Papa Joe's is my favourite spot in whole of Cologne, it is the place where I've spend my two Colognese nights before going to sleep. The club is situated in Buttermarkt, which is a foot from my hotel. Unfortunately I couldn't take the picture inside the club, but trust the atmosphere is hot hot hot.
What you'll find here is tons of beer and very good live classical jazz music performed by the local gropus. The place is overcrowded, the inside temperature must be over 30C degrees, you can't avoid elbow but who cares about. The inside atmosphere is extremely friendly, totally relaxed and everobody is enjoying being a part of an happy crowd. Do not miss it when in Cologne.
Dress Code: No dress code!
Unfortunatelly I was here during a day only when strolling around, entering to take a juice. Have noticed mixed age attendants from juniors up to seniors of my age, but all lovers of real rock n' roll. The music was good, mostly oldies since it was early afternoon time. The ambient is nice, a kind which rock fans like alot. It is situated very close to the old core of the town but I didn't catch the name of the street.
As you walk around town this building stands out with its bright orange facade and ornate wooden entrance. Even it were not a pub it would get my attention. But it was once Altstadt Päffgen, the brewery's oldest old town pub and was still the case on my 1999 visit. In 2001 the pub owner who's name if Pfaffen had a fight with the brewery and decided to open his own brewery and hence the name change. It seems more a restaurant now though there are some stand up barrels in the back and the Kölsch is still served from wooden kegs. I had been looking for the Päffgen so was a bit disappointed though it led me to discovering that brewery's great off the beaten location 20 minutes north of the old down center. Pfaffen's beer was certainly drinkable and the interior of the pub is well worth going in for one just to see it.
Dress Code: A homey pub and casual wear seems the norm.
Früh is one of the most touristy Kölsch brewpubs in Cologne because it is huge inside and because it is only a five minute walk from the Central station. But being huge means there is space for locals and tourists alike and the atmosphere is accordingly cheerful with stroppy waiters to go with it :))) A great start to any night out. Come early if you insist on seats as it fills up in no time. During carneval you can almost forget getting in...
Dress Code: Relaxed
Papa Joe's is a great German bar. In here you will find an eclectic mix of germans and tourists. The music is traditional and kitch, behind the bar are anamatronic figures that get up and dance to the German Um Pa Pa Jazz music.
There is music all the time - some live and when not then on speakers.
The decor is twenties style and cramed with posters and artifacts of the age.
Beer is standard excellent German fare and they also serve food but we didn't have any. The real draw is the atmosphere, we saw a bunch of bikers walk in and sit at a table with an old couple they had never met, and within minutes everyone was dancing together. A really friendly good humoured hang out.
We sat next to the bar and the only draw back was that I dropped a playing card which went underneath the seating area, if anyone is there when they are refurbishing, and finds my 2 of diamonds let me know!
Dress Code: None required
Cologne's Lanxess Arena (formerly the Koelnarena) claims to be Europe's largest indoor concert and sporting venue. The Arena is located on the east side of the river, a short walk from the main railway bridge, and hosts big name concerts as well as indoor sporting events.
Past performers include Paul McCartney, Kylie Minogue and Eric Clapton and coming events (September 2010) include Sting, Peter Gabriel and Supertramp.
Details of forthcoming concerts can be found on the website which also has an online booking facility.
I titled this tip "it depends on the show", as the E Werk is just the location, what you see there depends on their schedule. But I'm going to write about my impression of this venue. We had booked our tickets a long time in advance and it said on them there are chairs in the hall. No assigned seats, but chairs. Entrance was at 7pm, and when we arrived at 6:30 there was already a long line.
When the doors were opened, everybody went in, only to realize there were no chairs, but low benches without any backs. People kept coming and coming, there were announcements not to use up too much space, so that everybody could sit. It was very uncomfortable and quite a lot of people had to stand.
I don't know how the management had estimated the number of people in a row. It looked like they had thought everybody is anorexic. Many people were complaining about this. You don't buy a ticket for a show and then have to stand for the whole three hours.
The management should take into account the average age of the ticket holders, for some shows geared towards teenagers they could sell more tickets, but events which attract older people and senior citizens less tickets sold would lead to a much better impression.
The show which we saw was fantastic and I loved every minute of it, but still it must have been very hard for those who had to stand.
On my first night in Cologne, I stopped for a Reissdorf Kölsch at the Reissdorf-Stübchen which was close to my hotel (Hotel Domstern) on Domstrasse. I sat at the bar in this small, local pub. Over a Kölsch, I had a disjointed conversation with a friendly German. Unfortunately, his grasp of English was not much better than my present grasp of German (which is minimal).
This small pub is a nice local spot, but it is not someplace to which I would go out of my way to find. Decent place to relax over a Kölsch if you are in the neighborhood.
Before dinner at Peters Brauhaus, our group met over Kölsch under an umbrella at the Rhein-Hotel St. Martin. The umbrella came in handy as it rained on and off during our stay. Our waiter was a young kid who tried to be funny, but really wasn't. Nevertheless, our VT group had a great time drinking Kölsch by the Rhine River.
During my second night in Cologne, I enjoyed a nice chat with two young German women and an Irish bartender in The Corkonian Irish Pub in the Alter Markt. I ordered a Kölsch, and it was served in a large glass (not a traditional 200ml Kölsch Stange).
The Corkonian is a friendly Irish pub in a great location. Experience Kölsch, Irish-style.
Dress Code: No special dress requirements
The final stop of the May 24, 2008 VT meeting in Cologne was the Pfaffen Brauerei Max Päffgen. Our group sat outside and enjoyed good conversation over some Pfaffen Kölsch. To celebrate my last night in Germany, I also had a shot of Jägermeister.
Dress Code: No special dress requirements
Tickets to see the excellent Waterboys for us. Prime Club is a fairly small venue and packed to the rafters for this gig, so hot, crowded and a great atmosphere, plus a wonderful performance by Mike and the boys.
This club attracts many top names, check out their wesite for upcoming event.
One thing even the non-beer tourist will notice about Cologne is it's preponderance of pubs. You can't walk more than 100 feet without going by one. There are also a lot of different varieties of Kölsch. In the late 1980s there were 20 breweries in Cologne, more than any city in the world but the number has now dwindled to 12 with many of the bigger ones taking over the smaller. There are still quite a few varieties of Kölsch to try and Reissdorf is one of the more ubiquitous. I found the beer quite fruity on my first trip and didn't get to see how the beer has changed on my recent stopover. Hey. there's only so much beer....er, I mean time in a day. ;)
Brauhaus Sion is another typical Kölsch brewpub and very conveniently located in scenic part of the old town down by the river. Two things that make these places so great is you can go in and stand at the bar (unlike most places in Germany) and Kölsch comes in small glasses (only .20 liters) so you can try many of them in one day! Sion's version was one of the drier ones and it had a great loud atmosphere as its patrons obviously enjoyed the products of the brewery.
Dress Code: One of Cologne's more down to earth pubs so I felt fine in jeans.
Früh am Dom is not just a restaurant but a busy pub especially for the after work crowd. The place is huge so there's lots of different setting depending on your mood. The downstairs has a great stand up bar and they hoist the wooden barrels of beer in from the cellar via a pulley system. The beer may be small but the waiters are adept at getting you a fresh one as soon as you finish. I actually think you wind up drinking more this way!
Dress Code: Lots of suits again but we felt fine in jeans.
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