BEST COCKTAIL/WINE BARS IN GENEVA
by Geli Carney & Melanie Goodman & Melissa Johns
It’s the season to be jolly… tra-la-la-la-la. If you’re heading out for a pre-Christmas drink, we’ll help you find the best place for a great cocktail or glass of wine in the city.
We spent hours researching the best places to go for a a festive drink – all in the name of research to help you, of course.
Here’s a selection of what we consider are the best around. Cheers!
BEST FOR: GROUPS, ‘JEUDREDI’ AND END-OF WEEK DECOMPRESSION
A lively bar, just off Plainpalais and opposite The Hamburger Foundation (making dinner plans a no-brainer) Mr Barber’s is a great after-work spot serving well made cocktails with the emphasis on fun and flair. Service is super-friendly and relaxed – you may need to be patient for service but this will pay off in the end. Décor is urban/industrial and while the bar is reasonably sized the fun often spills out onto the pedestrianised street.
ADDRESS: 5 rue Leschot,, 1205 Genève. Telephone: 022 525 0455.
OPENING HOURS: Open from 5pm, six days a week, closed Sundays
Le Scandale is a lively bar and restaurant best known for their tasty pizza (delivery also available) and delicious cocktails, just a short walk from Gare Cornavin. The restaurant, at the front, is slightly more tranquil than the livelier bar area at the back. Décor inside is modern but with a cosy dimly lit ambiance. The bar is a busy, fun spot with a DJ on weekends (closes at midnight). You can reserve a table beforehand in the bar area and enjoy table service to order both drinks/food (it is advisable to book ahead). There is also a basement area with a dancefloor which can be hired for group or corporate events.
ADDRESS: 24 rue de Lausanne, 1201 Genève. Telephone: 022 731 8373.
OPENING HOURS: Open from 11.30am (6.30pm on Saturdays), six days a week until midnight. Closed on Sundays.
Decorated like an American teenager’s den circa 1995 (hence why you’ll find a lot of home-sick American expats here), Barbershop is the Peter Pan of Genevan cocktail bars, offering a fun, party atmosphere and perhaps the friendliest pricing in town. Classic cocktails and beers are their speciality with a good choice of food available too.
ADDRESS: 14 boulevard Georges-Favon, 1201 Genève. Telephone: 022 320 7192.
OPENING HOURS: Open 10am til late Monday to Saturday. Closed Sundays.
Petit & Grand Bottle
Petit Bottle is the cocktail bar side of this double fronted establishment in the heart of Eaux Vives – (Grand Bottle, the bigger brother next door, offers beautifully presented contemporary cooking – worth a visit but not our focus here). Petit Bottle is well worth a visit in its own right with expertly made cocktails, chic interior and metropolitan vibe. The bar is beautifully lit while the remaining space feels like a place to share secrets. Be warned: ‘petit’ is the word and on weekend nights you may struggle for space. Don’t be put off however: staff are very friendly and know their stuff. If you didn’t make plans for dinner ‘little brother’ can serve up a platter of sliders to accompany your drink: a trio of three burgers with optional extra toppings, perfectly formed for taste and also getting round the challenge of eating in a tight space! Petit Brother offers an appealing range of creative signature cocktails (or they will tailor make something to suit your flavour preferences).
ADDRESS: 12 rue Henri Blanvalet, 1207 Eaux-Vives, Genève. Telephone: 022 772 3032.
OPENING HOURS: Open Tuesday–Saturday, 5pm til late. Closed Sunday and Monday.
L’Atelier Cocktail Club
Across the road from Bottle Brothers (and about five times as big) is L’Atelier Cocktail Club. Here the décor is simpler and the atmosphere more casual but don’t worry if you think this attitude is reflected in the quality of the cocktails, far from it. The broad range of drinks comes presented in a fun, newspaper format and bar staff will pay plenty of attention to crafting your cocktail while you make use of the table football close by.
Best for: groups, conversation and games
ADDRESS: rue Henri-Blanvalet 11, 1207 Genève. Telephone: 022 735 22 47.
OPENING HOURS: Open from 6pm, five days a week (closed Sundays/Monday).
Eaux Vives offers rich pickings for cocktail bars and it would be very easy to spend your entire evening wandering from bar to bar. Just be careful your step doesn’t turn into a stumble! Here are a couple more bars in the area worth checking out – but perhaps not all on the same evening:
Small, crowded, dark interior, pumping music… you will either love it or hate it. Really best if you’re after a club atmosphere. Interesting range of cocktails for those with a sweet tooth.
ADDRESS: 15 rue du lac, 1207 Genève. Telephone: 022 700 7340.
OPENING HOURS:Open from 6pm, Sunday to Friday, from 7pm Saturdays.
Yvette de Marseille
Young (at heart) crowd, fun atmosphere and Cote d’Azur (circa 1950s) décor. For when you really want to let your hair down, perform spontaneous karaoke, get behind the bar to mix your own drink… or is that just us?!
ADDRESS: 13 rue Henri-Blanvalet, 1207 Genève. Telephone: 022 735 1555.
OPENING HOURS: Open from 5.30 til late, Monday – Friday, from 6.30 Saturdays. Closed Sundays.
BEST FOR: BUZZ/DATE NIGHT/DINING OPTIONS
Qu’importe Wine Bar
Nestled in the heart of Carouge Qu’importe is a large wine bar offering a great selection of quality wines together with a selection of cocktails for those bigger nights out. It appears that Thursday and Saturday are its busiest times and we would suggest booking a table in advance if you intend to be there a while. They also have cosy rustic private rooms for hire for small functions and get togethers for up to 35 people.
Its appeal does not end with the drinks selection as they offer a comprehensive, appetising and delicious finger food sharing menu: With a selection ranging from platters of charcuterie to mini bagels, cheese selections and tapas, there is something for everyone, vegetarians and meat eaters alike.
This bar has an unusually lively atmosphere most condusive for afterworks drinks or casual get togethers. During the summer they throw open the doors onto a terrace which spills onto the street which makes for a cool relaxed night out. Although it has maintained the original wooden beams and stonework it achieves a modern feel with the addition of cool ornaments in the form of translucent coloured bottles and tasteful lighting.
Whatever the occasion, with attentive service, a substantial drinks selection and tasty food, this bar never fails to deliver.
ADDRESS: 1 rue Ancienne, 1227 Carouge, Genève. Telephone: 022 342 1525.
OPENING HOURS: Open Monday–Saturday, 5pm til late. Closed Sunday.
BEST FOR: VINTAGE VIBE, TÊTE À TÊTE, ‘AFTER PARTY’ WIND DOWN
La Verre a Monique
We love this place for its speakeasy feel and breezy charm. Like any Twenties flapper worth their salt, the bar takes centre stage but still manages a gracious welcome, with generous amounts of bar-stool or lounge seating space. Cocktails are good with there’s plenty to choose from. Situated off Plainpalais and close to the artistic quarter around MAMCO, the client base is heavily student and hipster-based but La Verre a Monique is sophisticated enough to appeal to bohemians of any age.
ADDRESS: 19 rue des Savoises, Genève. Telephone: 022 320 2307.
OPENING HOURS:Open Tuesday – Saturday, 5.30 til late. Closed Sunday and Monday.
L’apothicaire Cocktail Club
Smaller and more intimate than its sister (Atelier in Eaux Vives) with a refined, beatnik je ne sais quoi, L’apothecarie – by contrast to its playful neighbour – brings a more cerebral approach to the world of cocktails. The warm and friendly service, as well as careful mixology, means it can happily avoid any criticism of pretentiousness and just is, simply, a nice place to enjoy a late night drink.
ADDRESS: 16 boulevard Georges Favon, 1204 Genève. Telephone: 022 328 1510.
OPENING HOURS: Open Tuesday to Saturday from 5pm. Closed Sundays and Mondays.
And finally, recognising it’s not always about what’s in – but also what’s outside – the glass…
Floor Two Bar, Grand Hotel Kempinski
Five-star Grand Hotel Kempinski offers all guests a spacious bar with picture windows overlooking Lac Leman. Perfect for early evening/pre-show rendezvous all year round.
ADDRESS: 19 quai du Mont Blanc, 1201 Genève. Telephone: 022 908 9226.
OPENING HOURS: Open seven days a week, from 5pm til late.
5-lounge bar, Hotel Metropole
If Geneva’s grey winter skies are getting you down, let yourself dream about the return of warm summer evenings… picture yourself sipping on something long, cool and refreshing while taking in the spectacular 360-degree view on offer at this vibrant, buzzy, seasonal bar.
ADDRESS: 34 Quai General Guisan, 1204 Genève. Telephone: 022 318 3200.
OPENING HOURS: Open seven days a week, from 5pm til late.