Going Out In Cologne
Where's the best Kuchen in Cologne? Where does the art world convene after hours? Which museums are worth a visit? And where are Martin Kippenberger's old haunts? Temporary Gallery's Regina Barunke serves it to us straight with her insider-guide for your trip to Art Cologne.
at Café Central is always good and relaxed. You can sit outside in the sun, under palm trees or mushroom heaters removed from the city hustle, but still in close reach. They have a good breakfast buffet and a selection of organic menu items, including fresh orange juice and scrambled eggs à la carte. The Central is part of the legendary Hotel Chelsea, where Kippenberger resided, performed and worked (and wrote) in the 80s and 90s. The building is full of his and other artists’ traces, as the owner is a great lover and supporter of the arts.
In the same neighbourhood you’ll find the shop window of a laundromat that was photographed by Christopher Williams (Reinigung Ursula Schweyen, Lindenstr. 34, Köln, February 17th, 2010). I always pass by that shop on my way to the gallery (or after having breakfast at the Central) and just recently realized that they changed the window display after decades. What a shame. New photo please!
Around the corner, Jan Kaps opened a new art-book/printed matters space called Vosberg, opposite his own gallery. The selection on the shelves and tables is still virginal, but you can already find really interesting stuff there and stumble upon some artworks.
Jülicher Str. 1, 50674 Cologne
Roonstrasse 108, 50674 Cologne
Even if it might be too fancy to try, the quiches and salads at Salon Schmitz on Aachener Straße are super yummy. So are the small warm dishes such as daily soups, pasta and cakes for dessert. The Schmitz has expanded in the last few years: First there was the Salon (you find works by Gerd and Uwe Tobias here), then there was the Metzgerei (butcher) and recently they opened quite a posh restaurant (with an excellent ice cream bar and always a long queue). But what many do not know: Close by is a fourth branch of the Schmitz enterprise, located within the Museum of East Asian Art. It’s more relaxed here, you can sit outside on the terrace, enjoy the scenery of the Aachener pond and the great food. Also, the museum is worth a visit!
As an alternative, I recommend the Chinese Imbiss Ni Hao at Brüsseler Straße. It’s a tiny place with maximum 20 seats. They serve a great variety of soups, vegetarian dishes and fresh-made dumplings. The price and service is really good.
Aachener Str. 28, 50674 Cologne
Brüsseler Straße 44, 50674 Cologne
What would I do without Café Wahlen? Without Café Wahlen there would be no Fassbinder, without Café Wahlen the people of Cologne would be only half as thick. Café Wahlen is an authority in Cologne and impossible to miss. Their selection of cakes and tortes is stunning; on weekends the cake counter is even twice as filled with delicacies.
For those who prefer an espresso macchiato al bar, I recommend the Espresso Perfetto. They serve the best fresh espresso and offer sandwiches and cookies as well. Best to go there after a visit to Kolumba Museum, which is just next door and will open a fantastic exhibition of Bethan Huws (I was allowed to peep). Built by the Swiss Pritzker-prize winner Peter Zumthor, the museum and its collection is an architectural treasure.
Hohenstaufenring 64, 50674 Cologne
Kolumbastraße 8, 50667 Cologne
For those who want to spend more time in Cologne, who have a car and are interested in architecture (art and church), I have two more tid-bits: the Bruder Klaus Field Chapel and the Synagogue project in Stommeln. Both are a 30-40 minute car ride outside the city limit. Zumthor’s amazing chapel is only accessible by foot, after a 15 minute walk. Behind the shell of the sculptural monolith is a mystic interior made out of tree trunks that were set on fire. The synagogue in Stommeln is one of the few synagogues in Germany that was not destroyed during the pogroms or razed later. Since the 1990s it hosts a very precise and interesting art project run by the city’s Culture Department, annually inviting one internationally renowned artist to realise a project that engages with the place and its history. In 2014 Gregor Schneider’s intervention makes the original synagogue vanish; the forthcoming project is a collaboration between Walid Raad and Situ Studio and opens in June. A must see!
Iversheimerstraße, 53894 Merchernich-Wachendorf
Hauptstraße 85 a, 50259 Pulheim-Stommeln
I love going out to breweries, especially to the Brauhaus Pütz at Engelbertstraße. They offer a broad variety of traditional local food, such as sauerkraut with sausage and mashed potatoes and a bratwurst with mustard. A freshly drafted beer and kind service - this is fantastic! Another nice brewery is Bei d'r Tant where we used to go after Kunstverein's openings in the 90s. There potato pancakes with tatar is still great. But there are, of cause, also more elegant places, depending on the occasion and guests. I highly recommend the Steak Frites at Sorgenfrei, which offers seasonal, regional, as well as international food (vegan, gluten-free) and selected wines. And not-to-miss is Fertig, a good mix of Rhineland-French food and a very comfortable atmosphere inside and out.
Engelbertstraße 67, 50674 Köln
Bei d’r Tant
Cäcilienstraße 28, 50667 Köln
Antwerpener Str. 15, 50672 Köln
There are three bars I regularly go to. Maybe it’s best to start with the Hallmackenreuther— a beautiful venue in its original 70s style. Here they even offer cake at later hours. In summer the court outside is crazy packed, but a super nice place to sit and drink. The Electra Bar is close to Ebertplatz and also an elegant venue. I booked it for my last birthday party, but we’ve also done some art talks and screenings there. For night owls and spirits lovers, the MD bar is the place to go. You can find artworks by Michael Pirgelis and David Ostrowski, the founders of the bar, on the walls. And as it’s located just in between the Kunstverein, some galleries and the Temporary Gallery, the bar is booming with art people after the openings.
Marsilstein 21, 50676 Cologne
Gereonswall 12, 50668 Cologne
Brüsseler Platz 9, 50674 Cologne
Temporary Gallery is a space for art and discourse in Cologne. On April 14th Temporary Gallery will open the next show “Between One Time and Another” with works by Mathieu K. Abonnenc, Fadlabi, Rana Hamadeh and Kapani Kiwanga, guest-curated by Jens Maier-Rothe.
Regina Barunke has run Temporary Gallery since 2012 and is associate lecturer at the Art History Department at University of Cologne.