Newly Swissed Online Magazine

13 things I noticed while working in a Swiss bar

Working in a Swiss Bar

When it comes to settling in Switzerland, there are as many different experiences as there are people.

Each story is unique, including mine: My first days here were spent working in a Swiss bar in a small mountain village in the Bernese Oberland.

Not knowing some of the strange customs, let alone having heard Swiss German before, my first weeks in Switzerland were shaped by more than one funny moment… Can you imagine a Latvian trying to hustle a local Swiss bar from behind the counter?

Welcome to my collection of curiosities, misunderstandings, and Swiss German words from when I was working in a Swiss bar.

"E Stange, bitte."

Why is he asking me for a rod? I am working at a bar, not at IKEA.
And what in the world is a Herrgöttli?

"Eis Bier, gärn."

An ice beer? Always those special requests…

Working in a Swiss Bar

"Es Glas Wiisse, gärn."

Ok, I get it. It’s something white, but what exactly is it that they want?

"Es Ballönli, bitte!"

I don't believe we sell balloons here.
(This is how some elderly Berners order a 1-deciliter glass of white wine.)

Working in a Swiss Bar

Suuri Zunge at a bar is not a pack of sour candy!

(Note to self.)

Customers decide whether or not they like you from your facial expression when you ex a shot of Appenzeller.

Working in a Swiss Bar - Appenzeller

The game Stump has been (and will be) here for good.

Because the combination of a hammer, nails, and getting drunk does not scare the Swiss.

Working in a Swiss Bar - Stump

s'Röteli is not the same as s'Roote.

That is unless you want to serve liquor instead of wine.

It's fun to start shouting "Nei, nei, nei" when they’re saying "Prooost"!

How to piss off someone from Valais?

Tell them that other regions of Switzerland make good wines, too.

Me: "Why are we placing these guests in the corner?"

Colleague: "They're having cheese fondue..."

Swiss Cheese Fondue

One can't imagine an après-ski in Switzerland without a Kafi Luz!

A group of men in traditional costumes walks into the bar while ringing huge cowbells, just to kill a bottle of beer in five minutes and continue to the next bar...

Yepp, this is a normal sight on New Year’s Eve in Switzerland.

Want to know the best thing about working in a Swiss bar?

The views, of course!

Working in a Swiss Bar

Helpful resources to learn Swiss German:


Kristīne is a Tourism Organisation and Management graduate from Latvia, currently living in Bern.

She is into travelling, photography, handicrafts and online marketing. She doesn't spend the weekends home, and she will never say "no" to an invitation to go hiking in the mountains.

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