Old Town, Zürich
The most popular place in Zurich for nightlife is the Old Town, on either side of the River Limmat, with many bars and cafés tucked away on the side streets such as Niederdorfstrasse and Oberdorfstrasse. New bars and clubs keep opening up in the city, especially to the west of the Hauptbahnhof in the fourth and fifth districts, around Langstrasse. The majority of bars and clubs close around 0200 but there are bars and discos open until 0300 or 0400. The minimum drinking age is 18 years. Very few clubs have a dress code and most charge SFr15-30 to enter. Half a litre of beer costs between SFr5-7.
Information on club nights and performances (as well as theatres, concerts and opera) is listed in Züri Tipp, published in Friday’s Tages Anzeiger (website: www.zueritipp.ch) and in Thursday’s Ticket, part of Neue Zürcher Zeitung (website: www.nzz.ch/ticket/ZH/index.html). Clubbers should get hold of Forecast, published monthly, which has extensive listings of Zurich’s club scene.
Bars: Quite a few of the city’s best bars serve food or have a restaurant attached. Kaufleuten, Pelikanstrasse 18, is a popular bar with a hip restaurant. Upmarket and hyper-trendy Café Bar Odeon, Limmatquai 2, attracts the beautiful people and those who think they are. Somewhat more irreverent is Iroquois, Seefeldstrasse 120a (website: www.iroquois.ch), is a bar with a Tex-Mex restaurant. Ba Ba Lu, Schmidgasse 6, is a rather eclectic place, sometimes hosting interesting live music. The Jules Verne Panorama Bar, on the first floor between the Brasserie Lipp and the Urania Observatory, Uraniastrasse 9, is always crowded but offers wonderful views over the city. The Ziegel oh Lac bar and restaurant, in the Rote Fabrik, Seestrasse 395 (website: www.rotefabrik.ch), has waterside seating in summer and reasonably priced food (SFr12-22).
Casino: Although gambling is legal in Switzerland, there is as yet no casino in Zurich. The major complex currently being built at the airport will contain one, however, it will be several years before this opens.
Clubs: Many of Zurich’s clubs are part of larger arts and entertainment complexes. In the Rote Fabrik, Seestrasse 395 (website: www.rotefabrik.ch), five kilometres south of the city centre (bus 161 or 165 from Bürkliplatz), are the Klubraum and the Aktionshalle. Here a mix of dance music is played as well as live acts. Likewise, Limmatbar is part of the Palais X-tra, Limmatstrasse 118 (website: www.x-tra.ch), and attracts a young and trendy clubbing crowd. Kanzlei, Kanzleistrasse 56, near Helvetiaplatz (website: www.kanzlei.ch), plays different music on different nights – anything from techno to house and disco. For techno and alternative dance music, clubs such as Rohstofflager, Binzmühlestrasse 86, in Zürich-Oerlikon (website: www.rohstofflager.ch), or Rif Raff, on the corner of Langstrasse and Josefstrasse, are good bets. A new arrival in the area is Dynamo, part of the Jugendkulturhaus, Wasserwerkstrasse 21. There are also some good concerts played here, usually from alternative punkish bands. Salsa and funk are played at El Cubanito, Bleicherweg 5.
Live music: Large rock concerts are usually held in the Hallenstadion, Wallisellenstrasse 45, in the Oerlikon district (website: www.hallenstadion.ch), or the Volkshaus, Stauffacherstrasse 60. For top-flight jazz in a striking setting, there is Moods Jazz Club, Schiffbaustrasse 6 (website: www.moods.ch), which is part of the major cultural centre in the former shipbuilding works of Sulzer. The building also has a restaurant and theatre. There are concerts for SFr20-28 (more expensive for well-known acts) from Tuesday to Sunday but only two concerts per week in summer. The Casa Bar, Münstertgasse 20, is Zürich’s longest-running jazz venue offering nightly entertainment. The chic Hotel Bar Widder, Widdergasse 6 (website: www.widderhotel.ch), has recently and successfully revived the old jazz nights on Wednesdays. An older clientele is drawn to the elegant Dolder Grand Hotel Bar, Kurhausstrasse 65 (website: www.doldergrand.ch), for popular piano music.
Throw a rock in any direction and you are bound to find a bar in Zurich.
Dress Code: Most actual bars do not let you in if you are wearing running shoes. Dressier shoes are a must! In the summer there are outdoor bars everywhere.