Cologne Guide for Tourist
ENTERTAINMENT AND NIGHTLIFE
Cologne explodes in celebration during Karneval, a week-long pre-Lenten festival made up of 50 neighborhood processions in the days before Ash Wednesday. Weiberfastnacht, Feb. 19, 2004, is the first major to-do; the mayor mounts the platform at Alter Markt and abdicates leadership to the city’s women, who then find their husbands at work and chop off their ties. The weekend builds up to the out-of-control parade on Rosenmontag (Feb. 23,2004), where everyone gets and gives a couple dozen Butzchen (Kolsch dialect for a kiss on the cheek). While most revelers nurse their hangovers on Shrove Tuesday, pubs and restaurants set fire to the straw scarecrows hanging out of their windows. For more info, pick up the Karneval booklet at the tourist office.
Roman mosaics dating back to the third century record the wild excesses of the city’s early residents; they’ve toned it down only a bit since. The best way to know what you’ll get is to pick up the monthly magazine Kolner (‚1). The closer to the Rhine or Dom you venture, the more quickly your wallet gets emptied. After dark in Hohenzollernring, crowds of people move from theaters to clubs and finally to cafes in the early morning. Students congregate in the Bermuda-Dreieck (Bermuda Triangle), bounded by Ziilpicherstr. Ztilpicherpl. Roonstr. and Luxemburgstr. The center of gay nightlife runs up Matthiasstr. to Miihlenbach, Hohe Pforte, Marienpl. and the Heumarkt area by Deutzer Briicke. Radiating westward from Friesenpl. the Belgisches Viertel has slightly more expensive bars and cafes.
Papa Joes Jazzlokai, Buttermarkt 37. Papa loe’s reputation for great jazz and good times is legendary. Drinks are pricey, but a Kolsch (‚3.60) goes a long way. Grab some peanuts when the sack comes around. Open daily 7pm-3am.
Stadtgarten, Venloerstr. 40. Take U6, 15, 17, or 19 to Fresenpatz. Two clubs for the price of one. Downstairs spins techno and house; upstairs, the concert hall is renowned for its live jazz recordings. Cover ‚4-5. Open M-Th 9pm-lam. F-Sa 9pm-3am.
Das Ding, Hohenstaufenring 30. Smoky and very noir. A popular bar and disco for students with varied music and dirt-cheap drink specials (under ‚1). Cover around ‚4. Open M and W 9pm-2am, Tu and Th-Su 9pm-3am.
Alter Wartesaal, Johannisstr. 11. In the basement of the train station. Enormous dance floor fills with trendy 20-somethings. Cover ‚8. Hours vary.
M20, Maastrichterstr. 20. U6 to ftucofpatz. Distinguished DJs deliver some of the city’s best drum ‘n bass to locals. Open M-Th 10pm-2am, F-Sa 10pm-3am.
GAY AND LESBIAN VENUES
Hotel Timp, Heumarkt 25 (www.timp.de), right across from the bus stop. This outrageous gay-friendly club and hotel has become a virtual institution in Cologne for travesty theater. Nightly crowds come here to see the gaudy and glitter-filled cabarets. Shows daily from l-4am. No cover, but your first drink is ‚8 weeknights or ‚13 on weekends.
Gloria, Apostelnstr. 11. A former movie theater, this popular cafe and club is at the nexus of the gay and lesbian scene. Cover around ‚7. Cafe open Tu-Sa 12pm-lam.
Vampire, Rathenaupl. 5 (240 12 11). Take U7 or 9 to Zupc?er Patz. Mostly lesbian bar enchants regulars with its mellow feel and a mysterious drink served in test tubes (‚3.50). Open Su and Tu-Th 9pm-2am, F-Sa 9pm-3am.