The drive-in cinema is located in Cologne-Müngersdorf. It is hosted in a former industrial site near the DIE HALLE Tor 2 concert and event venue at Girlitzweg, some one kilometer North of Rhine-Energie Stadion, where I visited the amazing Scherz-Tour. After you entered Girlitzweg, the entry is well sign-posted and there is also some staff to guide you.
We visited the very debut of Car Watch Cologne, which showed The Lion King on 25th April 2020. The ticket price was 24 Euro and included one car, which may either feature two adults or one adult and an (own) child. Children tickets to fill up the car are available. The cinema offers a quite nice range of classic movies, as there are no new productions at the moment. They also envisage to host concerts and other events.
Car Watch Cologne – The Visit
The venue opens 60 minutes before the movie. The road was already quite crowded. As we had pre-booked a snack (see below), the queue was a bit slower – you are able to bypass and use a separate entrance if you did not book food. Overall, the check-in was comparably efficient (especially for a first show, where processes still need some adoption). You are guided towards your parking lot. The parking lot is just a flat gravel square, which is a definite disadvantage towards the traditional drive-in cinema in Cologne-Porz. The cars are sorted and typically were parked staggered with two meters Covid-19 distance to each side, where major cars were typically parked behind smaller cars and at the side. You could readjust your car later, if necessary, so we finally had a good view.
The space for Car Watch Cologne is flat and does not have any buildings in the parking area. The HALLE Tor 2 and the Wassermannhalle, another event venue, is next to the lot and provide sanitary facilities (see below). The capacity under Covid-19 conditions is 250 cars.
Like in Cologne Porz, the cinema sound is brought you by FM radio, which worked perfectly. I missed US digital FM with multiple contents on one frequency a bit, as I hate the German songs in the local version of The Lion King – switching to English would have been a real treat in some situations. A fundamental difference to the Cologne-Porz cinema is that Car Watch Cologne is not using projection, but a back-lit LCD display. This allows to watch movies also in sunny conditions – which worked really good, apart from some night scenes, where there is simply a lack of contrast. The screen is significantly smaller, 12 meters high and 18 meters wide. The screen is lifted by some four or five meters, which gives a very relaxed view from the car.
We did not explore any technical issues during the movie – also the organisational announcements were clear and friendly. You need to open your windows slightly to avoid to get heated too much in the sun, when doing an afternoon or earyl evening show, though.
After the movie, you leave the are by one exit on the very front left of the lot. I could imagine that this may be a bit bothering, especially when you arrived late and are parked quite at the end of the lot. There is a traffic light at the Widdersdorfer Straße crossing, which may slow down your exit quite much. We were very lucky though and left as about the twentieth car.
Car Watch Cologne – Services
As written above, we pre-ordered food for the movie. This is a key difference to the Porz movies, which does not provide this service during Corona times. The snack packages contain a snack and a 0.5l drink, which you can select at entrance (there is just a selection of four options). The price, including the bottle deposit was 7.90 Euro for the Curry Sausage snack I had and 8.90 Euro for Sarah’s nachos. In general, I made the better choice, as the sausage was warm (and you could have taken any other kind of snack with you). On the other hand, having a warm snack some one hour before the movie is also not ideal. The drink was nicely chilled, which is a great treat. You grab the nicely decorated snack bags when entering. The third option is pop corn.
The toilet facilities were very clean and well organized, including social distancing measures. A local sponsor provided you with mandatory face masks for free in case you don’t have one.
Car Watch Cologne – My View
I am not too much of a movie buff at all, but the drive-in movies more and more become my favorite treat during non-travel Corona times. Especially regarding that it was their debut show, the Car Watch Cologne team did a really good job. The LCD allows daytime visits, which may be the nicer option for families as well. I liked the traditional atmosphere in Cologne-Porz slightly more The option to have food is definitely nice, but as you can bring your food anyway, it is a rather small add-on. Worth visiting – but hurry up, drive-in cinema tickets sell extremely fast nowadays.