As soon as the first rays of sunshine appear, the people in Cologne swap seats in their dim corner pub for a wooden bench in one of the city’s beer gardens and indulge in local foods and cold Kölsch. Here’s our guide to 10 of Cologne’s best beer gardens.
This leafy beer garden has arguably the prettiest setting in Cologne. Right on the city’s green belt, guests sit shrouded by large chestnut trees, away from the busy Venloer Straße. The Mediterranean food is fantastic, the staff is very attentive and the beer cold. At the end of November, the Christmas market opens, fairy lights illuminate the trees and wooden huts open up selling crafty things, delicious foods and mulled wine.
This idyllic beer garden is situated right next to the pond in the Volksgarten park, the most popular green space in Cologne’s south. It’s a great place to relax in the sun and an even better place to rent a paddleboat and venture across the 14-acre lake. Hellers beer garden offers seasonal dishes, schnitzel, steaks and pasta along with their homemade sauces, but the real treat is their organic beer.
In the warmer months, the green areas around Aachener Weiher pond become one of the city’s most popular hangouts. Locals, tourists and students escape the buzzing city centre, which is just around the corner, to have BBQs, sunbathe or play sports. The beer garden at the foot of Hiroshima-Nagasaki Park serves hearty German meals, pizzas and cold beers and is a great spot to soak up the atmosphere.
From April through to October a community-run beer garden enhances the Rathenauplatz square. Just a minute away from the nightlife district on Zülpicher Strasse the beer pavilion welcomes guests to sit down and sip on a glass of cold beer. The food comes from the Stadtgarten restaurant and the beer from the nearby Hellers brewery. During summer, every Sunday afternoon a jazz band plays between 5 pm and 7 pm.
The Odonien is many things: an artist’s workshop, nightclub, a location for concerts, plays, flea markets, festivals and cultural exchange. And a beer garden. Surrounded by green plants and rusty metal sculptures by artist Odo Rumpf, the location is unique. On the menu are tarte flambée, salads and hamburgers – or you order some raw meat and sausages and fire up one of the BBQs available yourself.
The Playa is a combination of a beach bar and beer garden, open year-round and particularly popular among sporty types. The sitting area overlooks five beach volleyball courts which can be rented by the hour and in winter, an ice rink for skating and curling covers the sandy pits. The restaurant serves a choice of burgers, including vegetarian options and salads.
Cocktail Bar, Gastropub, Pizzeria, European, Vegan, Vegetarian, $$$
The Herbrand’s is an old-established venue and has one of Cologne’s largest beer gardens with 1,000 seats. Green plants dotted around the copious outside area provide a cosy atmosphere. Various snacks, pizza, pasta, burgers and steak can be ordered from the bar. The menu changes seasonally but always includes a vegetarian and vegan option. If you get tired of beer, a selection of cocktails is also available.
View from the Rheinterrassen in Cologne | KölnKongress GmbH/WikiNedia Commons
Located on the right side of the Rhine, the Schäl Sick, the Rheinterassen beer garden offers a great view of Cologne’s skyline. Guests can pick a seat on either their long wooden benches or, if lucky, snatch one of the comfy beach chairs. On Sundays, the garden opens at 12 noon and is a popular lunch locale. A stroll over Love Lock Bridge takes you back to the city centre.
On site of a defunct freight yard, the Maybach is known for its unique setting and a crossover cuisine ranging from sophisticated risotto to no-frills Bratwurst with potato mash. Their Sunday brunch is particularly popular.