Something of an Old Town institution, La Clémence is a tiny bar with a reputation belying its size. Things really get moving in summer – its outdoor terrace (which itself is far from tiny) is one of the best spots for people-watching in Geneva. It takes on another life in winter, when the bar becomes more of a low-key hang-out, but equally enjoyable in many ways.
The majority of nightlife venues cater to a cross-section of Geneva society. Gentlemen in curled moustaches and smart suits sit back-to-back with hotshot young diplomats and boho students. Come summertime and there’s further communal action in soaking up the evening sun over the long evenings. The only slight disadvantage in this apparently conflict-free society is that it does lack edge – it’s not always easy to find the wild spots in Geneva. But they are there, if you look hard enough.
If it’s culture you’re after, it was Voltaire's own theatrical productions in the Château de Ferney, in 1759, that initiated the theatrical tradition in Geneva, and since then the city has evolved into a home to all types of culture, from the conventional to the underground and from the classical to the avant-garde.
The Geneva Tourist Office and weekly guide Genève Le Guide (www.le-guide.ch) provide nightlife listings and information on cultural events and performances in the city. Tickets for most events can be booked from Ticket Corner (tel: 0900 800 800, in Switzerland only; www.ticketcorner.com) or music and book store Fnac (Rue de Rive 16; tel: (022) 816 1212).