NOTE: This is an archive article. For an updated and expanded Cologne article click DailyXtraTravel
Markus & Hans-Jürgen of Hands, Cologne
You know you've reached the city when you sight the towering cathedral (or Dom, as it's called). Cologne (or Koeln) boasts a raucous gay populace that liberally imbibes Koelsch, a
local alcoholic brew that's vouchsafed as being healthy!
Christopher Street Day Cologne, or CSD as it's commonly known, is held in just about every major city in Germany. But this gay pride event takes on giant proportions
in Cologne. The annual Cologne Pride takes place each July and includes cultural events, discussions, forums, street parties, and dance events. See their website for future dates.
Near the Heumarkt tram stop, Checkpoint
Cologne (Pipinstrasse 7) is a queer knickknack store that serves as a sort-of community center of sorts and offers the latest info
about whom, what, and where.
Gaestehaus Koeln (Pleilstrasse 43, entrance on Kettengasse; +49-221-257-0950) an ideal choice for location on a decidedly gay street in the Rudolfplatz area. Five clean, comfortable rooms and check-in is by appointment.
Hotel Ariane (Hohe Pforte 18-21; +49-221-23-6033) in the thick of the other gay area around Heumarkt. The no-frills room are clean and comfortable, and a hearty breakfast buffet is part of the deal.
Hotel Altera Pars (Thieboldsgasse 133-135; 49 221 27 2330) an ideal location at the center of Cologne, a short walk to most everything.
Marsil (Schaafenstrasse 27; 49 221 999 0942) single rooms from 60 euros, doubles at 80, lovingly done up with kitchy second hand furniture. Ensuite baths, and WiFi is standard. Sleep late, there's no room service to wake you. Bar on the ground floor, open til the wee hours is tiny, but usually packed bar with a preppy crowd.
There are two distinct pockets of gay activity: the areas around Rudolfplatz, and the streets around Heumarkt, closer to the Dom/Central
Blue Lounge (Mathiasstrasse 4-6) a lounge and dance club with a young and fun mixed-gender gay crowd.
Boners (Mathiasstrasse 22) renowned for hard cruising with cage, sling, dark rooms and porn movies, with fist-fucking and other fetish parties on Mondays, and naked Sunday events from 3-10pm, followed by a beer bust until 1am.
Casino Eck (Kasinostrasse 1a, at Stephanstrasse) gay friends bought old local pub, invited over all their neighbors, young and old, for lots of fun.
Clip (Stephanstrasse 4) young casual crowd, weekend dancing, karaoke, special parties and drag shows.
Cox (Muehlenbach 53) bar for bears and "real men" . The big paw above the door is a sure giveaway of the big guys within.
Deck 5 (Mathiasstrasse 5) men only sex and fetish bar, open from 10pm to 5am daily, and on Saturdays until 9am Sunday.
Edelweiss Cafe (Stephanstrasse 2) is popular with older guys.
Ex Corner (Schaafenstrasse 57-59) long-time local favorite bar, cheerful yet cruisy, with mainly 25-plus crowd. Check their playful website for specials, tips and links for gay Cologne.
Iron (Schaafenstrasse 45) an American-style cocktail lounge with finger food for a mixed-age gay crowd.
iXbar (Mauritiuswall 84) cocktail bar, formerly "Park," was redone with modern decor, handsome staff , beer and cocktails and DJs playing the music.
Max bar (Am Rinkenpfuhl 51) modern cocktail lounge playing dance music seven nights, goes late until 4am Friday/Saturday, with open-end hours Sundays.
Sun (Richard Wagner Strasse 25) cruise bar in Rudolfplatz area, has darkrooms and many varied nights of leather, naked, and fetish events.
Sasch's Bar (Wetzlarerstrasse 2) neighborhood bar with a great international mix of people, and special nights.
Bar Silver (Hohe Pforte 13-17) formerly Zipps, men's leather bar where guys of Bear Pride, November 2009, chose to spend much of their time.
Station 2b (Pipinstrasse 2), Cologne's newest, biggest fetish club has a dance floor, lounge, cruising darkroom, labyrinth, slings, water sports bath tub and cabins, -- open to men of every kind.
Zum Pitter (Alter Markt 58) tiny traditional gay pub, with large outdoors terrace for people watching, especially the passing breeder boys casting furtive glances.
Several one-night and circuit gay parties are hosted around town. The roster changes constantly, but these are a few of them.
On Tuesday nights,
Funky Chicken at Triple A Club (Rudolfplatz) pulls a young and styish crowd.
Each Wednesday from 10pm
Pink Triangle has a bash at Club Neuschwanstein (Mittelstrasse 12-14).
At The O (An d'r Hahnepooz 8) there are weekly
gay Friday nights called Heroes.
Cock-Pit a circuit party popular with bears, at Alter Wartesaal (Johannisstrasse 11) takes place on November 27, 2009.
For other fun with bears see information at Bears Cologne.
GreenKomm at Nachtflug Club (Hohenzollernring 87, Friesenplatz), on first Sundays, is one of North Rhine-Westphalia's most popular gay circuit party nights.
Afternoon Teadance at
Loom Club (Hohenzollernring 92, Friesenplatz) has a mixed crowd every first Sunday, from 5pm.
Restaurants and Cafes
Brennerei Weiss (Hahnenstrasse 22) is the quintessential gay diner where you may see everyone you've cruised in Cologne, over German and international cuisine.
Era (Friesenwall 26) a friendly cafe/bar, open 10pm to 1am, with good service, wholesome and inexpensive fare.
Cafe Rico (Mittelstrasse 31-33) is a gay cafe for breakfast or lunch, or people-watching from their corner terrace.
Cologne has four gay saunas.
Babylon (Friesenstrasse 23-25), rated among the best in the Europe, is an elegant institution with outdoor pool that attracts beauties from all over the continent. A must-do in Cologne.
Der Faun (Handelstrasse 31) has classic steam and Finnish saunas, sun beds and rooftop terrace.
Phoenix (Richard-Wagner Strasse 12 ) popular with a local young crowd, has a bar, Jaccuzzi and saunas.
Vulcano Saunabad (Marienplatz 3-5), "not a palace, not very big," but everyone's made to feel welcome here. A bear favorite.
Minutes from Central Station, Club Valentino (Altenberger Strasse 13) "house of boys" has two-legged tourist attractions to spend time with at the bar that features strip shows, or in their rooms (one with Jacuzzi), or for escort service take-out.
Local leather and rubber outlets include:
DOME (Handelstrasse 27) fulfilling erotic dreams with leather/latex/steel gear, uniforms, T-shirts, fetish/bondage
paraphernalia and toys; and
Corium Leather (Mathiasstr 15) for fine custom leather apparel and accessories.
NOTE: Parts of this article were updated October 2009.