Zurich to allow outdoor dining and drinking until 2am during the summer

Zurich to allow outdoor dining and drinking until 2am during the summer

Following the success of a two-year trial, officials in the city of Zurich have confirmed that the terraces and outdoor areas of bars and restaurants will be able to remain open into the early hours during the summer holidays. The so-called “Mediterranean Nights” plan will allow a select number of venues to remain open until 2am on the weekends.

Mediterranean Nights programme to be made permanent in Zurich

In a statement, the city council announced that the “Mediterranean Nights” programme for local bars and restaurants would be made a permanent feature of the city from the summer of 2024. The scheme, trialled in 2022 and 2023, allowed the outdoor areas of certain venues to remain open well beyond the official noise curfew of 10pm during the summer.

In the report, officials said that “overall, the extended outdoor dining rules were viewed positively” by the public. With the weather set to get hotter and hotter, eating and drinking outdoors in the early hours is becoming essential during the summer months - especially in Switzerland, a country whose housing and venues have been rated as some of the least prepared for climate change by the University of Oxford.

The city council noted that prior concerns about a rise in noise complaints to the police never materialised during the trials. Therefore, the government has chosen to permanently allow outdoor terraces and garden restaurants to remain open until 2am on the weekends, during the summer holidays.

Early morning Zurich bars must fulfil strict criteria

However, Zurich bars and restaurants hoping to join the scheme must fulfil strict criteria. First, the extension of opening times can only be applied to drinking and dining areas that are already used by the venue - in short, businesses are not allowed to expand their outdoor areas in anticipation of the change.

Businesses based in areas of the city with a Noise Sensitivity Level (EC) of I or II are also not allowed to apply for the scheme - noise level zones in Zurich can be determined via the official website. What’s more, loudspeakers and live music are not allowed outside beyond the traditional curfew.

Entrepreneurs interested in participating in the scheme have until the end of April 2024 to register their interest with the city police. For more information, check out the official press release.

Thumb image credit: pcruciatti /

Jan de Boer


Jan de Boer

Editor for Switzerland at IamExpat Media. Jan studied History at the University of York and Broadcast Journalism at the University of Sheffield. Though born in York, Jan has lived most...

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