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Geneva Nightlife

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).


Bars in Geneva

Rooftop 42

Located on the top floor of a building on the chic Rue du Rhône (take the elevator from the bottom of number 42), this slick bar sports a terrace with one of the best views in Geneva. Regular DJs and live music, a menu featuring everything from burgers to sushi, and an extensive drinks list are quickly making this the place to be seen.

Address:
Tel: +41 22 346 7700
Website: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/block/city-nightlife-item/geneva/rooftop-42

Le Verre à Monique

Appropriately tucked away down a side street in Geneva’s arty district, this delightful little bar proves that the city does have a quirky side, if you’re willing to hunt for it. Evoking the glamour and shadiness of a prohibition-era speakeasy, it specialises in cocktails served up by talented mixologists in vintage glassware and teapots.

Address:
Tel: +41 22 320 2307
Website: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/block/city-nightlife-item/geneva/le-verre-monique

La Clémence

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.

Address:
Tel: +41 22 312 2498
Website: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/block/city-nightlife-item/geneva/la-clemence

Clubs in Geneva

Au Chat Noir

A respected live music outlet in Carouge specialising in soul singers, jazz musicians and much more besides, Au Chat Noir is a bar and cellar venue that draws an appreciative crowd to around three live shows a week. DJs, regular jam sessions and open mic comedy nights are also part of the mix.

Address:
Tel: +41 22 307 1040
Website: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/block/city-nightlife-item/geneva/au-chat-noir

Weetamix

Weetamix was Geneva’s first proper dance club and remains one of the most popular with local techno heads. Being slightly out of town, it is not the most conveniently located club, but it’s worth making the schlep over. The venue regularly brings in well-known DJs and producers from beyond Switzerland, making it one of the most cutting-edge dance venues in town. It also has a reputation for being gay-friendly.

Address:
Tel: +41 22 796 6123.
Website: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/block/city-nightlife-item/geneva/weetamix

Palais Mascotte

Found in Geneva’s rather shady Pâquis district, this cabaret and burlesque nightspot has been entertaining night-owls since 1887. Extending over three floors and decked out in plush red fabrics and Baroque-style furniture, it comprises a restaurant where you can dine while watching a cabaret show, a 1930s cafe presenting comedy and music, and a basement nightclub featuring a nightly burlesque performance, followed by DJs to 0500.

Address:
Tel: +41 22 741 3333
Website: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/block/city-nightlife-item/geneva/palais-mascotte

Palais Mascotte

Found in Geneva’s rather shady Pâquis district, this cabaret and burlesque nightspot has been entertaining night-owls since 1887. Extending over three floors and decked out in plush red fabrics and Baroque-style furniture, it comprises a restaurant where you can dine while watching a cabaret show, a 1930s cafe presenting comedy and music, and a basement nightclub featuring a nightly burlesque performance, followed by DJs to 0500.

Address:
Tel: (022) 741 3333
Website: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/block/city-nightlife-item/geneva/palais-mascotte

Live music in Geneva

Geneva Arena

Geneva’s big-name venue, conveniently located near the airport, is large enough to accommodate super-sized rock operas, international pop stars and commercial spectacles – think James Blunt, Riverdance and Cirque du Soleil. If you’re seriously interested in attending a high-profile concert while you’re in town it’s best to start planning early.

Address:
Tel: +41 22 710 9090
Website: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/block/city-nightlife-item/geneva/geneva-arena

L’Usine

A former gold refinery, it seems a rather pleasing twist that this listed building is now an alternative arts venue given over to bands unlikely to consider wealth their premier concern. With a number of different performance spaces, L’Usine is somewhere you might catch anything from experimental dance and arthouse cinema to electro, punk-rock and reggae music from local unsigned bands.

Address:
Tel: +41 22 781 3490.
Website: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/block/city-nightlife-item/geneva/l-usine

Theatre in Geneva

Comédie de Genève

Founded in 1913, La Comédie de Genève was the city’s first theatre dedicated to dramatic art. Under the lead of Artistic Director Hervé Loichemol, its 450-seat main hall and two studio spaces serve up a classical and contemporary repertoire, which is not always light-hearted, despite its name. Shows staged are predominantly by Swiss-French playwrights, with occasional visits from high-profile European directors including Peter Brook and Romeo Castellucci. Its dramatic performances are complemented by lectures and workshops.

Address:
Tel: +41 22 320 5001.
Website: http://www.worldtravelguide.net/block/city-nightlife-item/geneva/comedie-de-geneve