Having lived in Cologne for a few years now, I can confidently say this city knows how to drink. When I first moved here, I didn’t realize that Cologne had a local reputation as a party city. On top of our massive annual Karneval festivities (i.e. Mardi Gras), Cologne is a popular destination for bachelor and bachelorette parties. Needless to say, this city knows its way around a good ‘ol fashioned bar!
From long drinks with cool vibes to fancy cocktails that will tantalize your taste buds, Cologne has an impressive array of watering holes to suit every preference. For those seeking a more sophisticated drinking experience, Cologne boasts a remarkable selection of bars specializing in fancy cocktails. The city’s mixology scene is far more diverse than I initially expected. Skilled bartenders, such as Stephan Hinz or Volker Seibert, craft exquisite and innovative concoctions that ensure you’ll sip on a meticulous yet perfect drink.
Whether you’re a local looking for a new hangout or a visitor eager to explore Cologne’s vibrant nightlife scene, this is the blog post for you. Curated by a local expat, get ready to embark on an exciting journey through Cologne’s best bars, where delicious drinks, friendly vibes, and unforgettable experiences await.
What You'll Find in this Article
Where to Find the Best Bars in Cologne
Long Drinks & Cool Vibes
Originally opened in 1990 by a famous local musician, Hallmackenreuther has a charming vintage aesthetic on a picturesque side street off of Brüsseler Platz in the Belgian Quarter. The dim neon sign has become the cafe’s iconic calling card. You’ll find simple drinks and snacks on the menu. This is the type of place where afternoon turns into evening turns into night without having to get up from your table. It is cozy and friendly. For a few weeks per year, Hallmackenreuther offers pop-up themes, such as a Stranger Things pop-up prior to the last season’s release date.
- Address: Brüsseler Pl. 9, 50674 Köln
- Website: http://hallmackenreuther.koeln/
Award-winning mixologist Stephan Hinz helms the bar at Little Link. Serving up delicious and unusual cocktails, this chic yet comfortable spot in the Belgian Quarter was named the “most innovative bar in Cologne”. The drink menu features seasonal ingredients which rotate throughout the year, as well as year-round cocktails and long drinks. And the prices are reasonable! There are cozy seats inside or a small patio out front along Maastricterstrasse. If you’re feeling peckish while sipping your cocktails, try one of their creative grilled cheese sandwiches.
- Address: Maastrichter Str. 20, 50672 Köln
- Website: http://www.littlelink.de/
This was one of the first bars I ever visited in Cologne, and to this day, I keep coming back! There is a buzzy atmosphere at Herr Pimlock every day of the week, thanks in part to its convenient location on bustling Aachener Straße. The menu is absolutely massive, well suited for larger groups with diverse tastes. The quirky aesthetic and mismatched furniture adds to its charm.
- Address: Aachener Str. 52, 50674 Köln
- Website: http://www.herrpimock.de/
If you’re looking for a nightlife vibe but not a massive club, Acephale is a good choice. It is located right next to Bahnhof Süd in the heart of the student district. There is live music or DJs most weekend nights as well as a modest sized dance area. Depending on the DJ, you can dance the night away to funk, soul, hip-hop, electro or techno. Plus, it has free admission and a great drink selection! On weekday evenings, guests cavort outside drinking Kölsch in a relaxed open air atmosphere.
- Address: Luxemburger Str. 46, 50674 Köln
- Website: http://www.acephale.de/
With candlelit tables, hushed chatter and dim lighting, Café Storch is the ideal place for a date. It oozes a romantic ambiance, especially during the dark winter nights. The menu has a wide range of cocktails, wine and non-alcoholic options, including a delightful hot chocolate. This is a place you can sit back, relax, and sink into endless conversation over several glasses of your favorite beverage. In the summer, there is a streetside terrace where you can watch the action on Aachener Straße.
- Address: Aachener Str. 17, 50674 Köln
- Website: https://cafe-storch.de/
I just love this stylish little cocktail bar. Rosebud combines a stylish ambience with excellent service and first-class drinks. Located just a stone’s throw from the wild, student hustle and bustle of Zülpicher Straße, I like to come to the Rosebud when I want to feel like I’m part of the nightlife without actually being part of the nightlife. You know what I mean? High-quality drinks adorn the menu, like a good Ginger Basil Smash or Espresso Martini, but the prices are totally affordable. The cozy ambience is suitable for all kinds of occasions, from a social evening with friends to a romantic date.
- Address: Heinsbergstraße 20, 50674 Köln
- Website: http://www.rosebudbar.de/
One of the most prestigious cocktail bars in Cologne is Toddy Tapper in Agnesviertel. From incredible presentations in delightfully fun glassware to unique and creative flavor combinations, the cocktails coming out of this bar are truly excellent. You will certainly try something new here! It was actually named one of the best restaurants in all of Germany. The menu can be indecipherable at times, but the expert staff can offer customized recommendations based on your preferences. It is usually full, so don’t be surprised if you wait for a few minutes to sit or order. In summer, you can also enjoy the fine cocktails on the small, cozy terrace with pallet furniture.
- Address: Schillingstraße 27, 50670 Köln
- Website: http://toddytapper.de/
If you love great drinks and want to be seen by Cologne’s in-the-know folks, Samuel’s Shep is the place for you. It can be a bit snobbish here, but I find the expertly crafted drinks are worth it. Offering elegant furnishings in a chic space, this is a nice place for a date night. Their cocktails appeal to all the senses and that goes for the classic drinks as well as the house creations. If you’re not quite sure what to order, ask the bartenders for a recommendation. The professionals are guaranteed to mix you the right cocktail, tailored perfectly to your flavor profile and preferences.
- Address: Rathenaupl. 5, 50674 Köln
- Website: https://www.instagram.com/samuels.shep/
Perhaps the fanciest spot on this entire list, Seiberts is the kind of bar you come to for a special occasion or if you want to impress someone. Named after the legendary mixologist Volker Seibert who founded this bar, Seibert’s Classic Bar & Liquid Kitchen was even listed in the book “150 Bars You Need to Visit Before You Die”. From the minute you arrive, the experience begins. As in, you enter by ringing a doorbell and being escorted inside the swanky space or to the liquid garden terrace out back. The menu reads like a cocktail encyclopedia with sections, recipes and definitions of ingredients. Options include elaborate cocktails from classic to creative, all served by pompous but knowledgeable staff in an extraordinary ambience. It’s no coincidence that Seiberts is considered one of the best bars in Germany.
- Address: Friesenwall 33, 50672 Köln
- Website: https://seiberts-bar.com/
Weinkneipe Zur alten Wettannahme
This is my neighborhood wine bar, and it is just the coziest little place. The atmosphere is always welcoming and friendly. With an extensive menu of regional and international wines, you can discover your next latest wine obsession. I find their white wine selection especially good. The food here is also really tasty, although you might find the service to be a bit slow. All the more reason to linger and enjoy another glass of vino.
- Address: Alteburger Str. 16, 50678 Köln
- Website: None
Henne Wine Bar
For true wine lovers and experts, Henne Wine Bar is an excellent choice. The curated menu offers something for everyone, including a wide selection of natural wines, under-the-radar labels and iconic vineyards. Those who have no idea about wine can sit back, relax and put themselves in the trustworthy hands of the extremely friendly staff. Many great options are offered by the glass. I love the modern design and quirky art at Henne. The food is also noteworthy! Enjoy a number of share plate dishes alongside your wine. In summer, ask for a seat in the bright inner courtyard.
- Address: Pfeilstraße 31-35, 50672 Köln
- Website: http://www.henne-weinbar.de/
Beer Bars (Other Than Kölsch)
Look, I love Kölsch as much as the next gal, but sometimes you just want something else. Enter Delirium. Situated in the heart of the Altstadt, this is a nice place to bring guests you don’t fancy a light refreshing Kölsch while exploring touristic highlights of Cologne. There are lots of beers on tap, ranging from Belgian beers to US imports. I can always count on finding a sour ale or lambic here. The vibe can be mixed depending on the bartender or music playing. But in general, I like it.
- Address: Salzgasse 2-4, 50667 Köln
- Website: http://deliriumcafe-koeln.de/
Craft Beer Corner
I’m married to a bit of a beer snob, and this is his favorite place in Cologne to come for a craft beer. With more than 15 different types of beer on tap and over 100 more in the bottle, you can sample a wide range of flavors and styles at Craft Beer Corner. I also love the beer mural painted inside, spreading out almost like a family tree of beer. With board games and comfortable seating, this is a nice place to hang out for a few rounds. If you’ve always wondered how beer is actually made, you can learn at one of the beer workshops they offer!
- Address: Martinstraße 32, 50667 Köln
- Website: http://www.craftbeercorner.de/