Kiosk Crawl Photo

What is a Kiosk

What is a Kiosk you ask?

We’re here to answer that question before you have a panic attack!  

So to begin, let’s answer the basic question: What is a Kiosk?

A Kiosk to a layman’s eyes is just a convenient store.   These little gems are open very late, on Sundays, and on most holidays.  They serve the essentials: snacks, drinks, vices (alcohol and cigarettes), as well desperate needs.  Here’s where you come to get toilet paper, toothpaste and other household needs or pasta with pesto when you’ve forgotten to go shopping before a day off.  Kiosks go by different names in different cities.  In Berlin they call them Spatis.  Here in Köln they are called Büdchen!  We have a lot of them in Cologne!  More than any other city by square meter.  Each neighborhood has at least one of these places lingering on a corner.  They’re a pretty basic concept on their face.  But they are more than your local stop and shop.  That brings us to our next question…


What is a Kiosk
A famous Kiosk. Yes, a shop like this can be famous in Cologne. That’s how important they are.

What makes Kiosks so special in Cologne?

Kiosks may have started for convenience but they continue so successfully because of culture.  If we just used them to shop, they probably wouldn’t matter.  But they are community centers in their own rite.  Kiosks act as neighborhood hangouts where you make friends with the people that live around you.  You exchange news, gossip, keys to water plants or feed fish, pick-up mail or packages and in general, feel at home.  We’ll flip over old beer crates for seats (or in more extreme locations, bring lawn furniture), crack open a Kölsch and relax at our local spot.

Of course, Kölsch has a big hand in making them so popular.  Our beer is a central theme to kiosks, shops that often act as makeshift bars.  We’ll hang out drinking kiosk beer after kiosk beer for a full night, happily enjoying the sunny weather and the company of anyone passing by to join.  But it doesn’t stop there!  While we will of course go on brewery tours (something we really recommend…), maybe an even more popular way to drink is by going Kiosk Hopping.

Kiosk Hopping is as simple as it sounds.  Start at your local kiosk with a few friends, grab a drink and then make your way around the city, stopping at whatever kiosk suits your fancy.  Make a few new friends along the way and another few beers and explore Kölle in one of our favorite ways.  Want to make it harder? Try to finish your beer between each kiosk.  But as we mentioned, we have an awful lot, so be prepared for a short night.


kiosk crawl - büdchen
A kiosk caught in the wild!

Ok, that makes sense.  Any favorites to try?

That’s a hard question to answer.  Some of the best ones are spread around the city, hidden in Veedel corners you wouldn’t expect while others are in the wide open.   Our favorites have unique traits whether it’s serving cake or crêpes, offering delicious coffee, including libraries in their store fronts, playing jazz music all day long, or a million other creative add-ons.  When traveling through Cologne, make sure to take a walk and find your own favorites in whatever neighborhoods you like!

Is that all I need to know?

NO! But don’t worry. We have a Kiosk Crawl you can book to experience what it’s like to do our version of pub-crawling!

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