Whilst Geneva might not seem like a typical spot for a cracking night out in the same way as London or Paris, the city has a huge amount to offer, whatever it is you’re looking for. There are smart cocktail bars, huge clubs, boho drinking dens, fashionable venues full of beautiful people and underground dance nights, all within easy reach of the city centre. One thing to bear in mind is that Geneva is an expensive city and the best of Geneva nightlife doesn’t come cheap. However, all it takes is a bit of planning to get the best of Geneva nightlife on a budget so if you are visiting on a shoestring, head for the student areas such as Plainpalais for great, cheap deals.
Le Francis Bar is a sophisticated piano bar that serves an excellent range of cocktails to a discerning crowd and makes a great start for any night out. Like most of the best venues in Geneva, Le Francis also has a club and a restaurant attached so you don’t even have to move from this spot to have a great night out. If you want to rub shoulders with Geneva’s beautiful bright young things then head to Arthur’s Rive Gauche and take up a position on the terrace with a bottle of something cold and crisp. Senso has great cocktails and a tasty menu of Italian style cuisine that is popular with the local sophisticates and Soleil Rouge (is an excellent wine bar with a fine selection of Spanish wines.
At the other end of the scale is La Clémence, favourite haunt of students of the nearby university and the kind of place that everyone who lives in Geneva has been to at least once. The bar has a pretty cosy atmosphere in winter and then opens up its terrace during the summer months. For beer aficionados, Brasserie Trois Dames is a great drinking spot, with plenty of carefully brewed beers to work your way through, from pale ales, to stouts and wood aged beers.
Macumba is a club complex only ten minutes drive from Geneva town centre that is mind-bogglingly big. There are six separate venues all under one roof here so plenty to choose from whatever the beats that you’re looking for, from dance to disco. If it’s glamour you’re after then it has to be the Griffins Club With sumptuous furnishings, low-level lighting and a range of international DJs spinning tunes for the champagne supping crowd, the club provides a glamorous place to spend the hours of midnight to 5am. Gold & Platinum is everything that you would expect from its name, with a sophisticated bar serving chic cocktails for you to drink on the white leather couches before heading into the cool club with its flashy interiors and international beats.
Moulin à Dance offers something a little less mainstream with an eclectic mix of everything from hip-hop to soul to dancehall to salsa. Weetamix is another great dance club in Geneva, working a mix of techno, house and electro. The club draws plenty of big dance names, as well as the more underground side of the scene.
Le Chat Noir provides a sophisticated stream of jazz, soul and live acts in a cellar bar environment, as well as club nights at the weekends. The hugely popular L’Usine is an arts space/club/venue and offers an interesting range of activities and entertainment, with more of an underground flavour than many of the other venues in Geneva.
Whatever it is you’re looking for from nightlife, there’s a good chance you will find it in this sophisticated and open minded city, particularly if you have a decent sized budget. Best of all, Geneva is relatively small – with a population of around 200,000 – so you’re unlikely to find yourself queuing all night to get in somewhere. You can fit in lots of nightlife into one evening here as most of it is within easy reach – this makes it one of the best cities in the world for bar crawls!