Grottes is a unique wonderland I’ve yet to fully discover. It’s the same neighborhood where they do the fresh food market on Thursdays and where I often meet friends for a quick drink at a local favorite, La Petite Reine. It’s not only popular because it is conveniently located uphill from Gare Cornavin (the main train station in Geneva’s center, making it incredibly easy to get to) but for what TripAdvisor describes as its “friendly and bohemian village-like feel.”
The neighborhood is full of “small artisanal enterprises” (and thus, low rents), “edgy bars and clubs,” and a mix of old and newly renovated buildings. This is because apparently Grottes also has a long history of social struggle – to resist attempts by developers to turn the neighborhood into yet another modern office and residential wasteland.
I am so thankful for the efforts to resist because Grottes is one of the few neighborhoods in Geneva that still seems to have a soul.
La Galerie is a perfect example of Grottes’s unique and quirky spirit: it is a bar/cooperative where all of the ‘bartenders’ volunteer in rotation, at least one night a month. The night that I was there the founder of the UN Orchestra poured me my first chilled glass of a local Chasselas (just 2 CHF folks). They also had higher quality wines to taste, at 4 CHF a glass. Other friends ordered blonde beers for just 2.5 CHF each. If you’ve ever been to Geneva, you know these prices are practically unheard of, hence why you just have to love Grottes and places like La Galerie.
La Galerie is not only cheap but also a cozy and welcoming place. I definitely need to go back and you should check it out, too!