Where does the Swiss bar scene stand?

Survey 101 best bars in Switzerland

Once a year, a new edition of the SWISS BARGUIDE is published with the best 101 bars in Switzerland. A few weeks ago, BAR NEWS asked the bars listed.

Where does the Swiss bar scene stand today, how has it developed and what are the topics we will be addressing in the future? We present the findings from this survey in anonymised form on this page.


The majority of the interviewed businesses are smaller bars with only 2 to 3 full-time (80 to 100 per cent) and 1 to 2 part-time positions. Every fifth bar was a larger establishment with ten or more full-time positions.

On average, the share of women in the surveyed companies is 36 percent. In 27 per cent of the companies, women make up more than half of the workforce.

Average bar menu

On average (median), the drinks menu at the establishments surveyed is made up of 30 cocktails, 6 non-alcoholic cocktails, 7 to 8 beers and 8 to 9 wines.

About 75 per cent have coffee on offer. At 17 percent of the bars, the bar menu remains the same throughout the year, while a good third of the bars revise their drinks menu after six months and 7 percent of the bars after four months. Almost a third change their bar menu once a season, ten percent of the bars surveyed even more frequently.


The question of what will replace gin as the No. 1 trendy spirit is often the subject of speculation. But what if it is not a spirit at all? The leading producers and importers of the Swiss spirits industry already predicted the biggest growth for non-alcoholic distillates a few months ago in the BAR NEWS market survey (BAR NEWS 1-2022, page 39).

Now a comparable picture is emerging among the best bars in Switzerland. In no category is greater growth expected in the coming year than in non-alcoholic cocktails. Growth can also be expected in the area of low ABV drinks, which should also be reflected in the market forecast for bitters and vermouth. The topic of Swissness will also remain relevant in the best bars.

Opportunities and risks

The shortage of staff is the biggest difficulty for the bars surveyed. Nine out of ten bars stated that it was difficult or very difficult for them to find good staff. This is a problem that is currently widespread throughout the catering industry. According to figures from the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (Seco), 15 per cent of employees had turned their backs on the catering industry during the pandemic.

That the lack of staff has an impact on the quality of service one wants to provide is obvious. But consistency in quality was also difficult to maintain due to fluctuating guest numbers.

This was mainly due to ever-changing Covid restrictions over the past 24 months, but even today some bars are struggling to bring their clientele's going-out behaviour back to pre-crisis levels.

Some bar managers also fear that the Covid situation could come to a head again in autumn. The very positive interaction with competitors and the average to good relations with the neighbourhood are to be welcomed.


The best bars in Switzerland should be expected to use resources responsibly. And indeed, over 60 per cent of the establishments have stated that they have implemented corresponding measures in the past twelve months. Almost half are also planning further measures to improve sustainability in the medium term.

The most frequently mentioned was the avoidance of single-use plastic and the avoidance of waste, especially with food. Especially when it comes to fresh ingredients such as fruits and herbs, several bars state that they make the most of the individual products in order to avoid food waste.

Zests of citrus fruits that cannot be used for decorations are processed into cordials, oleo saccharum or infusions. Fruit slices are dried and preserved with a dehydrator.

Several bars stated that they are paying more attention to local ingredients when purchasing, thanks to a changing seasonal drinks offer. Some bars even go one step further and focus on organic - not only for fresh products, but also for spirits.

The optimisation of processes and the improvement of energy efficiency in operations were also mentioned.

SWISS BARGUIDE Issue 2021/22

The 101 best bars in Switzerland in the handy booklet of the Swiss Barguide.
The 101 best bars in Switzerland in the handy booklet of the Swiss Barguide.

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