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a city by city guide to the best indie clubs, bars, record shops and local bands

Zürich, Switzerland

By Stephen Rink

Zürich tends to be overlooked by most travelers. However, it is worth a stop by as it is an incredibly beautiful town. It has an ideal location at the top of a picturesque lake flanked by the Alps. It is also the largest city in Switzerland, which gives it more of an “urban” feel than the other cities here. While it may not have the indie cred of London or New York, it does get plenty of amazing bands playing in great venues throughout the city. The “old town” may be the heart of the city but there are other areas such as Kreis 4 and 5 (behind the main train station) that see most of the action. These areas are filled with hip bars, record shops, venues and restaurants that can rival some of the greats. Be warned, Zürich is painfully expensive. If you are on a budget, then you really need to be careful here. However, there are plenty of opportunities to have a stroll and discover some cool areas, and that costs nothing.



Manessestrasse 170, 8045 Zürich
This is one of the major players in the Zürich indie scene. Hosting indie nights such as IndiepenDance and Supersonic, this medium sized club packs them in on the weekend. Expect to hear the usual indie dance hits of the day, very young crowd. Also, Abart is one of the spots for indie bands playing in town. I’ve seen everyone from Beach House to Wire here. This is the best bet for a satisfying indie evening in Zürich.

Rote Fabrik
Seestrasse 395, 8038 Zürich
This huge complex has everything: three different rooms that host concerts and club nights, a dance theater, and a great restaurant/bar right on the lakeshore. Rote Fabrik has a long history of embracing the avant garde art scene of Zürich. This is a must see for any indie visitor.

Hardstrasse 245, 8005 Zürich
This club/venue is a relatively new player in the scene. Club nights are mostly electronic and hip-hop, though some indie nights pop up now and again. Toro y Moi, The Hidden Cameras, and Yeasayer have all played here.


This is where Zürich’s indie scene really shines. In the 5 years I have lived here, I have seen some amazing bands in venues smaller than they might usually play elsewhere.

Komplex 457
Hohlstrasse 457, 8048 Zürich
This big boy newcomer is the third largest venue in Zürich. Hopefully great things will come here.

Limmatstrasse 118, 8005 Zürich
This modern club/venue host’s medium sized bands and a monthly indie night. The sound can either be amazing or so quiet you can hear the person next to you breathing, even during an Editors show. Goldfrapp, Röyksopp, !!!, Belle & Sebastian and Peaches have all played here.

Pelikanstrasse 18, 8001 Zurich
A beautiful interior makes seeing shows here even more special. Jonsi, Hooverphonic, Gossip, and Lou Rhodes from Lamb have all stopped by.

Badenerstrasse 109, 8004 Zurich
This was a former movie theater and has a slightly tacky interior, but already has hosted some great shows; Twin Shadow, Glasser, and James Blake.


Stauffacherstrasse 60, 8004 Zürich
A bigger venue with a nice seated balcony. This place also hosts Record Fairs every few months.

Militärstrasse 12, 8004 Zürich
This tiny venue has small up and comers, international and local.

Theaterstrasse 10, 8001 Zurich
This very small venue/club seems to know who will make it one day. Arcade Fire, Vampire Weekend, and MGMT all played here before they broke big.

Dienerstrasse 33, 8004 Zürich
Mostly electronic, but worth checking out for a sweaty concert experience.


Stall 6

Gessnerallee 8, 8001 Zurich
Cool bar that was at one time horse stables. Fun nights, good crowd, and some interesting concerts.

El Lokal

Gessnerallee 11, 8001 Zurich
This is a really hip bar in the same area as Stall 6. Outdoor seating, and a very cool interior make for a memorable evening. Also hosts concerts. The likes of Grizzly Bear and Iron & Wine have played here. Check the website for upcoming events.

Riff Raff
Neugasse 57, 8005 Zurich
Nice neighborhood bar in Kreis 5.

Neugasse 56, 8005 Zurich
Fun bar with karaoke also in Kreis 5

Helsinki Klub
Geroldstrasse 35, 8005 Zürich
This old favorite hosts fun nights and local talent. If you find yourself in the area, stop in for a drink.

Daniel H
Müllerstrasse 51, 8004 Zürich
Fun local bar with a nice interior and good tunes playing.

Plazda Cava
Badenerstrasse 109, 8004 Zurich

Cabaret Voltaire
Spiegalgasse 1, 8001 Zürich
This is where Dadaism started. Art space and shop on the first floor. The bar is upstairs has a great vibe. It’s a nice place to grab a drink and soak in the history in the old town.

Record Shops


As this is a VERY expensive city, record shopping can be a brutal experience on your wallet. However, with some digging, you are bound to find an overlooked rarity that has escaped others.

Stauffacherstrasse 95, Zürich
A hipster clothing store with several locations, only the Stauffacherstrasse location has a record store on the first floor. Focus is definitely of the inde/electronic side.

Zero Zero
Bäckerstrasse 54, 8004 Zürich
This is a place to spend many hours digging around. The large space focuses mainly on LPs, and they have thousands! Rock, jazz, and disco LPs bursting out of the crates.

Rec Rec
Rotwandstrasse 64, 8004 Zurich
More avant garde, but worth a stop in.

Crazy Beat
Badenerstrasse 79, 8004 Zürich
Electronic and dance focus.

Local Bands


My Heart Belongs to Cecilia Winter

Indie rock trio.

Female-fronted FM rock foursome.


A good resource to see what is going on and where.

If you'd like to recommend a club, bar, record shop, band or any indie delight for inclusion in the Indie Travel Guide, please email us. If we've included a link to your band/shop etc, it would be lovely if you could link back to us. Thank you!

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