First Published: Before August 2002
       This is an OutUK Archive Item and so some of the links and information may be out of date.
Flagrant, yet at the same time wet behind the ears, Out UK’s Adrian Gillan dowses himself in Cologne.
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.

BAR HOPPING

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.

EATING

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.

CLUBBING

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.

STAYING

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 Bookings.

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)

 

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