Flagrant, yet at the same time wet behind the ears, Out UK’s Adrian Gillan dowses himself in
Cologne, or Köln, is Germany’s oldest city, it's fast becoming its queer capital
and its increasingly affordable with flights under £20.
The RAF may have altered the skyline somewhat but that old man river of a Rhine
flows timelessly by, beneath the eternal spires of one of the world’s truly great
cathedrals, as cute young jungen and horny herrs flood the streets of
at least two parts of town.
Photography by Günther Ventur.
Courtesy KölnTourismus Office.
BOY BABES AND BEARS
Boy babes head just west of centre to the strassen around Rudolfplatz; the generally
older leather, SM and bear brigade tend to rivet themselves to the queer cluster
in the older quarter just south of the Rathaus (Town Hall). Indeed, with this
two-centre gay getaway, you’ll know in which camp your bovver boot will largely
lodge. There are far more bars than listed here, but this should give you bearings.
Youth before mature beauty, and a few yards north of Rudolfplatz you’ll stumble
upon a trio of welcoming gay style caffs that could hardly be sniffed at, day or
night. Coffee, cake and chatter really do flow at pine-themed Barflo, where you
can perch yourself and gaze at competing boys who preen and be seen at candle-lit
Era over the road. Or try mad-sounding Dimenti a couple of streets away if you
tire and seek a fresh audience.
Cut down from Dimenti and you’ll hit Ex-Corner, one of Cologne’s most constantly
packed bar-cum-pubs, with a buzzing vibe and patrons of all ilks and ages. It
seems good things always come in threes - with the slightly less crowded Park
and the tiny-yet-cutsy Schampanja - both just around the corner.
Back past Ex-Corner, warm-coloured Schön hooks a young, unpretentious crowd keen
to natter as they mouth along to the latest chart-toppers. Pop along a few doors
and catch up with the latest from your style chums from those earlier caffs who
are now all at IRON, sipping cocktails.
But if you fancy some real men, boot and brace yourself for the other queer crux,
east across town. Best check out the nightly dress code rigour at the likes of Zipp's
on Hohe Pforte or TTK around the corner, as well as nearby rock hard Cox, infamous probing
Hands and legendary kick-me-I-bite Stiefelknecht.
Whatever you hanker, you’ll need some succour. The boys can dine from morn ‘til eve at
Brennerei Weiß back near Dimenti, who’s front room pub is often packed to heaving; the
men have the charming and spacious specials-all-day Quo Vadis on their patch.
With Queen-size bed and King-size dark-room upstairs and harder-than-hard dance floor
music policy below, Chains on Stephanstrasse is the main reason for a young guy to
venture east, but only on a Friday night for Club ENTRY. Saturday’s child would most
likely be frightened away by a strict dress code. And as for Sunday’s sex parties...
Saturday and you’d find your boy down the slightly-too-cool-for-its-own-good Final-D
a short walk south, with its small dance floor and airline seating; or back near
Rudolfplatz at the bigger H90.
But most likely of all, you’ll find him off his
head at CLIP, near IRON, and worth the trip to Cologne alone. Think G.A.Y. but
gayer and all crammed into a place a slither of the size. There’s no better way
than to pass your last Saturday night - as music switches to indigenous German
cheese-pop at about 3am - dancing around in a ring, arms-linked and off your rocker,
with utter strangers who’re so pissed they swear you’re a local!
OUT AND ABOUT
If you still haven’t pulled and it isn’t raining, it’s only a five minute stroll
west to the hilly forested piece of land between the large pond at the Aachener Weiher
and the railway line. If it is raining, there are saunas aplenty. Back in the more
be-leathered eastern quarter try Sauna Club 30 or Vulcano near Chains. In boy-babe
land, try the friendly Der Faun’s all night weekend steam-fest or wallow and orgy
in the mock Roman glamour of Badehaus am Römerturm. Also: boy toy shops abound, with
their naughty knick-knacks and private video booths for those beyond the pull - try
some on Mathiasstrasse to the east or back off Rudolfplatz.
We can fully recommend Hotel Ariane Köln next to Zipp’s.
With its stylish and comfortable décor, fully gay-friendly hospitality and hearty breakfast
buffet, it is ideally located in the heart of the leather district, but a short walk
from everywhere. You can also book other gay-friendly hotels online through our partners
Low cost airline
Germanwings offer flights from London Gatwick or Stansted, Edinburgh and Dublin direct
to Cologne starting at just £5.99+tax.
THE LITTLE BLACK BOOK
Hotel Ariane Köln (Hohe Pforte 19 - 21; T: 0049 221 - 23 60 33; Website)
Badehaus am Römerturm (Friesenstr. 23 - 25; T: 00 49 221 257 70 06)
Barflo (Friesenwall 24d / Kettengasse; T: 00 49 221 2573239)
Brennerei Weiß (Hahnenstrasse 22; T: 00 49 221 257 46 38)
Chains (Stephanstrasse 4; T: 00 49 221 23 87 30)
CLIP (Marsilstein 29; T: 00 49 221 240 92 92)
Cox (Mühlenbach 53; T: 00 49 221 240 04 19)
Dimenti (Hahnenstrasse 16; T: 00 49 221 258 10 85)
Era (Friesenwall 26; T: 00 49 221 271 27 25)
Ex-Corner (Schaafenstrasse 57-59; T: 00 49 221 24 90 61)
Der Faun (Händelstrasse 31; T: 00 49 221 21 61 57)
Final-D (Luxembburgerstrasse 60; www.final-d.de)
Gay Sex (Mathiasstrasse 23; T: 00 49 221 24 82 17)
Hands (Mattiasstrasse 22; T: 00 49 221 24 35 41)
H90 (Hohenzollernrinsstrasse 90; T: 00 49 221 912 78 30)
IRON (Schaafenstrsse 45; T: 00 49 221 337 62 88)
Köln Gay Web (Website)
Park (Mauritiuswall 84; T: 00 49 221 21 33 57)
Quo Vadis (Vor St Martin 8-10; T: 00 49 221 258 14 14)
Sauna Club 30 (Mühlenbach 30; T: 00 49 221 21 73 86)
Schampanja (Mauritiuswall 43; T: 00 49 221 24 42 94)
Schön (Schaafenstrsse 51; T: 00 49 221 2406530)
Sex and Gay Centre (Mathiasstrasse 23; T: 00 49 221 23 53 01)
Sex and Gay-Shop (Pfeilstrasse 10; T: 00 49 221 25 62 78)
Stiefelknecht (Pipinstrasse 9; T: 00 49 221 258 07 72)
TTK (Stephanstrasse 2; T: 00 49 221 24 83 10)
Vulcano (Marienplatz 3-5; T: 00 49 221 21 60 51)
Zipp's (Hohe Pforte 13-17; T: 00 49 221 240 60 76)