A recent European vacation of mine was centered around fantastic skiing in the Alps, and some of the finest food and drink around, exploring the nightlife in Austria and Switzerland. Things always seem more enjoyable in the evening after a day of intense skiing, and there was one place in particular that stood out as a most memorable cafe and restaurant.
The Odeon in Zurich is a legendary bar and café with a reputation preceding itself upon my first visit. I was instantly greeted with a warmth and energy the moment I walked through the door, with a crowd of people who are friendly and sociable, and a staff that looks to love working there, welcoming locals and tourists alike.
The Café just last year turned 100-years-old, having survived decades of political and economic turmoil while staying relatively stable as the world around it changed. It was always a place of cultural and political discussion, with people from different walks of life finding it a welcome refuge from discrimination and intolerance, fostering creativity and embracing diversity.
It began as an Art Deco café, and grew as a place where artists and bohemians could exchange ideas and enjoy drinks. It has also enjoyed a young, idealistic crowd, and was a hub of social interaction and meeting long before the days of social networking.
The Odeon barely managed to get through the 1970’s, as it became a target of rioters and was embedded within a drug scene. It was eventually banished, and the location underwent some changes to its look and feel.
Today, while still maintaining the artistic and expressive foundation that began the café, Odeon is a vibrant and diverse location staying current and appealing to the needs of many different types of people. In the morning it appears a typical café, where businesspeople can grab a quick espresso, while others read the newspaper in quiet. In the evening the place comes to life as a bar, where young professionals and older crowds alike can socialize.
With so much history, this is a place that I loved instantly, and I always make an effort to return to. Through the morning, day, and night, the place is alive with stories and excitement, and is not to be missed.