Best Bars in Geneva
It's tough following the network's hot bar trends, but someone's got to do it. This month our secret drinks columnist gets wet in GenevaFeatured September 12
It was only when we stripped off and jumped in the lake, while more than a little worse for wear, that the realisation truly dawned on us. Geneva is mega.
Things hadn't seemed so promising at the start of the evening. Arriving in town with few expectations and even less sleep, we were dreading the thought of being overrun by bankers with expensive watches supping retro cocktails. Usually, we have no choice but to head to a hotel bar to get our bearings, but fortunately this time we had a local on board. And they let us in on the city's best-kept drinking secret: the lake.
All through the summer and well into September, the banks of this famous watery landmark are where it's at, the stunning views of the Alps providing a damn fine backdrop to a libation or two. No wonder Freddy Mercury loved the place. Our first watery foray was Bains Des Pâquis (www.aubp.ch). Located on a jetty, it has an awesome bar and even some Turkish baths (massage, anyone?). Better still, it's subsidised by the government, so it's probably the best value in town.
By the time we hit nearby La Terrasse (www.laterrasse.ch), at the entrance to Bains des Pâquis, we were in merry mood. From early evening towards the end of the week, this bar is packed with after-work drinkers and those too cool for labour. It was here that one of us decided a swim was a good idea...
That's the thing about Geneva - it's full of people looking to have fun. Take Claude, a local squatter we met on the banks of the Rhône near a Gypsy caravan-cum-bar called La Barje (www.labarje.ch). We bought the beer and Claude - with the aid of his guitar (called Eric, incidentally) - provided the soundtrack. How often are you able to have a good old singsong by the water on your night out? In Geneva you can.
Some time later, we set off, by this time even merrier and humming "Kumbaya", to Brasserie des Halles de l'Île (www.brasseriedeshallesdelile.ch).
This place is big and it gets busy, so we stocked up on cocktails and took our leave. Our last port of call was Tropical Corner (www.trop.ch): windsurfing school by day, wicked spot for a sundowner and barbecued food at night. Here we chanced upon one of their riotous summer parties. The crowd was wild and the DJs epic. It was the best way to end the night and taught us BarChicks a valuable lesson: never judge a city before you've drunk in its bars... and swam in its lake.