The brothel was opened in January 1972 in the Hornstraße, under the name "Eros Center". It was Europe's first high rise brothel. The city of Cologne wanted to eliminate the red light district "Kleine Brinkgasse" in the city center and issued a license to build the new brothel on land owned by the city in the outskirts of town. The prostitutes sued against closure of the Kleine Brinkgasse area and ultimately lost. In 1995 the owner of the Eros Center changed after foreclosure, and the new name "Pascha" was introduced. They later added houses under the same name in Salzburg, Munich and Linz.
The house rents 126 rooms on 7 floors to prostitutes for a fee of 180 Euros per day, which includes meals, medical care, and the 20 Euros of "pleasure tax" that Cologne authorities collect per prostitute per day. The house is open 24 hours a day; customers of the prostitutes pay an entrance fee of 5 Euros and then negotiate directly with the women, who work independently and keep all of the money. One floor is reserved for low-cost service, and another one for transsexual prostitutes. The house also contains a regular hotel, a table dance nightclub with separate entrance, several bars, and a separate club-style brothel on the top floor.
The women, who come from many countries, typically sit outside of their rooms and negotiate with customers who wander the hallways. In 2003, oral sex and intercourse cost about 50 Euros. The brothel advertises a money-back guarantee in case of unsatisfactory service by a woman.
In June 2003 a Thai prostitute was killed with a knife by a customer in the Pascha; she managed to press the alarm button in her room and security personnel caught the perpetrator. In January 2006, another prostitute was attacked with a knife by a customer. The woman working next-door alerted security and the perpetrator was caught; the victim survived.
After a police raid of the brothel in April 2005, it was reported that a gun and some cocaine was found and 23 prostitutes were arrested, most of them because of suspected violation of immigration laws. Further it was reported that four of the prostitutes were between 14 and 15 years old. The brothel was not fined however, since the girls, who were from Africa, looked older and carried fake documents showing an older age.
A bizarre story was reported in August 2005: two women, 19 and 29 years old, had rented two rooms in the Pascha and announced over the internet that they would pay any man 50 Euros for sex; the goal was to find out who could have more partners in one day. In the end they had sex for 11 hours with a total of 115 men, and about 1,700 others had to be turned away. The German tabloid Bild turned the story into a headline the next day. The women insisted that they had paid the men from their own vacation money and had not received any compensation from Bild or Pascha. The 19 year old woman later worked in the club brothel of Pascha.
Before the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, Muslims protested that the brothel insulted Islam when it advertised using a 24-meter-high by 8-meter-wide poster, mounted on the side of its building, containing a half-naked woman and the flags from all of the countries which qualified for the world cup, including those of Muslim nations. The slogan on the poster read "Die Welt zu Gast bei Freundinnen" ("The world as guest with girlfriends"), a pun on the slogan for that year's World Cup, "Die Welt zu Gast bei Freunden" ("The world as guest with friends"). The protestors compared the poster to the Jyllands-Posten Muhammad cartoons. In response to the protests, and threats of violence, which began on 2006-04-21, the owners blacked out the flags of Saudi Arabia and Iran (both of which include words from the Quran), though the flag of Tunisia (which does not show any scriptural text) was left alone.
In March 2007 the Pascha announced that senior citizens above the age of 66 would receive a discount during afternoons; half of the price of 50 Euros for a "normal session" would be covered by the house.