Gay Geneva

Situated between the Alps and the Jura Mountains at the very southwest corner of Switzerland, Geneva is the most French of the Swiss cities. With hundreds of international governmental agencies and other organizations based here, it's also a very multicultural scene of many languages and cuisines.

Geneva has a much smaller gay scene for its size than Zurich, or even Lausanne, but look for men strolling hand in hand in the International Quarter near the main train station.

 

Getting here

Geneva International Airport, commonly known as Cointrin, is about 3 miles northwest of downtown Geneva. Pop downstairs to the terminal and hop aboard whatever train about to leave. All of them take you to Geneva’s main train station.

Many people visit from other European cities via the excellent train service. Swiss Federal Railways has trains from Zurich, Bern, Basel, Lausanne and other cities. A rail pass is a (pleasantly) shockingly affordable way to get around, even in first class.

 

Getting around

Geneval has a compact downtown, so you’ll want to walk or rent a bicycle to get around. Trains whisk you to nearby towns in no time flat. Excellent tram and trolleybus services are operated by TPG

 

Neighborhoods

The gay bars here are mostly small and intimate, most of them sprinkled among streets around the main train station.

The shopping center beneath the station exits onto rue du Mont Blanc, a pedestrian street lined with shops and sidewalk cafes, which then leads to Pont du Mont Blanc. Along quai Mont Blanc are more outdoor cafes, bike rentals, ferries, and excursion boats moorings.

A short walk to the left along the waterfront, a small fee admits you onto a narrow spit of land thrusting into the water. Here in summer beyond the pebbly family beach is a small but cruisy narrow park at the point; it's been a gay meeting place for generations. Also here is Buvette des Bains des Paquis, a long-time gay-friendly restaurant with waterside seatings.

 

Currency and Money

The franc is the local currency for Switzerland (and neighboring Liechtenstein). Many businesses also accept euros, but don’t count on it.

 

Media & Resources

360 Magazine is a French-language guide to gay Geneva, Lausanne, and beyond. GayMap.ch and SwissGay.ch have listings for several Swiss cities including Geneva.

The Dialogai Center (11-13 rue de la Navigation) local community and information center has a cafe, film nights and special parties.

MySwitzerland.com has gay pages included among lots of general information, on this official Swiss Tourism website. Ville-Geneve is the official site for the city, with lots of local info, in four languages.

Black Movie, the Geneva International Independent Film Festival, screens over 80 films in January, of which 20 or so are of queer interest within two Mauvais Genres sections. Another 9 films are dedicated to women in the Resistants program, featuring some remarkable heroines.

For map locations and website links to the businesses below, and more, see our gay Geneva listings pages.

 

Bars & Clubs

L'Aiglon Bar (16 rue Sismondi), transforms from typical Pâquis bar and cafe by day into a most unusual nightclub by night, with DJs and a marvelous mix of people.

La Bretelle (17 rue des Etuves), hip, alternative and artsy mix of people, small nook of a cafe/bar of 30 years running; occasional live music performances.

Café la ferblanterie (8, rue de L' École-de-Médecine), alternative bar/ neighborhood café, red velvet cinema seats, tables, coffees, beers, wines, snacks, summer terrace.

Concorde (3 rue de Berne), bar and cafe, busy locals' hangout, off rue Mont Blanc.

Cruising Canyon (15, rue Dr. Alfred-Vincent), sex club, men for men, glory holes, maze, dark room, sling, cabins, videos, SM/fetish and naked nights.

Le Déclic (28 boulevard du Pont d'Arve), since 1988, popular, friendly, relaxed, and comfortable gem of a bar mixes all kinds of guys and some girls too; near the Arve River, ten minutes by tram 13 from the station. Karaoke on Fridays.

La Garçonnière (4 rue de la Rotisserie), intimate drag cabaret show, dance and supper club, 11:30pm and 2:30am performances; 360° Fever parties.

La Petite Reine (4, place de Montbrillant), gay-friendly cafe/bar, gay La Petite Mardi alternate Tuesday events.

Le Verre à Monique (19, rue des Savoises), Tuesday through Saturday gay-friendly 1920s-era Art Deco-style speakeasy cocktail bar.

MAD Geneve/ Moulin a Danses (43 avenue de Châtelaine) gay-friendly multi-cultural cooperative, dance nights, spoken word performances, live music.

Nathan Cafe (34 avenue de Frontenex), every day gay/mixed cafe/bar, breakfast lunch from 8am, coffees, young guys, evening DJs, lounge sofas, free WiFi.

Le Phare (3 rue Lissignol), young gay, East Village sort of crowd, touch of counter-culture ambience, casual living-room style, indoor and outdoor benches, open from 3pm daily.

360 Fever is a dance party sponsored by the eponymous local magazine at various venues around town, six to eight times each year, featuring prominent electro, house and disco international and local DJs and performers.

Jungle, the big gay dance party, formerly in Lausanne and Geneva, now takes place several times each year in Lyon, France.

See restaurant & cafe listings at our map & listings pages.

For dancing nights out many from Geneva take the 45 minute train trip to Lausanne for the ongoing club nights and special parties.

 

Shopping

Livresse Cafe & Bookstore (5, rue Vignier), LGBTQ, feminist, alternative and other books, teas, beers, spirits, events, sandwiches and tapas.

Manor (6 rue Cornavin), super store near main station, sells about everything a traveler might need, cheap; groceries, clothes, cell phones and batteries.

Substation (14 rue de Neuchâtel), gay porn shop, videos, dark rooms, cabins, all the magazines and accessories you'd expect.

 

Saunas

Avanchets (avenue de Batista) near the airport, mixed (gay and straight) action.

Bains de l'Est (3 rue de l'Est), across Rhone River, constantly renovated facility, steamroom, Finnish sauna, private cabins, video lounge, sling-room, orgy area, dark room, solarium, workout facilities, and bar. Naked parties, Sunday cake parties, bears' nights.

Club Duplexx (8 rue Pradier), downtown men's sauna close to main station, steam, Jacuzzi, solarium, videos, bar.

Sauna des Sources (17 rue des Sources), the former Gemeaux, new management, new themes, broader all-gender client base.

Sex-work is legal, but only for free-lance individuals, not agencies.

 

Accommodations

Hotel Astoria (6 place Cornavin), three-star choice at the station.

Hotel Lido (8 rue Chantepoulet; Hotel-lido.ch), not too fancy, good price, one of most convenient central lodging options; free transit passes to get around town.

See two dozen hotel/guesthouse suggestions at our map & listings pages.

- staff - December 2017