Cologne’s corner bars Hey Cologne, you’re a feeling

“Hey Kölle – Du bes e Jeföhl” (“Hey Cologne, you’re a feeling”) is the title of a song by the Cologne band Höhner (which means “Chickens”). But what exactly is this Cologne feeling?

Well, the best way to find out is actually a Cologne pub crawl, to go where locals drink their famous Kölsch beer - “the only language you can drink”, as they say here in Cologne, for Kölsch means both the beer and the Cologne dialect. After a Kölsch, people warm to the conversation and you learn a great deal about the city and its denizens. This photo gallery will give you an impression of what Cologne is about, what its inhabitants klönen (= talk about), and what its bars look like on the inside.
 
  • Early afternoon at the Brodmühler: Four ladies treat themselves to their first Kölsch of the day. The one sitting in the middle is Monika, who works in a nearby butcher’s shop. Photo: Franziska von Malsen
    Early afternoon at the Brodmühler: Four ladies treat themselves to their first Kölsch of the day. The one sitting in the middle is Monika, who works in a nearby butcher’s shop.
  • For three years now Karoline Köckeritz has been a chef at Linkewitz, which she says is the oldest bar in the city’s Niehl district. On an ordinary Saturday, Linkewitz patrons will consume around 600 glasses of Kölsch. Photo: Franziska von Malsen
    For three years now Karoline Köckeritz has been a chef at Linkewitz, which she says is the oldest bar in the city’s Niehl district. On an ordinary Saturday, Linkewitz patrons will consume around 600 glasses of Kölsch.
  • Tommy, a regular patron, is delighted to see Ossi (left) smiling behind the bar at the Linkewitz again. Because the bartender was ill for a long time. Photo: Franziska von Malsen
    Tommy, a regular patron, is delighted to see Ossi (left) smiling behind the bar at the Linkewitz again. Because the bartender was ill for a long time.
  • Lukas, as well as being a guitarist and singer in the carnival band CABB, is the youngest among the regulars at the Linkewitz. In case you were wondering, CABB stands for "Club für Anonyme und bekennende Bekloppte", i.e. “Club for Anonymous and Self-Avowed Loons”. Photo: Franziska von Malsen
    Lukas, as well as being a guitarist and singer in the carnival band CABB, is the youngest among the regulars at the Linkewitz. In case you were wondering, CABB stands for "Club für Anonyme und bekennende Bekloppte", i.e. “Club for Anonymous and Self-Avowed Loons”.
  • Angelika and Peter at the Goldene Kappes (“Golden Cabbage”). They’ve known each other since 1975 and paired off 13 years ago during a reunion with a bunch of childhood friends. "Now you aren’t going to cut out on me again,” he said to her at the time. Photo: Franziska von Malsen
    Angelika and Peter at the Goldene Kappes (“Golden Cabbage”). They’ve known each other since 1975 and paired off 13 years ago during a reunion with a bunch of childhood friends. "Now you aren’t going to cut out on me again,” he said to her at the time.
  • Bei Oma Kleinmann (“Grandma Kleinmann’s”) is named after its late landlady, Paula Kleinmann, who started up this neighbourhood bar in the Zülpicher Strasse with her husband Willi way back in 1949. At the age of 87 she was still frying Schnitzel here. Photo: Franziska von Malsen
    Bei Oma Kleinmann (“Grandma Kleinmann’s”) is named after its late landlady, Paula Kleinmann, who started up this neighbourhood bar in the Zülpicher Strasse with her husband Willi way back in 1949. At the age of 87 she was still frying Schnitzel here.
  • Jona has been tending Bei Oma Kleinmann’s bar for six years now. He knew Paula Kleinemann personally. She loved to watch boxing on TV, he recalls. Photo: Franziska von Malsen
    Jona has been tending Bei Oma Kleinmann’s bar for six years now. He knew Paula Kleinemann personally. She loved to watch boxing on TV, he recalls.
  • Jakob, Paula Kleinmann’s stepson, is celebrating with his wife Luise their 60th anniversary tonight. That’s quite a long time to be married, but Bei Oma Kleinmann have been selling Schnitzel and Kölsch on the premises for even longer than that. Photo: Franziska von Malsen
    Jakob, Paula Kleinmann’s stepson, is celebrating with his wife Luise their 60th anniversary tonight. That’s quite a long time to be married, but Bei Oma Kleinmann have been selling Schnitzel and Kölsch on the premises for even longer than that.
  • In 2009, Grandma Kleinmann died at the age of 95. The pictures hanging on the walls still give a sense of the lively life and times of Paula Kleinmann. Photo: Franziska von Malsen
    In 2009, Grandma Kleinmann died at the age of 95. The pictures hanging on the walls still give a sense of the lively life and times of Paula Kleinmann.
  • A collector of deposit bottles in front of the Stiefel, once a jazz club, later a punk rock bar. Its glory days are history, say the patrons at Oma Kleinmann. Still, the Stiefel is known throughout Cologne. Photo: Franziska von Malsen
    A collector of deposit bottles in front of the Stiefel, once a jazz club, later a punk rock bar. Its glory days are history, say the patrons at Oma Kleinmann. Still, the Stiefel is known throughout Cologne.
  • A bachelorette party in Cologne’s Belgian Quarter. Where’s the bride? She’s already gone home, she was exhausted, say her girlfriends. The young man in their midst, they say, is the stripper. Whether that’s true is hard to say at this late hour and after so many drinks. Photo: Franziska von Malsen
    A bachelorette party in Cologne’s Belgian Quarter. Where’s the bride? She’s already gone home, she was exhausted, say her girlfriends. The young man in their midst, they say, is the stripper. Whether that’s true is hard to say at this late hour and after so many drinks.