The best bars and nightlife in Lyon

Monkey Club cocktail bar, Lyon
The vintage-styled Monkey Club cocktail bar is one of the best bars in Lyon

While drinking in this gourmet city remains firmly rooted in the surrounding Rhône Valley’s ancient wine-growing heritage, new-gen addresses have embraced world cocktail culture in style, using Lyon’s long-envied gastronomic know-how and rich bounty of local seasonal produce to create some sensational new drinks and food pairings as only the French can. Come the warmer days of spring and summer, the city’s fervent café-life spills onto pretty pavement terraces and floating bars moored along the Rhône’s landscaped Rive Gauche (Left Bank) hum with after-dark dance parties and festivities. Clubbing remains fairly mainstream.

For more Lyon inspiration, see our guides on the best hotelsrestaurants and things to do.

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Le Rooftop

Perched on the sixth floor of design hotel Maison Nô, this all-day bar enjoys a 180-degree panorama from its skyline perch. On warm days (wonderfully frequent in this fairly ‘southern’ city), hit the deck for a sun-drenched view of Fourvière’s wedding-cake basilica and Eiffel Tower lookalike (west), or Lyon’s ugly-but-iconic ‘Crayon’ skyscraper in the Part-Dieu business district (east). A White Negroni is as traditional as it gets on the highly original cocktail menu. Gourmet delicacies to share include duck heart, lobster and marinated beef.

Nearest Metro: Hôtel de Ville
Prices: £££
Getting in: Table reservations recommended at weekends

Le Rooftop, Lyon
Le Rooftop is perched on the sixth floor of the recently opened design hotel, Maison Nô

The Monkey Club

Just around the corner from the Opera House, with a bijou pavement terrace overlooking the Rhône’s traffic-busy quays, this vintage-styled cocktail bar – notably open until 3am on Friday and Saturday – is a longstanding hot spot for hobnobbing with fashionistas over a sparkling French CanCan (mixing champagne with calvados, apricot liqueur and lime juice) or other seasonal craft cocktail. Victorian velour armchairs, potted greenery and antiquarian books inject a handsome touch of 19th-century exotica into the drawing-room interior, and talented mixologists play to the cabinet-of-curiosities theme with unusual elixirs and bitters. For a sweet taste of Lyon, order the Rosa Sour mixing praline syrup with Hendrick's Gin, champagne, lime and fresh raspberries.

Nearest Metro: Hôtel de Ville
Prices: ££
Getting in: Table reservations recommended at weekends

The Monkey Club, Lyon
The Monkey Club has a bijou pavement terrace overlooking the Rhône’s busy quays


Old-school elegance presides at this retro-chic cocktail bar with elegant wood panelling, copper trim and plush olive-green banquet seating inside Grand Hôtel-Dieu. Beautiful views of the medieval hospital’s emblematic 18th-century dome make an exquisite pairing with world-class cocktails from Lyon’s mixologist virtuoso Marc Bonneton and head barman David Capdeville. Classics get an inventive twist but it is the half-dozen signature cocktails, such as the Lyonnaise (Grey Goose vodka, ginger ale, lemon juice, strawberry and hibiscus), that really ooze local seasonal flavour. Live piano sessions and jazz evenings contribute to the mellow, lounge vibe.

Nearest Metro: Cordeliers
Prices: ££
Getting in: No shorts or sneakers; dress up

L’Officine, Lyon
L’Officine is a fabulously retro-chic cocktail and champagne bar inside Hôtel Grand-Dieu - 0660132696/Dillies

Soda Bar

DJs spinning soul, funk, groove and hip-hop pull in the weekend crowds at the city’s original cocktail and music bar – as spirited, fun and innovative as the night it opened way back when in 2006. The elaborate drinks menu reads like a history of cocktail culture, with expert bartenders shaking everything from the intoxicating Prohibition-era Zombie (rums, citrus fruits, exotic fruit syrups and flaming absinthe) to 1990s Tiramisu Martini cocktails and new millennial favourites bursting with unusual bitters and flavoured spirits. Arrive early to snag a spot on the pocket-sized pavement terrace.

Nearest Metro: Hôtel de Ville
Prices: £
Getting in: Simply stroll on in

Soda Bar, Lyon
Soda Bar's elaborate drinks menu reads like a history of cocktail culture

Vieux Lyon

The Smoking Dog

You can catch a variety of sporting matches on the big screen at this veteran English pub, one of several in Vieux Lyon (Rue Ste-Catherine behind Place des Terreaux on the Presqu’île is the other key, English Pub street). Cheap pints (11 draught beers) lure punters during Happy Hour (Monday to Friday, 6pm to 8pm); Tuesday night is quiz night; and a locally brewed guest ale is included most weeks on the drinks carte (menu). Check its Facebook page for the weekly schedule of live-sport screenings.

Contact: 00 33 478 28 38 27;
Opening times: Mon-Fri, 4pm-1am; Sat-Sun, 12pm-1am
Nearest Metro: Vieux Lyon
Prices: £
Getting in: Depending on the match being screened, you might need to push your way in – or not get in at all. Arrive well before kick-off for big matches.

The Smoking Dog, Lyon
The Smoking Dog is a lively English pub in Vieux Lyon which shows plenty of live sport


A clever play on the Lyonnais term of endearment for a ‘gone’ or child of Lyon, this trendy cocktail bar  draws on the Latino flamboyance and colour of South America and Caribbean for inspiration. Signature cocktails and mocktails are driven by the season and paired with tapas mixing empanadas with rosette lyonnaise (local salami). To glean some of the expert mixologists’ savoir-faire, sign up for a hands-on cocktail class. Come summer, the action spills across two lovely terraces – streetside and rooftop.

Nearest metro: Vieux Lyon
Prices: £
Getting in: In warm weather, arrive sharp at 5pm when the bar opens to bag a table outside.


Café du Gros Caillou

When a deliciously mellow, quintessentially French evening beckons on a traditional café pavement terrace, joins locals at this village-like café-bar on a car-free square in hilltop Croix-Rousse (complete with ‘gros caillou’ or ‘very big stone boulder’ at its far end and a view of Mont Blanc on clear days). Order a Communard – a glass of local red Côte du Rhône or Beaujolais mixed, scandalously so anywhere else in France, with blackcurrant liqueur – as an aperitif or un pot (Lyonnais carafe) of wine, accompanied by a tempting mixed cheese board, assortment of regional charcuterie or round of gooey St-Marcellin.

Nearest Metro: Croix-Rousse
Prices: £
Getting in: Table reservations recommended at weekends

Café du Gros Caillou, Lyon
Join locals at the village-like Café du Gros Caillou on a car-free square in hilltop Croix-Rousse


Le Sucre

An upcycled 1930s sugar warehouse is the edgy venue for this achingly cool rooftop bar and electro dance club on the riverfront in the Confluence district where hipster urbanites come to quaff drinks. Views of the Saône from the rooftop’s parasol-shaded, wooden deck are predictably magnificent and there is a live band, themed soirée or other cultural happening most Friday evenings. Other nights kick back over after-work drinks and a spin at table footie. The dance club, firmly on the international circuit, hosts some of Europe’s top techno DJs and artists.

Nearest Metro: Tram T1 to Hôtel de Région stop or Vaporetto boat shuttle to Confluence stop
Prices: £
Getting in: The rooftop bar is free. Club admission requires a ticket (buy in advance online).

Le Sucre, Lyon
An upcycled 1930s sugar warehouse is the venue for the hip Le Sucre - CLEMENT

Rive Gauche

La Barge

As the sun sets join a fun-loving crowd aboard this steel barge, moored next to the Passerelle du Collège footbridge on the Rhône’s Left Bank. Straw-woven sails provide daytime shade and tropical funk to the higher deck, and faux palm trees illuminate tables after dark. The exhaustive drinks menu includes nine draft beers, classic cocktails, French aperitifs like pastis and kir (white wine with blackcurrant, peach, blackberry or raspberry liqueur), homemade sangria (by the pitcher or glass) and boozy house-flavoured rums (caramelised pineapple and fresh vanilla). Food-wise, expect nachos, roasted Camembert with sweet fig chutney, shared cheese and charcuterie platters, and more.

Nearest Metro: Foch
Prices: £
Getting in: Table reservations recommended at weekends

La Barge, Lyon
Join a fun-loving crowd aboard La Barge, moored on the Rhône's Left Bank

La Marquise

Summertime in Lyon translates as warm sultry evenings spent drinking and dancing beneath the stars – afloat a traditional péniche (river boat) such as this mythical grand dame of a café-bar and dance club moored on Quai Victor Augagneur. Soirées open with a chilled mojito or beer and al fresco river views at the deck bar or around tables on the quay, followed by a live band and dancing in the cabin. Most concerts start at 8.30pm, and subsequent underground sessions can continue until 5am. DJ sets cover a huge range of sounds (electro, funk, disco, new wave, punk, house).

Nearest Metro: Place Guichard or Guillotière
Prices: £
Getting in: Free to €10 (£8.90) or so, payable online or at the door; check the calendar online.

La Marquise, Lyon
Hop aboard La Marquise, a traditional péniche (river boat) for drinking and dancing beneath the stars

Les Assembleurs

French wine curios will be quickly smitten by this unusual wine bar, with a couple of dozen wines on tap, tasty food and friendly sommeliers on hand to pair each dish of every course with a different assemblage (blend). Aspiring winemakers can order their own blend of grape varietal wines to drink by the glass: mix a local white Viognier from the Rhône Valley with a Sardinian Vermentino perhaps to sip with a dozen freshly shucked oysters, or a red Rhône Valley Syrah with a Burgundy Pinot Noir to compliment a classic steak-frites. Themed tasting evenings with DJ sets inject a party element.

Nearest metro: Cordeliers
Prices: ££
Getting in: Reserve a table a few days in advance to avoid disappointment.

How we choose

Every bar, venue or experience in this curated list has been tried and tested by our destination expert, who has visited to provide you with their insider perspective. We cover a range of budgets and styles, from casual pubs to exquisite cocktail bars – to best suit every type of traveller – and consider the service, drinks, atmosphere and price in our recommendations. We update this list regularly to keep up with the latest openings and provide up to date recommendations.