June 7, 2013 6:32 pm

Five of the best: Basel bars

Art Basel, which begins next week, is famously thirsty work. In such a small city, there are plenty of good bars within walking distance of the fair
Teufelhof Bar

Teufelhof Bar

Teufelhof Bar

Teufelhof Bar

Consum

Classy wine bar/deli sited in a quiet street near the Rhine with sleek, dark wooden counters, stools and tables and pavement space for balmy Basel evenings. Enjoy wines for aficionados (Ziereisen, Kesselring, Cascina Fontana, Alvaro Palacios, Quinta do Crasto) with a decent number offered by the glass and bar snacks showcasing Swiss raw-milk cheeses (Willi Schmid’s Jersey Blue, Glarus alp cheese) plus salumi and pata negra.

Rheingasse 19, Kleinbasel, +41 61 690 91 35; consumbasel.ch

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Volkshaus

Behind the solid bourgeois walls of this Basler institution (built 1925) lurks a slinky black bar and brasserie, reborn courtesy of local heroes, the architects Herzog & De Meuron. A cool vibe, great music (including a jazz brunch the last Saturday of the month), decent wines by the glass (Swiss, French, Spanish), Ueli Bier from the nearby microbrewery, cocktails and tapas-type nibbles all attract a boho crowd.

Rebgasse 12-14, Kleinbasel, +41 61 690 93 10; volkshaus-basel.ch

. . .

Crystal

Brand-new kid on the block just across from the art fair with retro chandeliers, a little smoke (the bar is licensed by the association Fümoar, in whose establishments smoking is permitted) and lots of mirrors. Fourteen vodkas and serried ranks of single malts are available for sampling on plump leather stools at the bar, or on the pavement with front-row views of the (also brand-new) rippling Messe rooftop.

Riehenring 79, Kleinbasel, + 41 61 692 20 00; www.crystalbasel.ch

. . .

Cargo Bar

Dive down the steps beside Donati and turn right into this funky young pub-bar that fronts on to the river, practically underneath the arches of the Johanniterbrücke. On the blackboard are lurid spray-can-style illustrations of the drink of the day, wine of the week (Defesa rosé et al) and upcoming live music, plus alternative art exhibits.

Cargo Bar, St Johanns-Rheinweg 41, Grossbasel, +41 61 321 00 72; www.cargobar.ch

. . .

Teufelhof Bar

Cool white wood panelling, marble tables and a gentle buzz can always be found in this civilised wine bar of renowned art-hotel Teufelhof in Basel’s old town. Sample Swiss cheese from Rolf Beeler, French from Bernard Antony, Italian salumi, the European wine selection and a Picasso cocktail featuring absinthe and Cointreau in honour of the city’s favourite artist (now showing at the Kunstmuseum).

Teufelhof Bar, Leonhardsgraben 49, Grossbasel, +41 61 261 10 10; www.teufelhof.com

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Sue Style is a food, wine and travel writer based near Basel

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