologne Jazzweek festival that was launched in August 2021. Designed as a forum for a musical dialogue between performers from Cologne and around the world, the festival will continue this year, from 13 to 20 August, with more than 40 concerts lined up.

When? 13 to 20 August 2022
Festival tickets start at 118 euros
Single-event and day tickets start at 12 euros

Jazz concerts in Cologne in 2022


A jazz session every Tuesday, starting at 8pm, for local and international performers.
Tuesdays, Artheater

Jazz am Rathenauplatz

There’s a jazz performance here every Sunday (weather permitting), mainly featuring musicians from Cologne.
May to September, Rathenauplatz

Chamber Remix Cologne

Performances by chamber jazz formations with live electronic remixes after.
8 May, 3+ 4 June, 4 September, Kunsthafen im Rhenania; 30 October, Urania-Theater

WDR Big Band

“Jazz with a twist” from Cologne’s WDR Big Band and guest stars.
19 May, Philharmonie

Frederik Köster

A trumpeter who flits between chamber jazz, improvisation and electronic music.
22 May, Filmhaus Köln

Helge Schneider

A legend in Germany, Helge Schneider is all the proof you need that jazz and humour are a match made in heaven.
5 June, Philharmonie

Open-air summer concert

A series of concerts and workshops held by Offene Jazz Haus Schule in Bürgerpark Kalk.
11 June, Bürgerpark Kalk/Offene Jazz Haus Schule

The Three Cohens

A concert by the trio from New York, accompanied by the WDR Big Band.
16 June, Philharmonie

Cologne jazz greats

Karolina Strassmayer: the first woman in the WDR Big Band

Voted one of the top five alto saxophonists by jazz magazine “Downbeat” in 2004, Karolina Strassmayer has lived in Cologne for many years and was the first woman to join the local WDR Big Band. She also plays with and composes the music for Quartett Klaro!

Karolina Strassmayer
In her element: jazz musician Karolina Strassmayer.

Georg Ruby: a Cologne icon

Musician, composer, curator and university lecturer Georg Ruby was one of the founders of Cologne’s Jazz-Haus-Initiative in 1980, set up the “First Cologne World Orchestra” in 1984 and supports new artists looking to carve out a career in jazz. George performs as a solo pianist and a leader of big bands and small combos.


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Ariane Jacobi: jazz made in Cologne

Cologne-born Ariane Jacobi started out young as the front woman of various jazz formations and a presenter for radio formats such as “Jazz twenty 5“ and “Schellackschätzchen” for local broadcaster WDR. She’s a sought-after concert performer, lending her own touch to standards and showcasing her self-crafted, swing-style compositions.


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Klaeng Records – championing musical freedom

In 2010, the musicians who make up Cologne’s ­Klaeng-Kollektiv launched the Klaeng Festival, following it up three years later with the addition of an open-air event. Their eponymous record label was born in 2014 and is a non-profit project aimed at ensuring maximum musical freedom for the artists signed to it.

Klaeng Records
Klaeng Records is an independent German music label, managed by Klaeng Jazzkollektiv in Cologne. Photo: Nadine Heller-Menzel

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