Pfaffen-Brauerei Max Päffgen

Pfaffen-Brauerei Max PäffgenPfaffen-Brauerei Max Päffgen
Pfaffen-Brauerei Max PäffgenPfaffen-Brauerei Max Päffgen
Brewery, Bar, Eatery, Beer-to-go

Heumarkt 62
Köln, 50667

+49 221 257 7765 | map
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Photo of Gatch
Reviewed by Gatch from Massachusetts

4.36/5  rDev +10.9%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4.25
Stares at you in bright orange on the Köln Heumarkt. A narrow, cozy, rustic pub that's well-lit and vibrant even on a grey rainy Monday in November. Very quiet and mellow inside with a good mix of tourists and Germans. Their Kölsch isn’t as good as the best versions in the city but it’s crisp and delicious. €2.30/0.2L in November 2023.
Nov 19, 2023
Photo of Redrover
Reviewed by Redrover from Wisconsin

4.01/5  rDev +2%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4 | selection: 3.75
This is an easy stop to combine with the other Kolsch Pubs/Breweries. It on one of the plazas and is easy to spot due to the orange umbrellas. The outside area seats maybe 30 but the interior can handle very large crowds.

This is a great beer hall/restaurant and is really stylish.

Luckily the beer is as good as its surroundings. In my top five for Kolsch beers for sure.
Oct 19, 2023
Photo of NeroFiddled
Reviewed by NeroFiddled from Pennsylvania

4.21/5  rDev +7.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4.25 | service: 4.25 | selection: 4 | food: 4.25
It's said that only breweries that are within view of the cathedral in Köln can produce Kölsch, and this is one example. The beer isn't brewed at the Brauerei Zum Pfaffen on the Heumarkt, it's produced on the hillside in Lohmar overlooking the city some 13 miles / 22 km away. That, of course, is not uncommon as how could it be possible to produce enough beer inside a small building for the 3.8 million visitors to the city each year? With that said, don't let that keep you from an enjoyable visit.

It's located at the far northeastern end of the heumarkt in the corner where Salzgasse leads down to the Rhine river. You can't miss it because the front of the building is painted orange, and they usually have large orange umbrellas out. It's right next to Gaffel Kolsch.

If the weather is good, and the heumarkt isn't too crowded, I like to sit at the small table by the door or one of their picnic tables and watch the crowds go by. For a first time visitor though I would suggest that you sit inside and soak in the charm of the decor. There are wood carvings, wrought iron chandeliers, stained glass, carved dark wood panels, and paintings to look at. It really is something to see.

For beer, depending on the season, you might have an option of two beers. The original pfaffen bier is always available, but in the summer they offer a hefeweizen, and in the winter they offer a bock.

The food is quite good, and you should really give it a try. If you're planning to go for dinner on a weekend make reservations ahead of time, although you just might get in earlier or later as they are open from 11 am to midnight every night. The menu is basically traditional German fare, and although it might seem pricey at first it is Köln, and they do give you a fair amount of food. Some examples include Himmel un Ääd (heaven and earth) which seems to be a Köln specialty. It's fried black pudding with mashed potatoes and a sauce that includes fried onions and apple. That's a smaller dish for €11,90 but it'd be enough along with some of their delicious pomme frites! An Alsatian flammkuche with bacon and onion for €9,99 would also do the trick. A heartier appetite might require bratwurst with sauerkraut and mashed potatoes - €14.90, pork schnitzel - €16,90, veal schnitzel - €19,90, schweinshaxe (pork knuckle) - €19,90, or Sauerbraten made from ox cheek with potato dumplings and applesauce - € 19,90. Those last three items are the most expensive items on the menu, and honestly, that's not that bad! For vegetarians, but not vegans, they have the "halve hahn" which is not actually a "half rooster", but rather a cheese sandwich, three salad options, a cheese & spinach flammkuche, baked brie, cheese spätzle, and mushroom ravioli with parmesean sauce - you cannot avoid the cheese except for the pomme frites or the salad with strips of beef, but hey, it's Germany, right?

I highly recommend it, and since you're right there you might as well grab a beer at Gaffel.
Jan 20, 2022
Rated: 3.31 by DOCRW from Kentucky

Nov 10, 2018
Rated: 5 by Anacross from Oregon

Nov 08, 2014
Photo of flexabull
Reviewed by flexabull from California

4.03/5  rDev +2.5%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 4 | service: 5 | selection: 3 | food: 4
Stopped in for some Kolsch and food after checking out the nearby Dom.

Small inviting looking place on a nice square. I only had a couple of glasses of Kolsch, I think they had a second beer on tap, but I didn't bother because I came for the Kolsch and it certainly didn't disappoint. (I had no idea how good Kolsch could be until sipped Pfaffen)

The servers were very friendly, they treated us very well, and took time to have some small talk.

Food was good and pretty typical.

All in all, a very worthy stop.
Nov 05, 2014
Rated: 4 by kingjohnh from New Mexico

Jul 21, 2014
Rated: 4 by davemathews68 from Ohio

Mar 23, 2014
Rated: 4 by vermilcj from Ohio

Feb 03, 2014
Photo of DoubleJ
Reviewed by DoubleJ from Wisconsin

3.47/5  rDev -11.7%
vibe: 4.25 | quality: 3.75 | service: 2.5 | selection: 3.75
The weather in Cologne couldn't be better. Sunny, warm, and on a Saturday afternoon makes the middle of the city crawl with thirsty visitors. Eike and Daniella showed me around the city, and part of the journey included visiting a couple of kolsch houses. Enter Max Pfaffen.

Its biergarten is inviting, as is the beer. Three different beers are offered; kolsch, bock,and weizen, and by Cologne standards that qualifies as a large selection. We opted to be traditional and go for the kolsch, which was delievers minutes into us finding a seat. Our waiter seemed grouchy, and Eike was telling me that this type of service is typical in the city. Brewing something besides a good kolsch is somehing that tempts to bring me back for a future visit. The grouchy waiter does not.
May 24, 2013
Photo of JohnfromDublin
Reviewed by JohnfromDublin from Ireland

3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 2.5
I visited this fine place in late November 2010. It is hard to miss with it's orange exterior. We entered at about 10 pm just as they were finishing their rush time for serving food. At first the waiter said there was no table available, but just then some people left and he allowed us sit there. The decor was excellent, quite "fancy", but not over-the-top. The service provided was also excellent and our glasses were replaced with fresh kolsch regularly. I really enjoyed my visit here; it is an atmospheric place and fun to visit. Unfortunately it was our only visit of a very bust weekend in Cologne.
Dec 04, 2010
Photo of seanyfo
Reviewed by seanyfo from Scotland

4.28/5  rDev +8.9%
vibe: 3.5 | quality: 4.5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4 | food: 4.5
Visited the brewpub on the 10/07/2010

Albeit it was height of summer with outdoor seating, we decided to sit inside for some cool air.

The kobe was attentive immediately asking if we wanted a Kolsch, how could we say no!

After a couple of fresh excellent quality Kolsch, i become peckish so ordered the Himmel un Ääd, Blood sausage, fried onions, mashed potatos and apple sauce, beautifully presented and delicious! A rheinland favourite!

Interior is homely yet classy with wooden tables/seats, with large statues, standing tables etc.

Maybe a little more expensive for food but worth it!

Overal a very pleasant visit!
Jul 15, 2010
Photo of alfrantzell
Reviewed by alfrantzell from California

3.61/5  rDev -8.1%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4.5 | service: 3 | selection: 3
Great selection. I recommend the Kölsch.

Theirs tasted different than the others we were to have in Cologne - like spiced crackers, cloves, and coriander. Where others were punchy and crisp, this was round and silken - a product, probably, of being served from the cask. I ordered two.

The brewhouse itself went unseen. As we weren't eating, we were told to drink at a standing table outside in the plaza, where music was being played on accordion and clarinet.

A pleasant way to spend a lazy afternoon.
Jun 07, 2010
Photo of struzzyt
Reviewed by struzzyt from Texas

3.76/5  rDev -4.3%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 3.5 | service: 3.5 | selection: 4
There were waiters who stood outside and called to those walking by to come in, which usually is an initial sign to walk away because its a pricey tourist trap. However, I had the intention to come here, so it didn't sway me.
The interior was filled with nicely carved wood and glass cuttings, and they make good use of old barrels as tables and chairs. The place appeared full, but the staff still found places for us to drink immediately.
The way they serve their beer is great-they roll out a decent size wooden barrel, put it on the counter and twist a nozzle into it from which they pour the Kolsch.
Only two complaints: The staff was a little overwhelming, and were sometimes pestery, not leaving us alone for more than a few minutes at a time before coming back. It was also the most expensive Kolsch that I found in the city, which may be because I could not find their Kolsch anywhere else in town. This is sad, because it was one of the best I had in the city.
Mar 17, 2008
Photo of miruvoore
Reviewed by miruvoore from Wisconsin

4.7/5  rDev +19.6%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 5 | service: 4.5 | selection: 4.5 | food: 5
I am not sure what the other reviewers were looking for when the traveled to Germany. Germans themselves cal their country the service wasteland, or the country that service forgot, etc.

That being said, they have rather good service at Pfaffen for Koln. The food is awesome, there are always fun patrons there who are in for a round of Kolsch with an American, and they have on of the best Kolschs in the city!

This is a must stop for anyone who can get into the regional beer wars of Germany and wants to check out what Kolsch is all about! Just don't expect 5 star American service when the staff gets little to no tip! Besides you're in Europe, being rushed and antsy for your next item or whatever trivial thing it is you need makes you look like a dumb American, go with the flow and add another tick mark to your coaster.

By the way, most Kolsch bars will keep bringing rounds until you put your coaster on top of your last glass.

Jan 18, 2008
Photo of foles
Reviewed by foles from Australia

2.4/5  rDev -38.9%
vibe: 1.5 | quality: 3 | service: 1.5 | selection: 2.5 | food: 3.5
Called here mainly because it was recommended, and the building looked very grand from pictures I had seen on the web. This fact made the outcome of our visit even more disappointing

Not because of the food & drink - we had a Pfaffen Kolsch and a Goulash soup, which were both very nice. It was the service that upset me. The time we called, early afternoon, was a little quiet. There were loads of waiters around - and from the outset I could tell the guy serving us was trying to take full advantage of the fact we were tourists. We asked for Goulash soup as we fancied a small bite, but he was persistent in trying to sell us the mussels, despite us not wanting them. He then walked off and mumbled something to another waiter - I think he was mimicking something I said. Anyhow, during our meal, our waiter and others hovered around the table and up and down to the front door - it made us uncomfortable. Anyhow when we got the bill (which they write by hand), he decided to add a few Euros which I did not appreciate and only fully realised after I did the maths while walking away from the place.

This place is turning into a tourist trap, and its a real shame because its a lovely building with decent food & beer.
Jan 16, 2008
Photo of JohnW
Reviewed by JohnW from England

3.86/5  rDev -1.8%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 4 | selection: 3.5
This excellent brewhouse is situated in the top north east corner of Huemarkt and is easy to find, being painted a distinctive 'orange' colour. Only a few tables to stand at on the outside, but a small beer garden at rear in a shared courtyard. The interior is marvellous with wonderful wood carvings, modern stained glass windows depicting the Carnival, the usual sanded tables with chairs and benches throughout. Not as much room as many brewpubs, but was always able to get a seat on the three occasions we went. No TVs, sometimes quiet music playing. We found the service good, and attentive, and most seemed to speak some English. In fact the waiters remembered us on our second visit, and made us very welcome and did not even need to be told what we wanted, and would bring 4 glasses of Kolsch for the two of us!

The Kolsch glasses here are very stylish - the usual 20cl tall glass, but the gold logo looks very good....and if you speak nicely to your waiter, he may let you buy one for €1 !

The Kolsch is very good, probably the 'sweetest' of all those tried in Cologne, but still fresh, very clean and easy to drink, served at just the right temperature.

The food menu looked very good, and also had English translation, and although we did not eat here, what we saw coming from the kitchen looked tempting.

As usual in German bars and restaurants you have to leave a tip when using the rest rooms! And, in common with 99% of German bars there is not a non-smoking area.

It is usual practice in Germany to give your waiter a tip personally when he tallys up your account, usually up to 10%, so round the bill up to the next 2 Euros. Do not leave a tip on the table, hand it to your waiter.

I think Paffen is probably my favourite of all the Brewhouses in Cologne, great atmosphere, classy but not snobbish, amazing interior and great beer. I would go here every alternate night if I lived in Cologne, and then Paffgen the next night... Though at lunchtime I would visit all the others!

There is a Paffgen Kolsch bar outlet just down the alley to the right that goes down to the river...

Visited August 2005

John W
Birmingham UK
Aug 30, 2005
Photo of tjd25
Reviewed by tjd25 from France

3.59/5  rDev -8.7%
vibe: 4 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3
At the angle of one of the main squares in Köln, a nice old-looking building hosts this interesting brewpub. The place was almost empty when I went, as it was the mid-afternoon. I stood at a table next to the bar where they were serving the Kölsch directly from the wooden keg. Cool. The atmosphere is a little fancier than some of the other beer places in Köln, with some wooden sculptures in the entrance, but the style is pretty much the same as in the other place. Service was ok for the city, the table of waiters having nothing to do next to me being attentive to the level of beer remaining in my glass and quick to bring a new one. A nice stop, as the goal in this one-beer-city is to try all the places…
Jul 09, 2005
Photo of allboutbierge
Reviewed by allboutbierge from Austria

3.65/5  rDev -7.1%
vibe: 4.5 | quality: 4 | service: 3.5 | selection: 3
Pfaffen is located right in the Altstadt. Its roughly 300 m from the Heumarkt Haltstelle and is the tall orange building across the town square.

Pfaffen's atomsphere is typical of Rheinland brewpubs. Old sanded tables, standing tables, and wood decor galore fill the room. The place is very clean, orderly, and makes for a good drinking atmosphere.

Service was adequate but did not impress me. Incorrect drinks were brought twice and the bill was incorrect. No big deal but the waiters (kerbies) usually are very professional and flawless in brewpubs around Köln.

Pfaffen has some of the better Kölsch in Köln. Also they have a small wine list if someone at your table would prefer that.

The menu for food is large and from what I saw portions were large and the food was artistically decorated while still looking like food and not a piece of art.
Nov 12, 2003
Pfaffen-Brauerei Max Päffgen in Köln, Germany
Brewery rating: 4.2 out of 5 with 32 ratings