Many visitors are content to while away most of the evening drinking kölsch (the famous local beer) in one or more of Cologne's many brewhouses (singular, brauhäuser), which cross a bierkeller (beer cellar) and a traditional British pub.
Nightclubs and stylish bars are dispersed around the town too. Look in the Altstadt (around Buttermarkt and Salzgasse) or go a little further out to the Belgische Viertel (between Rudolfsplatz and Friesenplatz) to find the biggest concentration of fashionable places to drink and eat. Else the Univiertel (University Quarter), around Barbarossa Platz and Zülpicher Platz, rarely disappoints.
To find out what's on in Cologne, pick up a free monthly copy of the bilingual Köln im… (www.koeln.de/koeln/was_ist_los) from the tourist office.
Bars in Cologne
Boasting the best cocktail menu in town, this laidback bar has Che Guevara as its core theme. It also stocks an enviable range of aged Cuban rums, and serves a wide selection of tapas. Located close to several top clubs, it’s a popular meeting point for those heading out for the night.Address: , Barbarossaplatz 5, Cologne, 50674
Telephone: +49 221 923 5481.
Früh am Dom
Früh am Dom is a labyrinthine brauhaus, where sooner or later everyone ends up. It's always busy but still manages to provide excellent service and top quality food (try the Braühaustopf). Make the most of the chance to drink kölsch, the light, refreshing local beer delivered by bartenders beneath chandeliers and enjoyed besides antique wooden screens and furniture.Address: , Am Hof 12-18, Cologne, 50667
Telephone: +49 221 261 3215.
This cute and quirky place prides itself on the drinks it serves, whether alcoholic or not, with bartenders keen to offer an opinion. When it comes to gin alone, Pepe racks up a count of more than 400 different types. Its accompanying restaurant serves an eclectic mix of food from New Zealand lamb to Hokkaido soup with pumpkin seeds and a Thai vegetable curry.Address: , Antwerpener Strasse 63, Cologne, 50672
Telephone: +49 221 510 1414.
Clubs in Cologne
Whether you're looking for a nostalgic trip back to the 1970s, when disco and soul ruled the airwaves, or prefers modern hip hop and techno, the themed nights at Diamonds can satisfy all cravings. Clubbers pack the dancefloor to strut their stuff to modern house music and retro tunes too, all basking in the reflected beams of a giant glitterball.Address: , Hohenzollernring 90, Cologne, 50672
Telephone: +49 178 517 3273.
With one pub and two concert halls, Underground is less a club, more a whole night out in one. From pop to punk and reggae to retro rock, its ever-changing line-up of performers keeps things fresh. It also throws open its beer garden in the summer and there are open mic sessions every now and then too.Address: , Vogelsanger Strasse 200, Cologne, 50825
Telephone: +49 221 54 23 26.
Wartesaal am Dom
Set in a former waiting room in the vaults beneath Cologne's Hauptbahnhof (central station), this beautifully converted restaurant and club holds house, soul and techno nights each Friday. It’s worth a detour just to look at the facade by night, even if you have no intention of going in. The golden arches backlit against the sky make a striking entrance as revellers make the most of the party atmosphere inside.Address: , Johannisstrasse 11, Cologne, 50668
Telephone: +49 221 12 60 64 70 13.
Live music in Cologne
The largest multifunction hall in Germany, LANXESS arena has hosted the likes of Pavarotti, Eric Clapton, Elton John and Rod Stewart. It's big, it's bold and it's busy but it's the sort of place where you can have a good time if you book your tickets well in advance.Address: , Willy Brandt Platz 3, Cologne, 50679
Telephone: +49 221 8021.
Following Nietzsche's mantra - "Life without music would be a mistake" - this live music venue is a local favourite in Cologne. Its ever-changing line-up features anything from rock and pop to house and indie, and it prides itself on moderate prices, good music and a great atmosphere. This isn't a place for restraint, though and the place pumps through the week as well as at the weekend.Address: , Luxemburger Strasse 40, Cologne, 50674
Telephone: +49 221 924 460.
Papa Joe's Jazzlokal
So pokey the bands almost play on top of the audience, but that’s part of the charm of Papa Joe's Jazzlokal, one of the oldest jazz clubs in Germany. Traditional jazz and swing bands play every night and Sunday afternoon. Admission is free and Sunday afternoon jazz sessions take place throughout the winter months.Address: , Buttermarkt 37, Cologne, 50667
Telephone: +49 221 257 7931.