Monkey Bar Cologne 🐒 – Has landed on the 25hours Hotel The Circle
What I love about Cologne’s bustling bar scene is that the locations are within walking distance, there is a friendly vibe at all times and I always meet nice people at the bar counter, sometimes the same ones again. It is a perfect match of talking to guests and bartenders alike. There is a concept for every taste. This time I wanted to have a closer look at the bar counter of the Monkey Bar that landed on the rooftop of 25hours Hotel last year.
The 25hours Hotel The Circle is situated in a spectacular rotunda at the heart of Cologne. Interior designer Werner Aisslinger and his team developed a design concept on the subject of retro-futurism for this listed building. I spent one night in a lovely room with a beautiful view of Cologne cathedral. A super comfy bed, a touch of industrial charm with its concrete ceiling, and a dash of pastel colours reminiscent of the 60s in the bathroom. “Let’s spend the night together” said my pillow. Today hotels are more than just overnight accommodation, they like to surprise guests and make them feel at home. The Monkey Bar is located on the 8th floor of the 25hours Hotel The Circle with great views over the city. The roof terrace is the perfect place to enjoy sunny weather. At night it turns into a trendy location with fancy cocktail and Highball creations. Both the bar and the restaurant are open to everyone.
You don’t have to be a hotel guest – “come as you are” is the order of the day. Monkey bar combines local flair with stylish design and welcomes hotel guests and locals alike.
The lobby of 25hours The Circle is huge and has the circular round reception desk of the earlier Gerling Insurance company in the middle, giving the feeling of a meeting place, very informal and easy going. It is a mix of 1960s retro style and futuristic interior elements. Playful and very instagrammable. 25hours in general is a brand that is characterised by a friendly atmosphere and good service combined with individuality and authenticity. Each hotel has its unique style and different designers. They are destinations for the urban, cosmopolitan traveller.
Rumble in the jungle is the motto of the bar according to the bar’s name. We are easy going, hip but at the same time very professional,
one of the bar managers, Rastin Mahrou, told me. “We are a cool bar that has landed on top of the hotel’s roof.“ In fact, the venue has a colourful galactic setting. “But where does the name of the bar come from?”, I asked him curiously. 25hours Hotel Bikini Berlin also has a bar located on the roof top named Monkey Bar. Both the Cologne and Berlin locations are on the top floor with a fantastic view of the city and both buildings have a history. In Berlin the name comes from it being in the vicinity of the Berlin Zoo and specifically the monkey enclosure. For Cologne the monkey theme comes from two famous Cologne celebrities. Rastin pointed to the huge wall drawing showing the boxer Peter Müller who became unforgettable because of his fighting posture and was therefore called “da Aap”, meaning Monkey in the Colognian dialect. Next to him you see the chimpanzee Petermann, who was the audience’s favourite at Cologne Zoo and shot dead by police officers in 1985 after attacking the zoo director. Comfortable furniture and a cosy fireplace round off the playful décor. Your eyes are treated to a relaxing view and your ears to good music. No other place has a DJ five days a week.
Form follows function is a popular saying but, in this case, it is vice versa. The selection of the backbar has been adapted to the existing design. Space is limited, so the spirit selection is too. Good move!
I had the honour to speak to the bar managers and to Tom Jakschas, who is an institution of the German bar scene and the master mind behind the spirit concept. Compared to ordinary hotel bars you will notice a smaller assortment of bottles on the backbar. This is just another indicator of the hotel’s individual touch, but the real reason is that the designer planned the bar a little too small. Tom took advantage of this fact and gave the small spirit selection a touch of local Colognial character and outstanding spirits. So, you will find for example amazing Sünner gin from Cologne, with its distinctive Juniper forward note and just a few botanicals, and, of course, Kölsch beer.
“The products have to convince me, especially if you are limited in space. Quality and reasonable pricing is important to the company and guests,” Tom explained, “Especially when it comes to sipping rum, I choose ones without sugar and colouring. We do not use standards which are often found in hotel bars and make them redundant.” They tick all the right boxes for a cocktail safari with a friendly team and well-selected drinks. The backbar is carefully chosen with a local touch.
Let’s go on a cocktail safari. Inspired by local bars, reinterpretations of famous drinks or new creations – there is something for everyone. Choose between Highballs, Classics and Signatures or ask the bar team for help. Their mission: Make people happy
The menu is foldable and easy to understand. It features three categories: “Jungle”, “Urban” and “Monkey See, Monkey Do”. The last category is a re-mix of well-known bars in the neighbourhood such as Lotte Haifischbar, The Grid, Seiberts, Little Link, and Spirits. A nice detail which demonstrates the closeness of the bar scene community here.
When was your last Pisco Sour? Mine was ages ago, so I opted for the Pink Pisco. Good choice. For guests from outside I would warmly recommend a DÄ AAP-NÄGRONI dedicated to the boxer Peter Müller with the local spirits Sünner Sinner Strength Gin, Sünner Akrobat Halbbitter, Campari, and sweet Vermouth. Barfood is served until 11pm and comes from the adjacent Neni restaurant. The hummus selection is to die for and is also served at the overwhelming breakfast buffet in the morning. Cologne is one of my favourite bar cities in Germany for many reasons. “Luckily, the distances in Cologne are short and, in this case, only three floors deep,” I thought to myself, holding a Hemingway Daiquiri in my hand while admiring the night panorama of the city.