It’s been a while since I updated my ‘things to do in Geneva’ list, I have a friend visiting this weekend so now is a good time.
Where to start? La Petit Reine!
It’s right next to Cornavin station. Wrap up warm as the inside is tiny so you’ll probably end up standing outside. If it isn’t too busy, check out the upstairs for a tiny little room that sometimes has a DJ. What to drink? They often have beer from La Nebuleuse or Pere Jakob on tap. They do a few bar snacks but it isn’t great for food. A good bonus upgrade for your pint is the shot of ginger cordial, if you like ginger. The vin chaud is also a great call in winter.
Next – It’s only open on Saturday mornings and a long way from anything, but Pere Jakob is definitely worth a visit.
Pere Jakob is a micro/mini-brewery located in the Geneva countryside. They only sell beer by the bottle (and there’s a 10 CHF deposit on the bottles + the cost of the beer), but you can do free tasting on site, Friday evenings and Saturday mornings. Normally they have Blonde, Ambree and Blanche available, all organically produced.
If you fancy a cocktail (which are pricey in Geneva) I would recommend:
- Le Verre A Monique – Great when it’s quiet, vintage glassware. Can get SUPER crowded on Thursday/Friday/Saturday, especially later.
- Barbershop – Just round the corner from Le Verre A Monique, comic book decor and a more relaxed/bar type atmosphere. They also serve a good selection of food.
- Atelier Cocktail Club – Over in Eaux Vives, classy and a good selection of cocktails.
If you’re in the Eaux Vives neighbourhood you should also check out Yvette de Marseille, a great little bar just round the corner from Atelier Cocktail club. It’s a friendly place that’s quite large so room for a group of people. I think they also do food…
Another favourite of mine is Cafe Remor, at the point of Plainpalais. It’s a great place for a quiet drink of beer or wine, they do good food, excellent ice cream and nice mint tea.
If you fancy a non-alcoholic drink I would recommend Gilles Desplanches at Molard for hot chocolate and cake.
There are a lot of expat bars in Geneva, they tend to be pricey and full of English speakers. The advantage is that you can order in English and watch international sports. Here’s a run-down in order of my preference.
- Lady Godiva – at the other end of Plainpalais from Remor and just a little round the corner. Good pub quiz on Monday evenings. It’s not cheap. Good food.
- Pickwicks – overpriced beer, plenty of space, it’s in a basement though so extremely dark. Slightly less good (I used to go there when I first arrived) pub quiz on Monday evenings.
- Britannia – Opposite Cornavin. It’s like a lounge inside. Not really the place for a rowdy night of drinking.
- Lord Jim – I think I’ve been here once?
- Les Brasseurs – Basically it’s an ex-pat pub. Overpriced beer, but a great location facing the main station.
- The Clubhouse – I went there once. It was noisy. The beer was expensive. I didn’t like it.
Finally, some other places which don’t quite fit into any of these categories:
Brasserie du Molard – a microbrewery, sometimes the beer is good, sometimes not so great. They do a good flammekueche. Also not to be missed is Pizzeria Ristorante Molino next door, great pizza (but fairly standard Geneva prices).
Brasserie Lipp – it’s a restaurant that’s big, open on Sunday, and you can probably get a table without a reservation so long as it isn’t peak time. Great for seafood, excellent mille-feiulle.
Spring Brothers Irish Pub – I’ve only been here once or twice since I used to frequent it as a summer student in 2005. It’s a really interesting building in the old town, consisting of several houses with interconnections through walls. The vaulted basement is also very cosy. Great Guinness, as you would expect. They also often have live music. It used to be an expat pub but since re-opening a couple of years ago has a very mixed crowd which is always nice.
Cafe Arts – A nice restaurant in Paquis. They do great food and good vegetarian options, just don’t ask for a Martini (you’ll get something poured out of a bottle of Martini, rather than a proper cocktail). Cosy atmosphere and lots of cultural and alternative events are publicised on the walls.
Restaurant 5 Portes – Does a great job of straddling the restaurant/bar frontier, with more of a restaurant bias. Excellent food and very delicious deserts. One of my favourite places in Paquis, just round the corner from Cafe Arts.
The Hamburger Foundation – It’s a restaurant. They don’t take reservations (so be prepared to wait in line). Great burgers and the best Martini in town.
Luigia – simply the best pizza restaurant in Geneva (even all the Italians in town agree). It’s relatively expensive, but incredibly delicious and the deserts are out of this world. Reservations obligatory unless you want take-away. I’m still indebted to Sameer and Mascha for showing me this place last year and treating me to a fantastic pizza.
Holy Cow – Sometimes it’s hard to remember that there wasn’t always a Holy Cow in Geneva. It’s a mid-low priced (for Geneva) burger restaurant, cheap and cheerful decor, student discounts and good beer made by a microbrewery in Lausanne. It’s basically one of very few places to go and eat before you go out drinking, or if you just want a low key meal outside of your house. Sometimes it smells of burned hamburger.