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Zürich, Switzerland

by Rich Rubin

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The “Little Big City” as Zürich, Switzerland is affectionately called, offers a wonderful combination of old world charm and modern attractions that appeal to a diverse group of international travelers. When planning your next trip, keep in mind that there are a couple of new projects in the city that will delight both first time and frequent visitors.

The biggest of these, Sihlcity (http://www.sihlcity.ch) is located in a former industrial area in the city’s south. Here you’ll find a new Four Points by Sheraton (Kalandergasse 1. Tel: 800-368-7764. Doubles $172–$336. http://www.starwoodhotels.com) occupying an old paper factory, and a mall filled with restaurants and many shopping options. The entire project opened on March 22 of this year, so it’s a little early to say whether it will be a major tourist draw or mainly for Zürichers. Our local sources feel it will be the latter, though Sheraton’s presence (with their Asia Spa opening in early June) obviously indicates a belief that this new development, a five-minute tram ride from the heart of the city, will attract visitors as well.

Meanwhile, West Zürich continues to grow as a mecca for cool connoisseurs and hip scenesters. With over 500 bars and restaurants, the majority of which stay open till the wee hours, Zürich’s “SoHo” is becoming a late-night gathering place.

It’s here you’ll find such popular venues for the local GLBT community as Labor Bar (Schiffbaustrasse 3. Tel: +41-44-272-4402. http://www.laborbar.ch), which is mixed during the week but really comes alive with “Sunday Trash” (http://www.sundaytrash.ch), a weekly gay event with resident DJs that attracts a gay/lesbian crowd of partiers. Labor Bar also hosts the lesbian party Lady Bumb (http://www.rainbow-chixx.ch) on Thursday nights two to three times a month.

In a new space a bit on the outskirts of the district, popular gay club Labyrinth (Hohlstrasse 452. Tel: +41-44-440-5980. http://www.labyrinth.ch) is still THE place to go on Saturday nights. Gay men flock to this “erotic dance palace,” which features a large dance floor and a balcony to watch the action below. (While hormones fly as freely as gyrating bodies, there’s nothing else particularly “erotic” about the place except the slogan.)

Practically across the street, Club Labtizke (Albulastrasse 40. Tel: +41-44-201-0404. http://www.labitzke.ch), a huge space in a former factory, hosts the immensely popular and testosterone-filled monthly gay party Shaft (http://www.shaft.ch).

In Labyrinth’s former locale, the new Club Lotus (Pfingsweidstrasse 70. Tel: +41-43-366-9824. http://www.lotusclub.ch) is the scene for popular party gods Johann and Götterbote’s monthly gay event that locals report is “sensational.”

For great cocktails, fun music and videos, and a nice mix of gay men and lesbians, head to Cranberry Bar (Metzgergasse 3. Tel: +41-44-261-2772. http://www.cranberry.ch) where they pour the best drinks in the city. The bar staff is the friendliest in Zürich, and the owner, Jvan, goes out of his way to make sure everyone feels at home here.

Another popular Old Town spot (just up the street from Cranberry), T&M (Marktgasse 14. Tel: +41-44-266-1818. http://www.gaybar.ch) is a bar, cabaret, dance club, and infamous backroom that continues to attract residents and visitors on a nightly basis.

Its second-floor club Aaah (Marktgasse 14. Tel: +41-44-253-2060. http://g-colors.ch/aaah/) provides a high-energy techno beat for an energetic dance crowd.

On the hotel scene, Park Hyatt Zürich (Beethovenstrasse 21. Tel: +41-43-883-1234. Doubles $486-$691. http://www.zurich.park.hyatt.com), provides high-style with a modern look that appeals to both business and leisure travelers. The hotel is ideally situated just a short walk from the designer boutiques along the Bahnhofstrasse, the outdoor pleasures found on Lake Zürich, and the bars and restaurants of Zürich’s Old Town. Same-sex couples will find a warm welcome here, and the oversized suites and 24-hour room service will make you never want to leave.

Continued

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