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A Nightlife Guide to Zurich, Switzerland

Picture of Sean Mowbray
Updated: 16 July 2017
Zurich has a sober reputation, but it’s still a city that knows how to have fun. There are great clubs, bars and hang-out spots catering to all music tastes, so you are bound to have a great night no matter what your taste. However, before you paint the town red, check out our nightlife guide to get the low-down on where to go.
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Where to go out in Zurich

Zurich’s Old Town is the obvious place to enjoy a night out. It has the highest concentration of bars and clubs in Switzerland, so you really are spoilt for choice.

Langstrasse used to be the main red-light district of Zurich. It’s still active, but has had a bit of a makeover of late and is now a lively place for a night out. Gonzo is one of the best clubs here, despite the ominous kebab shop next door that suggests otherwise, with its mix of live DJs playing pop, rock and funk. Kaufleuten is another favourite of the area and has been graced by the likes of Madonna and Robbie Williams in the past. It’s got four bars, with very different vibes, spread over two floors.

Kreis 5, also known as Zurich West, is a former industrial sector that is enjoying a revival as the city’s hippest nightlife location. Take a look at 10 of the best bars to start your night off here. Frau Gerold’s Garten is a popular meeting spot and a good way to ease into Kreis 5’s bohemian atmosphere by sipping your drinks in a garden surrounded by old shipping containers.

Geroldstrasse 23, 8005 Zürich, Switzerland, +41 78 971 67 64

Summer in Zurich

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City Centre start: Andorra Bar

Among the many offerings, Andorra Bar stands out for the sheer variety of drinks on offer. The usual Swiss beers line up against names from across the world, and there are over 120 different cocktails on offer. Andorra stocks plenty of quality wines as well, or if you prefer something stronger to get your night going, there is over 80 brands of whisky. All this can be enjoyed to the sounds of jazz music or during summer you can take a seat outside and enjoy the cool evening air.

Münstergasse 20, 8001 Zürich, Switzerland, +41 44 252 65 70

Annual mega-parties

Don’t be fooled by the alpine pastures, yodelling and cow-bells, the people of Switzerland do like to let their hair down on occasion. At the annual Street Parade, a cacophonous 2-kilometre trail around the lake accompanied by pounding techno music, the young and old alike come out to drink, listen to music and get dressed up in dazzling colours. The party starts mid-afternoon and goes on well into the next morning. This year’s 26th edition will be celebrated on 12th August.

For a truly different experience you should check out Caliente, one of the biggest celebrations of Latin-American music and culture in Europe which hits the city every Summer. Live DJs, free-flowing cocktails and as much salsa, reggae and reggaetón as your hips can handle.

Useful party info

Bars in Zurich tend to close around midnight on weekdays and 2am on weekends, while some clubs stay open until 5am.

However, you don’t have to stick to the clubs – Zurich is known for its badis, swimming-pools that double up as bars, which are popular hang-out spots during the summer and can be found along the lakefront. A good, chilled spot is Rimini Bar, which is a male-only swimming pool by day, and a relaxed bar serving beers and pizza, accompanied by live music, by night.

Zurich’s Street Parade is guaranteed to be colourful
Zurich’s Street Parade is guaranteed to be colourful | © abstrkt.ch/ Flickr