Bern : Bars, clubs and live music
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Aside from its bars, Bern’s nightlife tends to be concentrated in a handful of large, multipurpose venues which offer a changing diet of live bands, DJs and other bits and pieces, mostly for Fr.15–20 entry. There’s also a fair smattering of decent clubs, which charge more or less the same.

Babalu, Gurtengasse 3. Brash, city-centre club booming glitzy techno and house.

Dampfzentrale, Marzilistrasse 47 (www.dampfzentrale.ch). An old steam factory down on the riverbank, now hosting hugely popular nights featuring jazz, drum’n’bass, dance, theatre and film, as well as a daytime café-bar. Either walk, or take evening bus #30 (8.45–11.55pm only).

Drei Eidgenossen, Rathausgasse 69. A small, noisy bar in the Old Town, its wooden benches very popular with a loquacious, alternative young crowd.

ISC, Neubrückstrasse 10. Premier student venue and club.

Mühle Hunzigen, 13km south of town near Rubigen. An old wooden mill out in the countryside that has, over the years, hosted a jaw-dropping array of top-flight international jazz, blues and soul performers in an intimate, raucous setting more reminiscent of a delta juke-joint than the Swiss capital. If you see a gig advertised here, it’s worth the taxi ride. Make friends quickly in order to nab a lift back to town after the show.

Reitschule (aka Reithalle). Heart of the city’s underground. Facilities include a cinema, concert venue, disco, women-only area and the Sous Le Pont café-bar.

Schwarz & Trionfini’s Cocktail Club, Brunngasshalde 63. An unmarked wooden facade gives into an atmospheric bar, with a bare-rock cellar chiselled out of the hillside furnished with sagging red sofas and candelabra. The chic clientele are rather less dramatic than the space, sipping sidecars at each other like it was coming back into fashion, but the late-night blend of Jack Daniels and Miles Davis is a heady (if expensive) one nonetheless. Closed Sun.

Shakira, Hirschengraben 24. Mainstream Latino DJ-bar with salsa and regular Cuban nights.

Tübeli, Rathausgasse 50. A barfly’s dream tucked away on a cobbled street in the Old Town, with lino on the floor, a long greasy counter and sad songs playing into the small hours.

U1, Junkerngasse 1. Atmospheric subterranean DJ-bar near Nydegg.

Wasserwerk, Wasserwerkgasse 5, below Nydeggbrücke. Bern’s big techno joint, also hosting regular live bands.

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