As a father living near Cologne, I don't get many chances to experience the nightlife anymore between work and family life. But during a recent guy's night out, some friends and I decided to check out the popular Pub Crawl Cologne to tour top local bars and clubs.
After an incredible night visiting four lively spots and meeting fellow nightlife enthusiasts, I can say it was one of the best nights out I've had in awhile!
Pub Crawl Cologne Review
Getting the Night Started
I showed up a little before 10 PM at the meeting spot, a bar located right in the heart of Cologne's nightlife district. It didn't take long for a group of 20 other travelers to gather, and soon we were introduced to our pub crawl guide Paul.
He briefly explained how the night would work - we'd spend about an hour at each of four different bars, getting a free shot at each one. Our first stop was just across the street, so we headed over to kick the crawl off right!
Hitting the Party at Pub #1
The first bar had a lively atmosphere with music pumping through the speakers. After getting my free welcome shot from the bartender (this bar opted for tequila - nice!), I spent some time chatting with others who had signed up for the crawl.
It was a very international mix from Europe, Australia, and the Americas. The hour flew by as we got to know each other over beers, and soon Paul was gathering us to head to the next location.
Keeping the Party Going at Pub #2
For our second stop, we actually went right downstairs to a bar connected to the first one. The vibe here was more of a classic pub, with some big tables perfect for our large group to continue hanging out.
I played a couple rounds of foosball while I sipped on my drink. Before I knew it, it was time for another free shot (they gave us vodka here) and then we were on the move again.
Switching It Up at Pub #3
Paul led us a few blocks away to a larger dance club for our third stop. After getting the free shot (this time rum), I was ready to hit the dance floor! The DJ was spinning great mixes and the whole club had an electric energy.
We all spread out to dance, grab more drinks, and chat with other clubgoers. I ended up meeting a group of French students traveling through Germany as well. The hour passed in a blur of dancing and laughter - I was having a blast!
Keeping the Party Rocking at Pub #4
Our final stop of the night was at a bar with a hip, underground vibe. The decor was really unique and cool music was playing. I have to admit by this point my memories got a little fuzzy!
I do remember getting one last free shot from the bartender (whiskey this time). We all crammed into the small bar, laughing and swapping stories about our epic pub crawl through Cologne's nightlife scene.
Saying Goodbye - For Now
After an incredible four hours of bar hopping and meeting fellow travelers, it was time to call it a night. We said our goodbyes - but only till the next day, since many of us were staying at the same hostel. I'm sure we picked up the party again the next evening!
As I headed back to get some rest, I had a big smile on my face knowing I just had one of the best pub crawl experiences ever.
Why the Pub Crawl Cologne is a Must-Do
After an unforgettable night out, it's clear to me why the Pub Crawl Cologne comes so highly recommended. Here's why it's an absolute must-do for anyone looking to experience the best of Cologne's nightlife:
Visit the Hottest Bars
The pub crawl takes you to places you might not discover on your own - hidden gems and popular spots loved by locals.
We went to four awesome venues, each with its own unique vibe and energy. I loved exploring new bars throughout the night.
Save Money on Cover Charges
No need to worry about cover charges with the pub crawl! It was so nice rolling up to each bar knowing we'd get right in for free. Considering some clubs have steep entrance fees, it saved me a good chunk of money.
Enjoy Free Drinks
An included shot at every bar we visited was an amazing perk - who doesn't love free drinks?! It was a great way to get the night started.
The bonus booze definitely encouraged everyone to loosen up, mingle, and have fun.
Meet Awesome People
From all over Europe, the Americas, Australia and beyond - I met amazing new friends from around the world while pub crawling. It's such a social experience, perfect for solo travelers looking to make new connections. The international mix made it even more special.
Get Insider Tips from a Local Guide
Our guide Paul was a Cologne local who clearly knew the city's nightlife scene incredibly well.
He gave us interesting insights at every stop and kept the group together and on track the whole time. His expertise enhanced the experience.
How to Get the Most Out of Your Pub Crawl
If you're planning to embark on your own epic pub crawl through Cologne, here are my tips on how to make the most of your night out:
Don't drink on an empty stomach - it's a recipe for disaster! Grab a hearty, filling dinner before meeting for the crawl to soak up some of those free drinks. Your head and stomach will thank you tomorrow morning.
Get to the meeting spot at least 10-15 minutes before the scheduled start time. It gives you a buffer in case you get lost, plus more time to chat with fellow pub crawlers as the group assembles. You don't want to miss the opening introductions!
Drink Water Between Bars
Alternate each alcoholic drink with a glass of water. Pacing yourself and staying hydrated is key to keeping your energy up and avoiding that next-day hangover.
Plus, drinking water lets you taste all the different shots instead of having them blend together.
Mix and Mingle
Don't just talk to people you came with the whole time - introduce yourself to the others around you!
Having an outgoing personality enhances the experience since pub crawls are very social. You'll meet amazing new friends from around the world.
Keep an Eye on Your Belongings
It's easy to misplace a phone or wallet when bar hopping. Stay aware in crowded bars, keep valuables in your front pocket, and don't leave drinks unattended. Losing stuff can put a damper on your epic night out.
Potential Improvements to the Pub Crawl
While I had an absolutely incredible time on the pub crawl through Cologne's nightlife district, there are a couple small tweaks I think could enhance the experience even more:
Offer Water Between Bars
Providing bottles of water between stops would encourage people to rehydrate and pace themselves.
Dehydration sneaks up on you when bar hopping! Having water accessible would give crawlers a healthier option. 
Let People Choose Drinks
Instead of a set shot, give crawl-goers the choice between a shot or a beer at each stop. It caters better to different preferences.
Some people don't love hard liquor, or might want to sip a beer at certain places.
Add More Interactive Elements
Incorporating more interactive activities, like pub trivia or drinking games, would encourage crawl-goers to mingle more.
It would also add some variety throughout the stops. Even simple ice breakers would help break the ice!
Wrapping Up an Epic Pub Crawl
Joining the Pub Crawl Cologne ended up being one of the highlights of that trip to Cologne. I had an absolute blast bar hopping through Cologne's incredible nightlife district, meeting fellow travelers from around the world, and getting insider access to the city's best bars.
With an enthusiastic local guide, free drinks, and a very social atmosphere, it's no wonder this pub crawl comes so highly recommended. I'm already excited to see what other European cities I can experience next through their own amazing pub crawls!
1: Here’s How to Really Avoid Alcohol Dehydration Symptoms, retrieved from https://www.livestrong.com/article/514254-how-to-hydrate-your-body-after-drinking-alcohol/