Hang Out With Locals at These 8 Bars and Clubs in Cologne

Cologne underground I © Dietmar Temps/Flickr
Cologne underground I © Dietmar Temps/Flickr
Photo of Evelyn Smallwood
4 September 2017

The main tourist area of Cologne is the Altstadt, with its colourful medieval buildings, mammoth Brauhauses and bars serving Kölsch by the vat. For a better idea of what life is really like for the city’s residents, venture a few hundred metres further west of the Rhine. Cosy cocktail bars, legendary outdoor venues and even an old church are just some of what awaits.

Die Wohngemeinschaft

Bar, Pub Grub
Map View

A relatively new bar with an unusual concept. The bar’s name means ‘shared apartment’ and it lives up to that by being divided into four rooms with different decors and atmospheres. You can check out the ornate pink girl’s room, the Chinese exchange student’s room with a ping-pong table, or an old VW camper van that can be reserved as a private lounge for €100.

Engel & Weiss

Bar, Pub Grub
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Smart, sophisticated and with snow white decor (its name is, after all, Angels & White), this pub, lounge and nightclub is one for the grown-ups. The big beds in the basement make the evening full of even more possibility. Reserve one and relax with whom you wish.

Shepheard

Cocktail Bar, Gastropub, Pub Grub, $$$
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In 2004, a small cocktail bar opened in Cologne inspired by the famous Shepherd Hotel in Cairo. Tradition and quality, modern innovations and antique cocktail recipes give Shepheard a luxury colonial feel that doesn’t feel stuffy.

Scheinbar

Cocktail Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
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Furry red walls, subtle lighting and a bunch of perennially unimpressed hipsters are par for the course at Scheinbar. Since the name of the bar means ‘apparently’, one begins to suspect the whole endeavour is a little tongue-in-cheek. Nevertheless, the cocktails are good, the beard game is strong and if a night out with the Belgishes Viertel’s great and good doesn’t warm your heart, then you’re just what the bar is looking for.

Odonien

Market, Music Venue
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Between the railway tracks and Pasha, the biggest brothel in the city, lies Odonien – a junkyard joy with numerous events no matter the time of day or the weather. Movie screenings, food truck festivals, unusual parties, concerts and even festivals – it’s not simply a bar, more of an experience you won’t forget anytime soon.

Elektrabar

Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
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With design that harks back to the 1950s and 1960s, an in-house DJ, live concerts and great cocktails, Elektra Musikbar has everything you need for a chill night out around Christophstr. Away from the craziness of the Ring and the hordes of brauhausing tourists, it’s absolutely perfect.

King Georg

Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
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If you ever wanted to try those red vinyl booths from the 1970s strip clubs you see in the movies, King Georg is the place. A bar/concert venue/club just off Eberplatz in north Cologne, it first opened in 1968 as a place where ladies removed their clothes for money. These days the vibe in this tiny little hole-in-the-wall is super chill.