Cologne Bars

Trankgasse 7-9
Alt KölnThis is the closest bar to the station and the cathedral steps. It is easily spotted because of the large clock on the front. It is a lot bigger than it looks inside, but as it the weather was good I sat outside at the pavement tables. Not the biggest pavement terrace I've ever encountered but handy nonetheless. Surprisingly, for its location, it was not that busy.
Früh am Dom
Am Hof
Früh am DomI think that this must be the Altstadt's busiest and most popular place. If you walk sort of forward and left from the front of the cathedral it is in the next street, tucked in a corner. It is also joined to the main shopping street by an alcove, which might explain its popularity. On a sunny weekend it can be hard to find a free table outside. Inside there are lots of rooms on different floors which cater to all tastes, as they range in decor from gothic to modern. Have a look on your way to the toilets.
Buttermarkt 39
BiermuseumGod awful place, full of very drunken tourists, the sort that don't normally get out much. I think it must be the loud music that attracts them. It's a shame, given the large beer range (admittedly mainly lager, but rauchbier and weissbier are on offer). Worth a look in on an afternoon perhaps, when it is quieter. There are a few tables outside to the side.
Gaststätte Lommerzheim
Siegesstrasse 18
Gaststätte LommerzheimThis place took me ages to find as the map I had didn't have all of the streets on and I wandered round the nearby huge empty exhibition centre buildings for ages before finding it. There is a map at the end of the street it's on which was handy. It is on the other side of the river and involves a bit of a walk. This place was an institution in Cologne and visitors (including Bill Clinton) came from all over the world to visit it. After all that walk though, it was closed when I got there. On returning home I discovered that out that the owner Herr Lommerzheim sadly passed away in June 2005 at the age of 74, so this place will never be the same again, I'm sad to have just missed it.

Latest News: I've heard that that it has reopened March 2008, mostly unchanged but with new seating in the cellar.

Brauerei zur Malzmühle
Heumarkt 6
MalzmühleThis place brews the best Kölsh, in my opinion. It is more malty than the rest and just seems to have more taste. It is a bit tricky to get there as it is at the very far end of the Altstadt square, past the statue of a man on a horse, and you have to go under a subway and cross a few roads to get to it It looks uninviting from the outside and I particularly don't like the large tacky Afri-Cola ads, but once you go through the revolving doors, yes revolving doors, it is a lot more convincingly rustic with wood panelling and tables. They do a reasonably priced Kölscher Kaviar (black pudding) with onions, gherkins, black and white bread and butter, a meal in itself. They do other food as well, the proper meals are huge. One couple had a whole chicken each, with potatoes as well.
Brauerei Päffgen
Friesenstraße 64-66
PäffgenThis brewery is quite a long way from the Altstadt but is still an easily walkable distance away. Their Kölsh is highly regarded by Kölsh officionados but to be honest it all tastes much the same to me. This place goes a long way back once inside. At the front is the serving area where the Kobes (waiters) get the beer from, you can't get served here, you must take a seat inside. To the right and left of here are dining/drinking rooms and if you walk further in there is a big room with opening roof panels. If you walk further back still there is an outside courtyard with views of the brewing equipment.
Papa Joe's Jazzlokal
Buttermarkt 37
Papa Joe's JazzlokalAlthough this place advertises live jazz, which I don't really get (jazz that is), it seems to specialise in New Orleans type jazz (like in "Live and Let Die") which is much better. It is a small place with good atmosphere and appears to have good accoustics. They don't charge a cover but their beer is €1 more than anywhere else. As it is more difficult for waiters to navigate this place you get your beer in 0.4l glasses instead of the standard 0.2l's served elsewhere. They also have a larger place on the square.
Thurnmarkt 7
PaulanerThis place is easier to find if you've already been to the Malzmühle, just turn left as you come out of the door and it is at the end of the street. It is interesting in that they don't serve Kölsh, just their own Paulaner range. A weissbier can be a refreshing change from the ubiquitous Kölsh. The place has a sporting theme inside and were screening football when I was there. They have quite a few tables outside at the front as well.
Peter's Brauhaus
Mühlengasse 1
Peter's BrauhausThis place has an upmarket look and feel to it but, as everywhere in Cologne, the prices are reasonable. They have quite an extensive menu, I had pork, bacon, black pudding, smoked pork, sauerkraut and mashed potato for €11, a bit more than I usually pay but I was on holiday. It was a huge plateful and I struggled to eat it all. They serve their own Peter's Kölsh to accompany it. They have a beer garden which is some way from the pub on the corner of the square, where it gets more sun.
Brauerei zum Pfaffen
Heumarkt 62
PfaffenThis place is right on the corner of the square and the small standing area outside gets very busy at weekends. You can't avoid this place, you will walk past it even if you dont go in as it is at the start of a busy Altmarkt street. It is a good place to stand (if there's room) and watch everyone passing. They serve their own Pfaffen Kölsh.
Brauhaus Reissdorf
Kleiner Griechenmarkt 40
ReissdorfThis place is a bit out of the way and is used just as a local bar, but it is the brewpub of Reissdorf Kölsh. It is quite modern but the bar has an impressive copper dome structure above it worth seeing. It is on the way to, or back from, the Weissbrau so you might as well have a look in on the way.
Bierhaus en d'r Salzgass
Salzgasse 5-7
Brauhaus en d'r SalzgassThis is a quite large and popular place on a main Altmarkt street, between Pfaffen and Sünner. It gets very busy and even though it is huge inside it can be hard to find a seat. There is also a small beer garden at the back. It has more of a pub atmosphere than a restaurant even though they do also serve huge meals. The huge iron medieval light fixtures on the ceiling are worth seeing.
Brauhaus Sion
Unter Taschenmacher 5

Brauhaus SionI didn't go into this place as it looked more of a restaurant than a pub from the outside, athough I may be wrong because so does Peter's. It is the brewpub of Sion Kölsh, maybe next time I will have a look in. As you can see from the picture it is quite a big place.
Sünner im Walfisch
Salzgasse 13
Sünner und WalfischThis is a small place which is the main outlet for Sünner Kölsh. The main room has long tables for drinkers and eaters and on the right as you go in there is a small tap room where you can sit and watch the casks coming up on a lift and being tapped on the bar. As well as the normal measures, they serve 3 and 5 litre measures in tall tubes with a tap on the bottom, to stand in the middle of the table. They also have their own bottled weissbier. There are a few standing tables outside which do not seem to get used much.
Am Weidenbach 24 Pantaleonswall
WeissbrauThis is another brewery which is a bit out of the town centre, but is worth walking to as they brew three different beers. They brew their own Kölsh, and they also brew a dark altbier which they serve in a pot mug, and of course they brew a weissbier. There is a copper brewing vessel downstairs and a strange copper arrangement of taps on the bar. There is an upstairs beer garden as well as the one outside.
All opinions expressed on this site are my own. Please notify me of any errors / omissions .

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