Top Places To Party In The Swiss City On The Rhine
If you’re looking for an under-the-radar place to party in Europe, a city that provides plenty of party punch but that hasn’t been beat to death with the tourist stick, then look no further than Basel.
The nightlife in this Swiss city on the Rhine River is nothing short of sensational. It has one of the coolest combo-bars you’ll ever enounter and one of the liveliest – and most crowded – Irish pubs in all of Europe. It’s compact enough to bar-hop on foot and there’s not enough bars to be overwhelmed. It’s a weekend waiting to happen.
And for you gentlemen seeking sure-fired sex, it even has a Red Light District.
One Of Europe’s Top Irish Bars
You would have a great time in Basel if you went no further than Paddy Reilly’s, the Irish bar where every Friday and Saturday night might as well be St. Patrick’s Day. Paddy’s is great for meeting people because, for one reason, there’s a lot people to meet!
After midnight, it’s more packed than a woman’s suitcase, and it goes on until 5 in the morning. Downstairs people are dancing to a DJ and on the main level they are rocking out to another DJ. But, get this, it’s not so loud so as you can’t carry on a conversation. And it’s those conversations – among existing or new friends – that makes Reilly’s so appealing.
That’s because the crowd is so appealing, full of that youthful beer-drinking enthusiasm that elevates a bar from stand-around to outstanding. You had better get there before midnight on weekends, or you’ll be waiting in line or having your pints outside on the patio and adjacent grass hill.
Paddy Reilly’s is located on Steinentorstrasse, just a couple of doors down from the Radisson Blu Hotel which, considering the latter’s location and the fact that it’s a nice property, is an ideal place to stay while in Basel.
Sidewalk Cafe Bars
The pubbers arrive to Paddy’s from a British bar. Mr. Pickwick’s Pub is a mere two blocks away – everything in Basel is within short walking distance, another plus for the nightlife in this city – and, compared to Paddy’s, is typically British understated.
That is to say it’s not as busy or lively. That means you can walk right into the place, grab a pint and find a table. Or join the people outside on the small patio. The bartenders are so authentically British you have to concentrate to understand their thick accent if you’re not used to it. If there’s a football game on, or any other sports you want to see, this is the place to watch it.
This area is a great way to start your partying in Basel: hitting the after-work cafes. In summer, it’s quite the scene with people sitting in tables having cocktails and conversations while others walk and ride bicycles on the pedestrian street Steinenvorstadt.
Pick the cafe crowd that suits you best; the All-Bar-One bar has a local following but PubClub prefers Kuchilin Bistro if there’s a table. If you’re a beer drinker, try the local brew. Warteck, is a nice and light – but not too light – lager.
City Beach – A Basel Hotspot
Pubbers and clubbers alike will love City Beach. And what’s not to love!? It has something for everyone: A large outdoor lounge-style patio – with an atual simming pool in the middle of it – a happening bar inside, a dance floor in a separate building, and even a restaurant.
In the winter, Zermatt Tourism converts the patio into a ski haus. On top of all that, there’s yoga classes on Saturday mornings, from 8-12:30.
City Beach (Binningerstrasse 14, a block up the hill and to the right of Paddy’s) is paradise for some singles, who find it the ideal place for mingling with the opposite sex. If that makes it sound like a pick-up joint, well, it certainly has that potential. Depending on the one doing the picking, of course. We’ll say this: The setting is certainly ripe for the pickings.
Cool Bars & Clubs In Basel
Clubbers feel right at home in the elegantly intimate Atlantis (also near the Radisson Blu, two blocks in the other direction at Klosterberg 13).
Atlantis is a lounge/dance club that brings in a sophisticated crowd. Unless it’s to go upstairs and eat in its excellent restaurant, don’t arrive before midnight, because you’ll be the only people in the place.
For drinks with a bird’s eye view, BarRouge is at the top of the Exhibition Tower, the tallest building in Basel.
For music, the Bird’s Eye Jazz Club is a small venue that often features acoustic music. It’s at Kohlenberg 20, 4051.
We saw it and didn’t go in because it wasn’t happening when we were around it, but Papa Joe’s above the main tram stop at Barfusserplatz looks like it could be Basel’s version of Senior Frogs in Mexico. Which means it has the look of a tequila-slammin’ good time. You can check it out from the street through its glass walls.
And the Red Light Distict? It’s in the “new” part of town, which is across the Rhine (and yes, it’s still in Switzerland, the German border is a few kilometers to the north).
Go across Basel’s original bridge, the arched one past Marketplatz. Hang a left at the first or the second streetand you’ll run right into it. The main road has a few small bars but just so you know, this isn’t anything like Amsterdam’s Red Light District.