Welcome to Cologne’s premier nightlife guide.
On this page, you’ll discover the vibrant and varied nightlife scene in Cologne. You’ll find the perfect venue for you and your preferred night out. Whether you want to go all-out clubbing or if you’d like a more laid back dinner and drinks with a view, we’ve got your covered.
A little introduction to Cologne
Cologne is the largest city of Germany’s most populous federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia, and its 1 million+ (2016) inhabitants make it the fourth most populous city in Germany after Berlin, Hamburg, and Munich. The largest city on the Rhine, it is also the most populous city both of the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Region, which is Germany’s largest and one of Europe’s major metropolitan areas, and of the Rhineland. Centered on the left bank of the Rhine, Cologne is about 45 kilometers (28 mi) southeast of North Rhine-Westphalia’s capital of Düsseldorf and 25 kilometers (16 mi) northwest of Bonn. It is the largest city in the Central Franconian and Ripuarian dialect areas.
The city’s famous Cologne Cathedral (Kölner Dom) is the seat of the Catholic Archbishop of Cologne. There are many institutions of higher education in the city, most notably the University of Cologne (Universität zu Köln), one of Europe’s oldest and largest universities, the Technical University of Cologne (Technische Hochschule Köln), Germany’s largest university of applied sciences, and the German Sport University Cologne (Deutsche Sporthochschule Köln), Germany’s only sport university. Cologne Bonn Airport (Flughafen Köln/Bonn) is Germany’s seventh-largest airport and lies in the southeast of the city. The main airport for the Rhine-Ruhr region is Düsseldorf Airport.
Cologne was founded and established in Ubii territory in the 1st century AD as the Roman Colonia Claudia Ara Agrippinensium, the first word of which is the origin of its name. An alternative Latin name of the settlement is Augusta Ubiorum, after the Ubii. “Cologne”, the French version of the city’s name, has become standard in English as well. Cologne functioned as the capital of the Roman province of Germania Inferior and as the headquarters of the Roman military in the region until occupied by the Franks in 462. During the Middle Ages, the city flourished as being located on one of the most important major trade routes between east and west in Europe. Cologne was one of the leading members of the Hanseatic League and one of the largest cities north of the Alps in medieval and Renaissance times. Prior to World War II, the city had undergone several occupations by the French and also by the British (1918-1926). Cologne was one of the most heavily bombed cities in Germany during World War II, with the Royal Air Force (RAF) dropping 34,711 long tons (35,268 tonnes) of bombs on the city. The bombing reduced the population by 95%, mainly due to evacuation, and destroyed almost the entire city. With the intention of restoring as many historic buildings as possible, the successful postwar rebuilding has resulted in a very mixed and unique cityscape.
Cologne is a major cultural center for the Rhineland; it hosts more than 30 museums and hundreds of galleries. Exhibitions range from local ancient Roman archeological sites to contemporary graphics and sculpture. The Cologne Trade Fair hosts a number of trade shows such as Art Cologne, imm Cologne, Gamescom, and the Photokina.
The Nightlife in Cologne
If you are looking to experience some great nightlife, Cologne is definitely the place for you. Cologne is the largest city in the German Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia and the fourth-largest city in Germany. Cologne is a major cultural center for the Rhineland, as it hosts more than thirty museums and hundreds of galleries, in which exhibitions range from local, ancient Roman archaeological sites to contemporary graphics and sculpture. The Koelnmesse host a number of trade shows, such as Art Cologne, Imm Cologne, Gamescom, to name a few.
Summer can get quite humid in Cologne, meaning the city’s peak season is actually in the fall, so don’t be surprised if your hotel costs more in October! Spring is also a good time as the beer gardens start to open up and the city awakens from its winter slumber. That said, it’s worth going in winter too for the famous Christmas markets, and the city’s carnival begins in February!
Experience the cool nightlife of Cologne!
The streets of Germany’s most beautiful city, Cologne, are best known for its nightlife and party atmosphere, with people from all over the world. The city has a buzzing nightlife, with more than 70 clubs and party hot spots. Hurry now to Cologne and get a sneak peek at their amazing nightlife.
Cologne Carnival Party
Carnival in Cologne is a festival of fancy dress, with no limits to the imagination. The Carnival costumes are usually very bright and sometimes lacking all possible “elegance”. The closing times for pubs and bars are suspended for the duration of the festival, which gives the visitors a healthy chance to enjoy the nightlife of the city, thoroughly.
Love Lock Bridge
The Love Lock Bridge in Cologne stands as a symbol of affection, shown by the thousands of ‘Love Padlocks’ locked to the bridge. As a tradition, the sweetheart’s names or initials are inscribed on the padlock and its key is thrown away, to symbolize unbreakable love. It is a beautiful spot, with a spectacular night view and a must visit for love birds.
Cologne Dinner Cruise with All-You-Can-Eat Buffet & Drinks
Splendid evening views of illuminated bridges and grand old buildings form the backdrop for your dinner while sailing the River Rhine. An all-you-can-eat buffet with local and international specialties combined with live music by DJs ensures an enjoyable night on the water. Board a spacious riverboat moored near the vibrant heart of Cologne. Tastefully decorated interiors provide a pleasant environment to relax in, while large panoramic windows make sure you don’t lose sight of the enchantingly lit-up city as you peacefully sail the river. Tickle your taste buds with a wide selection of cold and warm dishes, including appetizers, soups, main courses, salads, and desserts – all tastefully arranged in an all-you-can-eat buffet including drinks (wine, beer, soft drinks). To complete the evening experience, feel free to hit the dance floor as a DJ spins records, or just relax as the boat gently glides under the moon.
Cologne Cable Car
Cologne cable car is the ropeway that traverses across the River Rhine in Cologne and is a major attraction. There is a series of breathtaking views when it travels to and from the fortress. It was opened on April 26, 1957, for the biannual German horticulture show. The cable car offers a majestic view of Cologne and is also famous for its mesmerizing sunset views. In its long years of operation, the cable car has so far transported 13.7 million people without even a single accident. It is considered to be the safest means of transport by the people of Cologne. The cable car is a landmark to have on your list while you are in Cologne. Take the cable car and travel down to the Rheinpark to enjoy a toy train ride in the park.
Best Bars in Cologne
While it comes to enjoying the bars in Cologne, head to one of their expansive beer halls for a true party atmosphere. Grab a pint of traditional Kölsch local beer and soak in the sights and sounds. Wandering waiters will supply you with another beer without you even having to ask. For one of the best cocktails in Cologne, head to Ona Mor, where only the most premium of ingredients are used to create their expert mixology. Or why not head to Pepe, a cute, quirky bar in the center of the city’s Belgian quarter and relax on their patio, cocktail in hand. Week-long street parties and festivities that run through the night take place from Women’s Carnival Day on ‘Fat Thursday’ until Ash Wednesday the following week. The bars in Cologne truly create an experience not to be missed.
This is one of the smartest bars in Cologne. Though near the student neighborhood of Zülpicher Strasse, this is in no way a student bar, rather a chic cocktail den serving exquisite drinks confidential recipes. They use fresh, premium ingredient and serve innovative original drinks (served with truffle-popcorn on the side, yum). There are savory notes to a lot of their drinks, with ingredients including cucumber, liquorice, and black pepper – though not in the same drink. The gin and tamarind Hang Tang also sounds really appealing. The interior is sleek and smart and flatteringly lit, the bartenders really know their stuff – they’d happily tailor a drink to your tastes if you asked.
This quirky bar and restaurant is situated bang in the heart of the city’s Belgian quarter. Cocktails are the best thing at Pepe. Order a decent martini or something a little more inventive for that matter and enjoy in pleasant surroundings. If the weather allows, slink out to the patio and nab an outside table. As well as cocktails, they stock a good range of whiskies, brandies as well as a nice array of cherries; the Spanish-influenced menu is equally good, especially the fantastic tapas plates. Prices are reasonable. Staffs are efficient and friendly.
Engel & Weiss
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.
Furry red walls, delicate lighting and a bunch of perennially unenthusiastic hipsters are par for the course at Scheinbar. Since the name of the bar means ‘apparently’, one begins to suspect the whole endeavor is a little tongue-in-cheek. Nevertheless, the cocktails are good, the beard game is strong and if a night out with the Belgische Viertel’s great and good doesn’t warm your heart, then you are just what the bar is looking for.
Seiberts-Classic Bar and Liquid Kitchen
Seiberts – Classic Bar and Liquid Kitchen is one of Cologne’s most spectacular hotspots and features one of the most acknowledged bartenders, worldwide. The bar has also been listed among the “10 most influential bars in Europe”. Seibert has the ambiance of a grand hotel, with its high ceilings, chandeliers, dark, red, heavy curtains, original Chesterfield sofas, along with 100 percent, feel-good atmosphere. The bar has a delicate selection of the finest culinary delights for late night hunger, combined with the best spirits for unique taste experiences.
Best Bar Restaurant in Cologne
While Cologne City bars scene continuing to raise and innovate, it is no wonder that a restaurant bar would be a great idea to go with. Cologne City has some of the best restaurants that serve delicious food along with great cocktails and drinks that blend perfectly with the food to provide a great combination. The best thing to do is to choose a bar that also serves delicious food. That way your need for booze and craving for the food will be catered under the one roof. Therefore, to fulfill your extreme craving for delightful food and awesome booze, we have gathered a list of Cologne City’s best bar restaurants and definitely, they are good enough to stimulate your taste buds too:
Petere’s Brauhaus is the king of Cologne’s breweries and a place where quality German micro-brews and tremendous food go together. Indeed, it is an absolutely stunning setting, with the interior of painted glass ceilings and mahogany furniture. Choose from one of the region’s top micro-brews, the Peters Kölsch, and eat the pork chops with dumplings or the sauerkraut with beer sausages on the side.
Die Fette Kuh
Bursting with burgers, hot dogs and more burgers, Fette Kuh, meaning ‘fat cow’, is the king of the grill in Cologne. The 200-gram juicy meat classic is roasted until it reaches that perfect rose color, and the natural vegetarian counterpart makes this place even more awesome. Worth watching out for here is the Philly steak burger, a massive, heavenly steak covered with caramelized onions, sautéed mushrooms, and Cheddar cheese.
Luxurious and modern Konrad is a restaurant specializing in cross-culture haute cuisine. The mahogany wooden interior augments the entire select atmosphere of the restaurant and the modern, metallic furniture is designed to complement the cutting-edge vibe with finesse. On the table, the highlights are the breakfast buffet, the beef carpaccio, and the delicious Boston fresh fish buffet.
Ox und Klee
Playing with the concepts of haute cuisine, Ox und Klee is a modern restaurant that reinvents art at the level of the gourmet. On the table stand colorful plates arranged with careful regard for the flavor’s entanglements, such as Dutch mackerel in foamy sauce lined with white asparagus with buttons of avocado, pinches of grapefruit and seasoned with malts and Iberia pork with eggplant and lemon salt.
Taverne Alekos is a famous restaurant in Cologne, serving classical Greek specialties, since 1974. The place caters to the needs of all age groups and has great hospitality, along with a touch of ancient Greece.
Vendome Gourmet Restaurant
Vendome is certainly one of the best picks of Cologne City when looking for a nice place to have great food and drink. Not only does it impress with its brilliant setting and atmosphere, but Vendome also boasts an exquisite wine selection as well as a delightful traditional and international menu. Ranked as a top restaurant in the wonderful city of Cologne, Vendome serves a distinguished and classy glass of wine alongside a delicious blend of modern and conventional German cuisine.
Gaffel am Dom
Gaffel am Dom is often referred to as the loveliest restaurant in Cologne City, with a rich menu and wonderful setting. The restaurant serves an incredibly tasty German cuisine, examples of must-try meals are the so-called Kölsche Kaviar aka Black Pudding, and Halver Hann – an extremely delicious vegetarian meal that will make you want to lick your fingers. Being Germans’ favorite restaurant, Gaffel am Dom can offer visitors a rich variety of scrumptious meals, a local and foreign wine selection, and wonderful desserts at affordable prices.
Best Nightclub in Cologne
The nightlife in Cologne is pulsating and with more than 70 Clubs and party hot spots, it offers something for everybody, from Jazz, Reggae and R&B to Techno. The countless Bars, Restaurants, and Brew-houses also invite visitors to party. No other German city has as many pubs per capita as Cologne. You can find a date to hang out with or with your friends hence you can enjoy in every sense in such nightclubs. With literally hundreds of options available, it can sometimes become very difficult to choose or identify a great Nightclub. Therefore, we have come up with the following list of some great nightclubs in Cologne to entertain you:
The Blue Shell Nightclub is sufficiently huge in terms of it’s capacity. Therefore, a lot of dancing space is always available there to entertain visitors. It occasionally hosts an international music act. On other nights, patrons are treated to loud house and dance music. It has a large variety of drinks and great service delivery.
The most legendary Nightclub in Cologne is a junkyard turned hipster magnet with several dance floors, a magic school bus, fire breathing dragon and music ranging from Goa to Disco. Make sure to check who is spinning before you go.
Trash Island bad taste party
If retro pop music is more your jam, check out the Trash Island party. It takes place twice a month in Heinz-Gaul, a club in Cologne’s party district a la “abandoned warehouse”. Upon entry, you receive neon glasses or a headband to help with the trashing up. Several rooms cater to different tastes and a bouncy castle, well, let’s be honest, a bouncy castle appeals to everyone.
There are two things university students in Cologne learn on their first day: the location of the cafeteria and the Das Ding. Over the 40 years old, Das Ding has been a gathering spot for students and it is quite common for ex-students to come back to the city and have a night out at Das Ding to relive their glory days. The vibe is student-friendly, because it is purely for students, but if that’s your jam, then heaven awaits.
For many people in Cologne, Carnival and its music is a year-round event. Klapsmühle is legendary for its unwavering commitment to the cheesy carnival song and is lovingly referred to as Cologne’s Dive Bar. If you want to party to Carnival music, this place is for you.
A legendary venue in unassuming street clothing – but once it spreads its wings, you will see its real colors. At first glance, one is underwhelmed or rather, overpowered by the floorboards which seem to emit the smoke of the millions of cigarettes that were once smoked here, as well as by the decibels that reverberate around the two interconnected spaces. If you had anything important to discuss with your friends, make sure you get that done before you get here, because it’s seriously loud.
Stereo Wonderland–The mate
A club that’s like a good mate: accessible day and night for a chat or, where necessary, six to eight beers.
Stereo Wonderland is really like a reliable friend, easy to find even in the dark thanks to the gaudy paint job that adorns the entrance of this club near Südbahnhof station. No special knowledge of this area is necessary, this being the third corner of this club-land triangle after Blue Shell and Luxor.
Luxor is one of the leading concert and nightclub venues of Cologne that hosts the funkiest parties on weekends. The hip and happening German crowd head to the Luxor to enjoy the groovy music amid a classy ambiance. It’s calendar always boasts of the coolest DJs and the hottest bands. There is also a fully stocked bar. All-in-all a perfect place to hang around with your buddies and watch your favorite artists perform live when they visit Cologne.
In order to conclude the whole article here, it can be said that Cologne is an ultimate destination of pubs, bars, restaurants, nightclubs and loads of fun things one could ever think of. We went through brief antiquity of the city along with the details showing best of the metropolitan venues.
We also discussed the renowned festivals/events and venues which are attracting and showing magnetism to the world to visit Cologne. We then discussed several places to hang-out with your friends and family in the night time.
Coming to the adult nightlife of the city, we established how easy it is to find a good bar to enjoy with your friends/family or a date. Such bars could really offer some great pre-made cocktails for you or you could just ask for a special drink to be served especially for you.
You don’t feel hungry during your outing that is why we have also suggested some of the finest restaurants in the Cologne City that offer exotic and delicious food along with your favorite drinks, so you can really enjoy the taste of good food along with some great booze. And lastly, we went through a comprehensive list of Nightclubs that offered great music with some delightfully exotic options for drinks and cocktail that will polish your overall experience of visit at Cologne City.
All of the aforementioned experiences work together to make your trip absolutely remarkable. A perfect and balanced blend of the above-identified activities can really boost your experience and make your trip really unforgettable.