A True Swiss Delight, This Nightlife Spot Is One of My Favorite Bars in Switzerland
The place is absolutely Splendid!
I found it because I saw a lighted sign above the door when everything else was either closed for the night or not happening. Worth a look, I surmised.
Once again, my bar-finding instincts proved to be correct. I was in Zurich, Switzerland, and had landed in a place called the Splendid Bar. And it’s splendid, indeed.
The Splendid Bar is a piano bar, but not in the sense of what you might think of as a piano bar. If someone says “piano bar” to me, I envision an upscale lounge with a gentleman in a suit lightly tickling the ivories to tunes from the likes of Burt Bacharach. A fine place indeed, for the right moments. But hardly a “whoop it up” spot.
There’s a piano in the Splendid Bar, all right, but instead of “What The World Needs Now Is Love,” a guy in jeans was cranking out “You May Be Right” by Billy Joel. And I might be crazy but this was just the lunatic bar I was looking for that night!
The guy behind the piano had the place jumping. People were singing along with the tunes, laughing and drinking. A party without pretension.
My kind of place.
The Splendid Bar is somewhat of a small place, with a few tables and about a dozen bar stools. An unusual piece of decor is a small fish tank with a miniature castle, located right in the middle of the bar.
This is a very casual bar, and for me, that is preferable to a high-end lounge. The beers are not exactly cheap – 9.50 Swiss Francs – but not out of line for other places in town. After midnight, it’s full of energy.
On the night I found the bar, I found a comfortable place to stand, and it was next to the piano man. Turns out that on that night, he was an American, Mark Rosier. He plays here each March.
My next visit to the Splendid Bar was in June, and Mark’s spot on the bench was taken by Rod Stewart! At least he looked and sounded like Rod Stewart; turns out he’s from Bulgaria and he also plays some pretty mean Elton John tunes. I was with a friend from Spain and we rocked out to Rod. It’s hard for me not to have a splendid time in the Splendid Bar.
There is, tho, one odd thing about the place. I’ve not quite figured this out – and I could be wrong – but I swear part of the patrons include Russian hookers.
I want to be clear that when you walk in, you are not approached by Russian hoookers and there’s no uncomfortable vibe whatsoever. It’s just that this seems to be their hangout spot. I say this because there are always two, three or four attractive girls who appear to be Russian with a group of six, seven or eight well-dressed gentlemen. In some cases, the age differential makes it pretty obvious that something is up, but frankly I’m not sure what it is exactly.
And you know what? I really don’t care. This is a mere sideshow to the main party and entertainment, and that’s the piano. Plus, the bartender is friendly – he told me he’s been there 11 years – and the waitress is a knockout.
Her name is Nora and she’s one of those tall, thin, perfectly-constructed Swiss girls with a long blonde ponytail who is naturally beautiful; she needs only a light brushing of makeup to enhance what nature has so graciously provided her.
I was so happy to be back at the Splendid Bar on a return trip to Zurich that I celebrated by the same sign that I recognized on my first visit.
And I suggest that you, too, visit the Splendid Bar. If you have a EuroRail or Swiss pass, it’s even worth a side trip to Zurich. Of course, while there, check out these other Zurich bars as well.