Geneva has a dazzling nightlife that ranges from the tres chic to the underground.
What’s On, Event Guides
Pick up the Geneve Agenda at the tourist office for the latest events or go to one of these links for a full calendar of current happenings:
Movie going is a favorite activity in Geneva and there are plenty of theaters throughout the city. Most movies are dubbed into French so look for films marked V.O. for “Version Original.” Many cinemas still observe the tradition of a ten minute intermission so don’t be surprised if the lights go up halfway through. Look for ticket discounts on Mondays and Wednesdays and on shows before 17:00. See Cinemas.ch for a full list of times and locations.
Location: Ave Louis-Casai 27; 090 130 2010
Location: Cornavin 4; 090 090 0156
Location: Confédération Centre 8; 090 090 0156
Location: Place Grenus 3; 022 732 7373
Location: Cendrie 22; 022 731 1589
Location: Rive 4; 022 310 6532
Casino de Divonne
Location: Avenue des Thermes, Coppet-Divonne; +33 4 5040 3434
A short 15 km from Geneva, Casino de Divonne is the best casino in the area. Roulette, black jack, poker, slot machines and all your other favorites are available for a 10.50 Euro entrance tax. Two top tier restaurants and a concert hall are also conveniently located on the premises.
Location: Route de Pre Bois 20; 022 717 1111
Geneva’s newest casino located on the top floor of the Movenpick hotel near the airport. Stunning views, a cocktail lounge and a full service casino have made Movenpick a hotspot for Geneva’s jet set.
Servette Football Club
Location: Stade de Geneve; 022 979 5949
Geneva’s largest and most popular football club, Servette is a regular contender in the Swiss championships. The team’s new stadium, completed in 2004, is ultra modern and its 30,000 seats are usually filled on game day.
Though it can be difficult for newcomer’s to scratch the surface of Geneva’s music scene, those willing to search are almost always rewarded with a lively experience.
Location: Rue des Alpes 10; 022 716 5630
A jazz school by the day, AMR was founded by local musicians in 1971. At night, the school transforms into one of the hottest jazz clubs in town with freewheeling jam sessions during the week and concerts on weekends from some of the biggest names in jazz.
Le Chat Noir
Location: Rue Vautier 13, Carouge; 022 343 4998
Le Chat Noir is the best jazz and blues club in Geneva and well worth the trip to neighboring Carouge. The upstairs bar is a hip hangout, while downstairs is all about the music. On tap is always an eclectic mix of the best jazz, blues and rock from both local and international artists. After midnight, the beat picks up with Dj’s spinning house and techno into the wee hours of the morning.
Location: Place des Volontaires 4; 022 781 3490
Geneva’s most experimental and adventurous venue, L’Usine is a multi-purpose arts center that hosts all manner of fringe music from “puke” metal to “electro-dark” techno. The atmosphere is shady, but always interesting.
Location: Route des Batailleux 3, Grand Saconnex; 022 710 9090
The Geneva Arena is the main big event venue in the city where most international artists come to play. Joe Cocker, Destiny’s Child, Avril Lavigne and Lenny Kravitz are just a few of the names that have graced the stage. The Arena also plays host to numerous exhibitions, sporting events and dance parties throughout the year.
Location: Rue du Stand 3; 022 329 71 29
A favorite of the Latin American community in Geneva, Palladium specializes in Latino music and concerts. The dance floor is always packed and you can’t help but move to the rhythms that gyrate late into the night.
Location: Place des Cinq-Continents 1; 022 989 3436
The Forum Meyrin is a family cultural center that sponsors a wide variety of concerts from jazz to classical.
Bars and Night Cafes
Demi Lune Cafe
Location: Rue Etienne-Dumont 3; 022 312 1290
Sophisticated and cozy, this low lit Mediterranean café features tasty tapas and a long list of cocktails including several home grown concoctions.
Location: Place du Bourg-de-Four 20; 022 310 1096
Located near the fountain at Bourg-de-Four, La Clemence is a popular meeting spot, boasting the largest terrace in the Old Town and a friendly atmosphere. A great place to start off the night.
Location: Rue de Lausanne 80; 022 731 6797
Authentic English pub with all the fixings. Draught beer and televised English sports upstairs, live music and themed events in the basement.
Location: Rue Grenus 14; 022 732 8576
A tiny Irish pub with lots of character. Live Irish music most weekends. Rugby and football matches on T.V. Located opposite the Manor department store.
Location: Place Cornavin 20; 022 731 0206
Located just a stones throw from the train station, Le Brasserie is the only brew pub in town and a Geneva institution. The pub serves five different house brewed beers that always includes at least one seasonal selection. Five pint towers are also available at a price too good to pass up, helping to ensure a raucous crowd most every night.
Location: Rue de la Navigation 40; 022 738 1771
A one of a kind gypsy bar open Wednesdays through Sundays with live music every night played by Slavonic musicians from throughout southeastern Europe. Balkan food on the menu and a friendly staff.
Location: Rue de la Rôtisserie 10; 022 318 31 10
Popular with the international crowd, the Alhambra is a trendy but friendly bar, spinning world beat music and serving a full range of cocktails. There are comfortable couches to laze upon and interesting artwork on the walls.
Geneva’s nightclub scene ranges from the trendy to the super trendy. There is a cover charge at most locations and, more often then not, a dress code.
Location: Route d’Annecy 403; +33 4 5049 2350
Just 10km outside of the city, Macumba is the biggest night club in Europe with 17 different themed club rooms and 7 restaurants. Club hoppers will think they’ve died and gone to heaven. Needless to say, it’s ridiculous.
Location: Route de Vernier 114; 022 796 6123
Less overwhelming than Macumba but equally as stimulating, Weetamix is a top caliber dance club spinning house and techno from midnight on. International guest Dj’s and producers regularly bring fresh beats to this dynamic club.
Location: Rue de la Boulangerie 3; 022 310 5598
If you’re idea of fun is getting sloshed and sloppy with other English speakers then look no further. The cave-like dance floor is notorious for its late night hook-ups, aided in no small part by the incredibly strong cocktails served in shaker glasses.
Location: Rue des Vieux-Grenadiers 10
Although intended as a locals-only club, it’s worth trying to get into SIP (“Soul Influenced Product”) for its unique ambiance and quality music mix. The club is housed in an old industrial building and has several levels to explore including an Arabian nights style bar and a warehouse dance floor.
Location: Grand Rue 21; 022 311 7009
The only nightclub in Geneva playing exclusively hip-hop on weekends. Reggae and disco on Thursdays and Sundays.
Classical Music, Opera and Dance
The classics are alive and well in Geneva with many outstanding venues presenting a full agenda of modern and classical favorites. The epicenter of high culture is located at Place Neuve home to three of Geneva’s main performance halls. Each is an architectural masterpiece and plays host to a varied array of concerts, dance performances and operas.
Location: Rue Général-Dufour 14; 022 328 8121
As Geneva’s premiere classical music venue, Victoria Hall has attracted the finest orchestras from around the world since its inauguration in 1894. The Rococo style building seats 1,850 and is renowned for its exceptional acoustics.
The Grand Théâtre
Location: Place Neuve; 022 311 2311
The Grand Theatre is a replica of the Garnier Opera House in Paris completed in 1879 and later restored in 1961 after a fire broke out during a performance of Wagner’s “Walkyrie” and destroyed the theater. The Opera house presents a seasonal mix of opera and chamber music from the greatest past and modern composers.
The Conservatoire de Musique
Location: Place Neuve; 022 311 7633
Located at Place Neuve, the Conservatory of Music is a Byzantine masterpiece decorated with the muses of the ancient world and other interesting statues that adorn its façade. The Conservatory houses a music academy with several classrooms, as well as a large concert hall.
Location: Quai du Mont-Blanc 19; 022 732 0600
The Grand Casino is the most exquisite performance hall on the right bank. A progressive agenda of music, dance and theater performances are on tap each season designed to enlighten and enliven the cultural arts scene in Geneva.
Most theater in Geneva is in French, however there are several companies that stage regular English productions. Many French spectacles are worth a look even if you don’t speak the language for their experiment and avant-garde visual style.
The Comédie de Genève
Location: Boulevard des Philosophes 6 022 320 5001
Geneva’s premier stage for classic and modern drama. The Comedie has the most ambitious agenda of any theater in Geneva presenting at least 24 different plays each year.
Bâtiments des Forces Motrices (BFM)
Location: Quai des Forces Motrices; 022 322 1220
Located on an island amid the turbulent waters of the Rhône, BMT is a former hydroelectric plant converted into a contemporary theatre in 1997. The theater plays host to every kind of production from modern dance and concert recitals to opera and modern art exhibits. Dozens of smaller theatres are housed in the main building helping to make BMT the most dynamic performance space in Geneva.
Théâtre du Grütli
Location: Rue Général-Dufour 16; 022 328 9878
One of the more popular experimental theaters in the city, Theatre du Grütli feature plays written and performed by local artists in an intimate setting.
Les Marionettes de Genève
Location: Rue Rodo 7; 022 329 6767
A children’s favorite since it’s founding in 1929 by Marcelle Moynier, the Theater of the Marionettes is sure to bring a smile to any child’s face. Incredible artistry and generations of skill bring this theater to life like no other.
Théâtre de l’Usine
Location: Place des Volontaires 4; 022 781 3490
As well as being an experimental music hall, L’Usine is also the most daring theater in the city. You never quite know what to expect but the results are always interesting.
English Theater Groups
There are several English theater groups in Geneva that stage productions throughout the year. Locations vary according to theater availability.
TIE – Theatre in English
Location: Chemin des Batailles 22; 022 341 5190
GEDS – Geneva English Drama Society
LTG Little Theater of Geneva
GAOS – Geneva Amateur Operatic Society
Cabaret and Strip Clubs
There is no shortage of cabaret style clubs in Geneva. Most are located in the Paquis and near Plainpalais. Overpriced drinks are the norm, but friendly service is a guarantee.
Location: Ave du Mail 1; 022 329 3566
Location: Rue de la Tour-de-Boel 6; 022 311 0033
Velvet Night Club
Location: Rue du Jeu-de-L’Arc 7; 022 735 0000
Pussy Cat Night Club
Location: Rue de Glacis-de-Rive 17; 022 736 1500
Geneva has a very active yet discrete gay scene. Dialogai (www.dialogai.org) is the oldest gay organization in Geneva and has been a central hub for Geneva's gay community since 1982. The group organizes regular gay-friendly activities including a weekly get-together on Wednesdays for new comers. If you’re more interested in checking out the party scene www.gaygeneva.com and www.gaygeneva.info provide a full listing of exclusive and non-exclusive bars, clubs, hotels, restaurants and saunas that cater to the gay crowd.