How to Run a Bar in Geneva
Yulia and Stephan are a classic Geneva’s international family. They speak three languages at home and run their own small bar in the Old Town, a 5-min walk from the famous St. Pierre’s Cathedral. The idea to start this business appeared in Stephan’s dreams as a teenager, and years later it was set up as a real enterprise. 22 Grand Rue Bar is quite famous among the locals, and it’s also known outside Switzerland (it was once filmed for a travel show on Russian TV).
SUISSEPIC had a gourmand talk with Yulia and discovered some cocktail formulas.
The story of this young and beautiful family of entrepreneurs started in the Russian seaside city of Gelendzhik, where Stephan came for an internship. There he worked at the Kempinski hotel, and during 5 months he had difficulty in finding anyone there who spoke English. And then he met Yulia drinking her coffee at the lobby bar. The conversation started, as did the feelings. After a tough period of having a long-distance relationship, this couple proved that their love was stronger than the obstacles, and they got married.
They brought this beautiful feeling of sincerity into their business, and for the past two years they have been carefully providing a quality service, based on their love of Switzerland, to all their clients and visitors.
“The idea was that we would love to work in this kind of business, and Stephan had been dreaming about having his own bar since he was a teenager. His dream came true”, she smiles. “We are working hard to provide a really good service for our clients. Our staff are always smiley, they joke and they always chat with you – if you don’t mind, of course”.
In January 2018, 22 Grand Rue will celebrate its second birthday. This a vintage place, decorated with Genevan newspapers’ notes dated 100 or 150 years ago. The owners found these at the Sunday market in Pleinpalais. There, on Saturdays and Sundays, you can find everything you want – from Greek olives and Swiss cheese to Nintendo games and authentic clothes.
Yulia and Stephan demonstrate the will to experiment with their approach to their clients. They once started the funny tradition of holding a Russian karaoke – this was an attempt to attract a Russian audience, since Geneva has a sizeable Russian community.
“We succeeded, and now we have a lot of Russian guests coming to our bar. Most of them have become our friends. Russian karaoke became very popular, and it has even become multilingual, so if you want you can show your talents in Hindi”, she says.
This wonderful couple create their own recipes. For example, here you can find a pizza with raclette, or pasta with a great variety of sauces. And because of these sauces the pasta promises to be different every day. Simplicity and care are the main focus of the food concept here.
“We want our food to be really good. Mostly it is original food that comes from Switzerland. We use only Swiss chickens and vegetables. We have a wide selection of Swiss wines. Everything is simple and made with love”.
On the cocktail menu there are also some specialties. The most popular is Coronito, which is based on a classic mojito and Corona beer.
The atmosphere of this place was shown in the Russian travel TV show “Oryol I Reshka”. It was filmed in Switzerland, and showed the idea of how to spend a weekend here with an unlimited amount of money, and also having just 100 dollars. One of the presenters, Regina Todorenko, spent her 100 dollars during the first day in Geneva and then had to work in 22 Grand Rue to earn some money to travel to Gruyere the next day.
“I have been a fan of this show for 5 years already, and we were really lucky to participate in it. We did not advertise anything, we did not plan. The idea was that Regina would work in a real Genevan bar. Stephan is a ’vrai genevois’, as they say in French”.
Yes guys, you are great. Keep going with what you do!
Enjoy Coronito at 22 Grand Rue: Grand rue 22, 1204 Genève from Monday to Friday (9h00-2h00), Saturday (17h30-2h00)