The Basel Club Scene
Basel has excellent dance clubs. As my clubbing years are long since past, I invited the person who commented to write a guest post to let us know how things really stand regarding Basel dance clubs.
While he prefers his identity to be kept anonymous, he’s a 20-year veteran of Basel’s nightlife, who has also seen his share of clubs across the world, in London, Berlin, Ibiza & Miami, as well as less exotic destinations.
The Basel Club Scene
As Switzerland’s second biggest urban center after Zurich, Basel is in a somewhat awkward geographical position; immediately to the north lies Germany, and to the west France, both borders pretty much marking the limit of the city’s “draw area”.
However, this comparatively smaller audience, hasn’t kept Basel’s nightlife from executing a remarkable shift over the last few years. Entrepreneurship has flourished in clubland, and a creative and innovative young art-scene has taken over abandoned, or previously beaten-down areas, such as the region around Feldbergstrasse.
Crossing the Dreirosenbrücke, over the Rhine, to Kleinbasel, the Klybeck-/Feldbergstrasse area is just a 15 minute walk away and a completely different world. Numerous Bars like Friends Bar and Alpenblick/Valentino’s Place are centered around the crossing of Klybeck- and Felbergstrasse.
Not too far off from this hub, you can find other gems like the popular Fass Bar at Sperrstrasse. Whether it’s a night out talking and drinking, stumbling from one place to another in a haze or getting dragged into some unexpectedly excessive disco-party, a lot of things can happen in this area.
Most bars play some (usually decent & charts-free) background-music and ask no entry-charge. However, there may be exceptions on special events.
Taking a big jump to the south, beyond the SBB railway station, Hinterhof sits right on the border of Basel-Stadt and Basel-Land. The old battered fruit warehouse has been lovingly turned into a massive bar- and club-complex, by a group of friends over the last few years. The main room welcomes international artists every week, from the latest club-DJ’s to the odd huge act like Cut Copy or Efterklang. Attached is Offspace, an open room for all sorts of art-projects, plus an adjacent miniature-club (aptly called MiniClub), which will be open on busy nights, fully equipped with DJ’s and an intense sound system.
On top of the building is a spectacular wooden roof-terrace, with a wonderful view over the industrial landscape of the area. It opens in the afternoon and runs until about 2 AM. Perfect for an after work-sunset drink or a warm-up for a night of partying. Its meticulously organised and passionately run cocktail bar is the stuff of legends, all while maintaining moderate prices. This feature also allows Hinterhof to remain open throughout the notoriously difficult summer season, when crowds prefer to remain outside. There is no age-restriction on the terrace until 10 PM, in fact, quite a few can be seen with their children until early in the evening. Hinterhof club nights are strictly 20+ age limited. For some live concerts this rule may be softened though.
Bang in the middle of the city, just off Steinenvorstadt at the Heuwaage-end, sits the new Balz Club. The owners also run Jägerhalle, all the way in Kleinhüningen, and have now received permission to open a new venue in the same building. Make sure to check it out, as this could turn into a decent alternative in an otherwise very commercialized center of Basel.
A mere 5-Minute walk across Heuwaage towards the Zoo, nestled in the mysteriously christened „Nachtigallenwäldeli“ (Nightingale-Forest) lies Kuppel and Acqua. Kuppel, the ’25-Year-temporary-club’, offers a wide range of entertainment: Comedy-Nights, Live-Bands, experimental Jam-Sessions, Latin-Dance and Club nights of all kinds. In the same complex lies Acqua, an elegant restaurant/bar with pricey but excellent food and an often upscale and glamorous crowd.
Door prices for Kuppel is usually no more than 20 CHF, with notable exceptions due to international guests.
And Many, Many More!
If your thing is dancing to the latest chart-topping craze, there are numerous spots scattered all over town: Vice Club just off Heuwaage, Fame at Claraplatz, Obsession just up the road between Clara- and Messeplatz, the infamous Bar Rouge on top of the Messeturm or MusikPark A2 out by St.Jakob football stadium. Most of these locations have special nights with drink-discounts and sometimes international guest-artists. Club Obsession, is especially known for presenting the occasional US-superstar, even if they just hang around for a few hours.
Whatever your tastes are, there is no shortage of possibilities to let your proverbial hair down in Basel. There are, of course, many places not mentioned in detail here, which also deserve a closer look, such as Kaserne, SUD, Parterre, Hirscheneck, Cargobar or Borderline. For a quick and simple list of what’s on every day, check www.denkmal.org, or in more detail (in german) www.fingerzeig.ch.
So there you have it, Basel has a bunch of great clubs!! Now get out there and enjoy them, and your Life in Basel. I’m going to have to change the first page of the site!
If you have any comments for our mystery guest poster, or want to add some recommendations for other clubs, make a comment below…