Metronom Jazz Bar Cologne Germany
Weyerstraße 59, Nähe Barbarossaplatz
Cologne, Germany 50676
+49 221 213 465
Although I was thousands of miles away in Germany, I really felt like I was back in NY when I walked into the smoky Metronom jazz bar in Cologne. (Cool, pre-2000 NY I’m talking about). First you wander down a quiet meandering alleyway off the main strip, then when you locate the door, you stumble through a dark foyer entrance and upon opening a squeaky panel door you emerge out into the middle of a lively crowded speakeasy club. The wall behind the bar is stacked high to the ceiling with vintage vinyl jazz records (mostly bebop) upon which the bartender doubles as a dj as he serves you endless glasses of delicious Kölsch (local Cologne beer). Along the wall opposite the bar are curious stool / chairs / benches where you can prop yourself up high with a great view of the bar and the 2 banquet booths in the rear.
Metronom has been around since 1968 and is owned and run by an American named Chris Bishop from Chicago. I had a short chat with him and apparently the story is that he was living out in San Francisco up on Russian Hill in the 60’s, met his wife and then moved out to Cologne to take over and run the jazz bar. The rest they say is basically history. After being in Germany so long, he’s basically a native of Cologne – although the day Obama got elected, he proudly showed his American roots and served free beers for hours to every customer. How fucking cool is that? Well, in addition once a month Metronom somehow crams a small jazz ensemble into the back section and they play live sets all night. That’s also very cool.
Ok no doubt the bohemian randomness of Metronom is something you’d find in many quirky bars in Brooklyn and NY but I’d also say Metronom is a bit different. The idea of a bar that is that dedicated to preserving a singular era in history (bebop jazz) is definitely worth traveling around the world to check out. I mean, you can basically say that after being open for 40+ years, Metronom has become an institution – a miraculously non-touristy institution to be precise. Ok maybe not entirely non-touristy, since there was a dude at the bar who turned out to have written and published an entire picture book about the history of the Metronom bar. (They sell a copy of it at the bar but it’s only in German). But fuck it, definitely go check this place out and say hello to Chris when you get there. God, I miss being an expat.