indie travel guide                                                                                                      home
a city by city guide to the best indie clubs, bars, record shops and local bands

Cologne, Germany

by Sabrina Stawiarki

If you are looking for one of the most multicultural and open minded cities of Germany, Cologne is the right place! Of course the main things that the Rhine metropolis is universally known for and which attract a large number of tourists every year are certainly the Dom catherdral and the Carnival. So if you go there during the 5th season, as the local call the carnival time from November to February – don’t be scared if strangers play tricks on you, dance with you or even try to kiss you – that’s all part of the game! Despite this exciting tradition and its many historic sights, Cologne has another face, namely that of an absolute media and music city. Many related business such as record labels, designers and TV productions attract young people from all over the world and help to create a vivid creative scene. Certainly best known to the German indie-crowed is the Cologne based monthly magazine INTRO which has been involved in setting up and promoting a large number of leading indie clubs and events such as the legendary Popkomm. Years before the Popkomm (Germany's most important event for the pop industry) moved to Berlin, Cologne was the proud and some say better host for this major event along the two city rings. However, Cologne has not lost its good reputation for being certainly one of the most exciting cities to visit. Nightlife in the city will never become boring as there are multitude of bars and clubs offering everything you might be looking for!


I Love Pop
The newest and most exciting new promoter for club nights and concerts. In different locations the resident DJs Mike and Jochen present the latest hits and usually a fine selection of indie-classics. As a true indie music lover you certainly will feel at home at an I Love Pop event!

Brüsseler Straße 96, 50672 Köln, Saturdays
A weekly club night at the x-ray club hosted by another popular DJ collective. Usually spinning a good mixture of indie, pop, wave, electronics, 60s pop and northern soul sounds. On their homepage you can also find related links, information about up coming events and record reviews.

Luxemburger Str. 37, 50674 Köln, Saturdays
Regular Saturday club night playing more popular indie-tunes at Cologne's best known venue the Rose Club.

To be honest, there are almost too many great places to go in Cologne, so this is just a very small selection of places worth visiting. One piece of advice: you simply can’t go wrong when you head for the Luxemburger Strasse!


Blue Shell
Luxemburger Strasse 32, 50647 Köln
Located at the heart of Cologne's nightlife district around the Lumenburger Strasse, the Blue Shell hosts regular concerts and is frequently occupied by film teams who use the location as production set.

Gebäude 9
Mühlheimer Strasse 127-129, 51063 Köln-Deutz
The former factory building has become one of the leading concert locations, but also hosts theatre, readings and movie screenings as long as it fits their motto: unusual, independent and eccentric!

Live Music Hall
Lichterstrasse 30, 50825 Köln-Ehrenfeld
Ehrenfelds leading live venue - although the program mainly includes big names there are a good number of indie acts every now and then.

Prime Club
Luxemburger Strasse 40, 50674 Köln
Well known indie venue, the prime place to go and see your new favourite band live! There is at least once a week an act worth seeing!

Rose Club
Luxemburger Strasse 37, 50674 Köln
Probably the best known club in the city. A very young audience is dancing to the latest and most popular tunes every weekend.

Stereo Wonderland
Trierer Strasse 65, 50674 Köln
A very unconventional mixture of bar and club in one very comfortable place. Being a bar with occasional live music during weekdays, the Stereo Wonderland turns into a regular club on weekends – truly a musical wonderland any time of day every day!



Roonstrasse 19, 50674 Köln
As the name already implies the music is 60s based, but the DJs won’t limit themselves to just one genre. Cocktails and snacks are served throughout the night which makes the Boogaloo an ideal place to start the night or simply have the last drink before returning home.

Hammond Bar
Metzer Strasse 25, Köln Südstadt
Spinning vinyl only, the Hammond Bar’s resident DJs are especially known for 60s beat and soul tunes! The stylish but also very cosy bar is frequently packed with a good crowd of locals who usually start their night out at the Hammond Bar.

Körnerstrasse 67, 50823 Köln
The absolute best place to start the day in Cologne! The friendly team makes sure to please their guests with the freshest food in town. The spacious rooms attract many young people from the media; nevertheless the atmosphere is still very familiar!

Though you will be probably be busy with attending as many clubs and concerts as you can, make sure you get a bit of the local tradition as well. There are a large number of bars or pubs serving the traditional Cologne beer ‘Kölsch’. Take you time with the locals there, they may appear a bit strange at first due to their funny dialect, but they are very entertaining and open minded and certainly will tell you something about their hometown you won’t find in any city guide!

Record Shops

Kleiner Griechenmarkt 28-30, 50676 Köln
Nice little store selling mainly indie, electronica and experimental pop music.

Vogteistrasse 16, 50670 Köln
Indie, rock, pop, punk, hardcore, electronica and lots of vinyl, also DVDs and magazines.

Parallel Schalplatten
Aachener Strasse 5, 50674 Köln
CDs and vinyl of almost every genre, new and second hand.

Plankgasse 11-13, 50668 Köln
Selling new and second hand vinyl and CDs

Underdog Record Store
Ritterstrasse 52, 50668 Köln
Selling almost every genre: new and second hand though they specialise in punk and ska.

Local Bands


Cologne's loveable band Klee plays a new kind of German pop. If you like pop with catchy melodies and some electronic beats you will like Klee – though you have to know some German to understand the lyrics.

Peter Licht
True German pop avantgarde! If you are familiar with the phenomenon 'Neue Deutsche Welle’ which took over Germany during the 1980s you understand what Peter Licht does, namely continuing this spirit of arty German pop.

Urban disco punk from Cologne. The powerful and very danceable tunes remind of Nena and Kraftwerk, but much more straightforward.

The Royal We
Uniting independent pop from Cologne and Birmingham!

Urlaub in Polen
And once again urban alternative dance music - Cologne is certainly the capital of electronic indie music. Urlaub in Polen concerts are a very intense live experience!


As the Kölner Dom cathedral is ever present there is no need to mention that it is worth seeing! The inner city and the main ring with all the shops and sights lie in walking distance, so one is automatically led to the historic town and the popular places like the Mediapark.

c/o pop
After the Popkomm left the Rhine city, Cologne hosts the also very popular festival c/o pop (cologne on pop). The focus lies on local urban electronical music, indie, pop, and club culture. Since its start in 2004 (usually taking place in various clubs in mid August every year), the c/o pop has attracted a large number of visitors, and many popular acts like Battles, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Arcade Fire, Chicks on Speed, Maximo Park, The Infadels, Nouvelle Vague and many many more.

Rheinauhafen 1 a, 50678 Köln
Something completely different but nonetheless very much fun! In the museum you get to know everything about chocolate and taste it of course! Visitors can attend special tours and workshops or simply shop for gifts. Make sure you don’t miss the chocolate fountain!

Main Cologne photo copyright

If you'd like to recommend a club, bar, record shop, band or any indie delight for inclusion in the Indie Travel Guide, please email us. If we've included a link to your band/shop etc, it would be lovely if you could link back to us. Thank you!

                 cologne messageboard                  contact us                        myspace page

city index                                                                                                                                     site map







eXTReMe Tracker