In a bizarre turn of events, I was actually in town for the long weekend of Jeune Genevois. During a full day of rare down time, I finally came to think of new bars I’d heard about in Geneva. All rested up, and dreaming of cocktails, what else could I do but go bar-hopping? There were a few that had recently come to my attention, and in the course of one night we covered three – Kytaly, the Buena Vista Cocktail Club, and the Spikisi – which I have reviewed in a three part series.
First stop, Kytaly!
Although we were clearly aiming for cocktails, we slowly discovered Kytaly had many faces, offering pizza slices to go, Italian dining a la carte, gourmet deli Italian meats and mozzarella, and of course, cocktails. Our time there was nothing short of an M.C. Escher optical illusion: if you had asked me and each of my three companions what kind of place it was, you would have gotten four different answers: pizza takeout spot, restaurant with a convenient cocktail bar where you can wait for your table, cocktail bar with not enough bar seating, etc. The debate was open!
The place was empty, which, the jovial bar tender explained, was because it was their opening week. And indeed, it had that brand-spanking new feel to it, like a new car smell, or rigid pair of leather shoes.
Or was the coolness intentionally embedded in the décor? With mostly silvery grey enameled surfaces, the bar-resto has a slick contemporary vibe, with pretty stark lighting. Front stage was given to a few tables set for dinner and a pizza oven, and the backstage housed the deli and some more tables, leaving the cocktail bar squeezed into a little mezzanine in between. Maybe this was more of a resto cum bar rather than a cocktail bar that served food after all?
We ordered a round of cocktails and were strongly encouraged by the bartender (and waiter, and manager, and…) to order some focaccia and a pizza. The cocktails were excellent, albeit on the small side: the bar tender nailed classics such as the Manhattan and a no frills version of the G&T. When asked to tweak one of their own cocktails, he was happy to do so and turned out a variation of the Kytaly Panky (bourbon, vermouth, fernet branca and campari).
We caved to the manager’s somewhat overeager client orientation and ordered a pizza margherita to share. Again, great product, slightly smaller than a Da Paolo’s pie with a light, doughy crust, nicely sweet and sour tomato sauce and creamily melted cheese.
With both cocktails and pizzas under their belt, and a location a stone’s throw away from Apothicaire, Barbershop, Blvd du Vin and the Nonolet, there’s no reason why Kytaly shouldn’t be a hub of its own before too long. But what kind of hub will it be? A post-after work bite to eat and night cap? The place to go for a lunch time slice of pizza and a little deluxe deli shopping? Whatever floats your boat, maybe. In any case, I’ll be giving it a few weeks to see if the place gets a bit cozier, shaking off that new car smell effect and breaking into its snazzy new leather shoes.
Thirsty for more? We were, and so we hiked off to stop 2: the Buena Vista Cocktail Club.