Four great Cologne bars to watch the beautiful game
“Go on, shoot!”, “sack the manager”, “my Gran could play better” – in Cologne’s football bars the air is often blue with impassioned language of this kind. Staring at the hallowed wall-mounted ground, fans go through a heady mix of emotions, in which ecstasy, anger and disappointment are often experienced just seconds apart.
Regardless of whether it’s the Bundesliga, the Champions League, the Euros or the World Cup, football draws us to the bars en masse. Watching together is fun. And can be done in any number of bars. Nevertheless, when it comes to the beautiful game, some bars stand out. In the following, I take a quick look at four of Cologne’s most noteworthy football bars.
German for boot, Stiefel is located on Zülpicher Strasse, in Cologne’s vibrant student district. Surrounded by a seemingly endless row of identikit cocktail bars, Stiefel is instantly recognisable thanks to its strikingly colourful facade. A local institution, the bar has been part of the popular neighbourhood’s fabric for years. Inside its down-at-heel interior provides the perfect backdrop for an evening that could easily go on way past the final whistle.
In the 2016 film Collide, Oscar-winning actor Anthony Hopkins even shot the place up.
High noise levels in the bar make conservations difficult at times but the excellent music, football tables and freshly tapped Kölsch beer more than make up for this.
Zülpicher Str. 18, 50674 Cologne
Zum Goldenen Schuss
Born out of the desire to watch football, Zum Goldenen Schuss (The Golden Goal) opened its doors for the first time in 2010 when six university students wanted to watch the World Cup in South Africa with friends. Stumbling across the vacant bar in Cologne’s Belgian Quarter, the friends acted quickly to establish a football bar that lives on today.
With the 2010 World Cup decided, the lads then turned their attention to renovating the bar. Fitted out with retro wallpaper, street lamps and vintage furniture, Zum Goldenen Schuss quickly morphed into a meeting point for hipsters. On normal days, the DJ plays relaxed hip hop beats, creating the sense that you’re at a low-key house party.
On football days, however, the TV screens come down and the place fills to capacity. Mingling on the platforms put together out of beer crates and in the rows of collapsible chairs, you’ll find every conceivable type of person. One thing unites them: their love of football.
Zum Goldenen Schuss
Antwerpener Str. 38, 50672 Cologne
Gottes Grüne Wiese
Also located in the Belgian Quarter and not far from Zum Goldenen Schuss, is the popular football bar Gottes Grüne Wiese (God’s Green). In this galley-like bar on the corner of Bismark Strasse, fans rarely take their eyes off the big screen during matches. And, no matter whether they’re sitting on a comfy cube or standing, drinking a refreshing Kölsch beer or unconventional cocktail, a relaxed atmosphere prevails throughout, making this a great place to spend the evening. Plus, for those who arrive before or after the kickoff, there’s table football on the mini gallery or seats at the bar.
Another great option is Neumann, a cosy bar on Subbelrather Strasse in the Ehrenfeld neighbourhood. Its huge screen ensures you’ll get a good view of the game, plus fresh Kölsch beer is on tap to lubricate your discussions about the match. The big bar, occasional free table football and the garish wallpaper all contribute towards Neumann’s atmosphere. A long list of specialty drinks and good music mean the bar also stays full after the game – and even on those days when football isn’t being played.
What’s more, to line your stomach in anticipation of celebrating a win or drowning a loss, all you need do is cross the road. In Hemmer, Neumann’s big sister, you’ll find an extensive menu of tasty football-appropriate food.