From winesandtapas on Jul 10, 2017
Geneva can be difficult for the new arrivals: streets look empty, people seem preoccupied and most of the time you would be quite busy at work and tired afterwards.
Having lived here for 15 years and having organised the Wines & Tapas parties since 2008, I always get the question about where to go out after work, where to find the best cocktails, where are the best clubs, and sometimes simply “where is everybody after 7pm?”.
Just to check, I did a google search with “nightlife in Geneva”… The outcome was terrible; lots of sponsored links, already outdated locations, or just a long list without any comments. It’s really tough for a new arrival in Geneva!
So here is a list of my and my friends’ favourites, sorted by theme: Wine bars, Lounge / cocktail bars, Nightclubs, Social events and then by area. At the bottom of the page, you can also find a link to the custom Google Map I created for you that shows all of the bars in one map.
I will keep this list alive and make some additions in the future (restaurants, cafés, pubs, etc) so to hear about future editions first hand, leave us your email using the form on the right of the page.
Any thoughts? Did I miss anything? Feel free to share your comment at the bottom of the page.
DISCLAIMER: These are only my personal opinions – I do not get any kind of benefits from any of these places below (I wish..)
If you had only one night, this is the place I would recommend among all others.
Recently opened and most probably quite full.
Usually serving tapas and lots of wisdom about wine, these places are usually great for afterwork drinks and usually have a relaxed atmosphere. Expect them to be full during the week, especially Thursdays.
Boulevard Du Vin / BDV (Plainpalais):
Very friendly atmosphere and crew, wonderful wine selection and very reasonably priced. This is also where Wines & Tapas Parties were originally conceived
Le Rouge et Le Blanc (By the river):
A bit expensive, but my favourite wine bar. They receive the Michelin recommendation every year, and rightfully so; with an excellent tapas menu and personalized wine recommendations. They have tables outside, which makes it even nicer. Make sure to reserve in advance.
Soleil Rouge (Rive):
Similar to BDV in terms of clientele, they serve Spanish Wine & Tapas, and can be spotted very easily from the crowd spilling out onto the pavement. Right opposite of Rive car parking. They have a room downstairs for group events.
One of the few reasons I would go to Carouge after work; very delicious tapas, great wine, big interior and tables outside during summer. They also have downstairs for group events. Parking IS a problem, choose the paid parking at the place de la sardaigne.
Cocktail / Lounge Bars
These are the bars that close at 2am, lately gaining popularity with lots of new places with different concepts.
Riverside Café (Rue du Rhône):
Located right by the river, with the recent renovations, Riverside has become one of the most popular afterwork bars in Geneva. Especially popular in the summer with a huge terrace by the river, it is also where many Wines & Tapas events are organized.
Les Voiles (Genève Plage) – OPEN ONLY IN SUMMER:
If you want to feel like you’re in a Barcelona beach club, this is the Geneva version. A big part of Genève plage converted into a lounge bar (after a 5 years negotiation with the authorities). Amazing open air atmosphere, huge location (sometimes ~1000 people) with quality clientele. They are open until September, and you can find me there at least three times a week!:)
L’atelier cocktail club genève (Eaux-Vives)
Excellent cocktails served by award winning barmen, this place is a gem in Geneva Nightlife. Recently doubled in size, you will find lots of comfy couches and still a decent crowd where many people will be happy to speak English with you. You will hate it while the barmen takes forever to perfect every detail of the cocktail while you’re in the queue; but you’ll appreciate when it’s your turn.
Bottle Brothers (Eaux-Vives)
Right across the street from Atelier and one of the local favorites, this place is almost always full – and for a good reason, they have excellent food (especially the burgers), very friendly hosts and good selection of artisan beers and wine. They recently bought the restaurant nearby, and installed a big bar and more tables. This place is certainly IN this year. The crowd is mostly french speaking, but you will not feel out of place here.
Brasserie des Halles de L’île (Bel Air)
Located in a huge building on the big island next to Bel-Air, it’s a popular restaurant / bar when it’s not summer. High ceilings, big open air terrace and sometimes a good DJ selection makes it a good option for after work for quite a big age-range. They also organize dancing nights on Sundays, if you want to practice your latin dancing skills (check their website for more info).
L’Apothicaire and Barbershop (Plainpalais)
These two cocktail bars are just next to each other in Plainpalais (just opposite of BDV), and they both serve excellent cocktails and host a mostly university crowd. Recommended if you’re in the area.
Demi Lune (Old town)
One of the oldest bars as far as I know, Demi Lune has a consistent crowd, nice decoration, great food (Burger rossini is amazing) and well made cocktails. It’s a calm place, I go there when I want to just sit down and enjoy a conversation. Also worth noting, always open on Sundays and Mondays – very useful if you have a guest that you want to take out.
Rooftop 42 (Rue du Rhone 42)
One of the more trendy spots, rooftop 42 has a good looking clientele and a good atmosphere. Very crowded in the weekends during both winter and summer. Live sax / drum shows on saturday nights. Many visitors continue their nights in Baroque. Very popular spot – reservation recommended.
Clubbing in Geneva
This is difficult… Due to the noise restrictions and the unwillingness of the very expensive rents, there is no huge one club in Geneva. The existing smaller clubs could be grouped into “Posh”, “Average” and “Students”, based on their pricing and clientele. They usually fill up around 2am (with the exception of Zoé during the weekends) and close at 5am. With the recent downfall of Zoé, unfortunately we don’t have one place to recommend right now, but Baroque will always be full. Here are a few that we like:
Baroque Club (Rue du Rhone)
This is one of the “posh” clubs in Geneva that actually has great music and no entry fee at the door. However if you did not reserve a table, you can expect to be pushed around non stop inside, as it becomes very crowded during the weekend and almost every conceivable empty space is filled with tables. The prices are expensive, but if you’re going there you shouldn’t really care about this:)
Le Garçonnière (between Rue du Rhone/old town):
As you might have already guessed from the name, it’s meant to be a gay bar, however hosts a mixed crowd since 2 years. It’s guaranteed to be full almost any day. You can also enjoy the transvestite show, and the relaxed atmosphere.
Petit Palace (Old Town)
With it’s “erotic” strip-tease shows every night (once or twice during the night, just for 15-20 mins), if you want a relaxed night out without coming across any of your colleagues, and dance to the latest hits, this is the place for you. I think they’re the most commercially successful club in Geneva since years, as they manage to fill the club almost every night. How do I know? don’t ask…
Mambo Club (Paquis)
If you like latino mixed with mainstream, Mambo is the answer in Geneva. This club has two floors – top floor is basically a cocktail bar sometimes with live music. This is usually a great hangout on a Thursday night if you feel like dancing a bit. Downstairs becomes a club as of 11pm, and usually full. The prices are reasonable, I just wish it wasn’t in Paquis:)
Chat Noir Bar / Club (Carouge)
If you live in Carouge and you really don’t want to go anywhere else after the 5th bottle in Qu’importe, Chat Noir is your place. I haven’t been there for a long time, but I heard that it’s not bad with recent renovations.
Social Events / Activities
Geneva makes up for the lack of a huge night life scene with the number of social activities and events. With so many expats in town, there are loads of social events organised in Geneva, thanks to such a multinational crowd. This is a great way to meet new people especially if you are new in town, if you are tired of hanging around with your colleagues, if you want to try some activities that you fancy, or just want to expand your network.
Wines and Tapas Events
Sorry for the shameless self promotion, but Wines & Tapas parties are a great opportunity to meet new people, while you enjoy delicious wine & tapas. Organised about once in few months, we have hosted more than 100 events since 2008:) We also organise ski trips / photography courses and other activities time to time. Subscribe by email (by filling the form on the right hand side) and like us on Facebook
Meetup.com is a global website for event organisation, and is getting more and more popular in Geneva. You can find all kind of activities ranging from afterwork drinks to entrepreneur gatherings, wordpress trainings, etc; all in Geneva. Just join a group to your liking and you will receive event invitations in no time.
Glocals – Things to do
Here you can find any kind of activity to your liking in the “Things to do” section. Great way to meet people with similar interests, or try some extreme sports that you always wanted. Wine & Tapas parties also started in this website:)