Yesterday I visited Geneva‘s brand new speakeasy bar : Le Jardin du Kraken (The Kraken’s Garden in English). As its name indicates, it is attached to Le Kraken, a bar on the Ecole-de-Médecine street, the hub of student nights out in Geneva.
There are two ways to access Le Jardin du Kraken. During the week, you’ll get to the hidden bar through one of the main bar’s cupboards. On weekend nights…you’ll have to find for yourself! After all, the search is one of the enjoyable aspects of a speakeasy!
Once you’re inside, you’ll find yourself in the front room with the bar and its shelves of spirits bottles interspersed with plants and apothecary jars. An almost entire row is dedicated to gins to satisfy all you G&T’s lovers. The many plants on the shelves, walls and ceiling – including in the restroom – explain the garden part of the speakeasy’s name. With the wooden furniture and the lighting, they give an organic modern vibe to the venue. Seating is available around the bar but limited to a dozen people. A cozy back room decorated with ethnic masks, lamps and prints offers additional seating for small groups. Through it you access the terrace. Because of the neighbors, it is only open until 9.30pm. A real shame as it is very inviting, somehow reminiscing of a beach house terrace.
My friend and I were greeted by the two welcoming and friendly bartenders working behind the stick. We opted to sit in the front room to have a better view of the bar and the cocktail preparation. The female bartender handed us the signature cocktails list and showed us the gin row in case we wanted a specific G&T. It is also possible to order classic or bespoke cocktails.
After reading through the dozen signature drinks, my friend opted for a Ronce (“bramble”), a flowery mix of rose bud infused Hendrick’s Gin, fresh blackberries, red berry purée, lime and vanilla syrup. The rose aroma was very present but not unpleasant. As for me, I went for a Dahlia, a mix of Tanqueray 10 Gin, Campari (or was it Aperol?), grapefruit, raspberry purée and a last ingredient I forgot but will check next time I go (there will definitely be a next time!). Campari and grapefruit are two bitter ingredients, a taste I’m not fond of but I decided to challenge myself. I was pleasantly surprised. The bitterness was subtle while remaining the drink’s backbone. A perfect balance! I really enjoyed my drink and I am looking forward to taste the other signature cocktails on future visits.
My friend and I were happy to discover a new bar and really enjoyed our time at Le Jardin du Kraken. The venue is welcoming, the drinks are tasty and the music nice and not too loud. Last but not least, even though the bar was busy, the bartenders were very attentive and friendly, a fine example of hospitality. We will happily return soon and bring other friends with us.