One floor above Club Zukunft is a New York-themed bar with records and live music. “We want to create a world for music lovers,” says co-founder Ronnie Hunger.
For several months now, the building at Dienerstrasse 33 has become a time machine, so to speak. When you pass by Club Zukunft and enter the upper floor, the past awaits you: you are greeted by music from the record player or intimate live concerts, dim lights, dark green leather chairs and a wooden bar. The wall was decorated with party posters. There are advertising slogans in English on it. The Waxy Bar, as the new bar is called, has been converting the attic into an American bar since the 1970s.
The restaurant has been around since February. Co-operator Ronnie Hanger says the bar was only for temporary use at the time. The building on Dienerstrasse, which houses the Zukunft club in the basement, is scheduled for demolition next year. To this day, Hunger doesn’t know exactly what will come next. He once heard about Coop Pronto, or expensive apartments. “As is the case everywhere,” he says.
To his surprise, the city postponed the demolition: two months ago, the confirmation came that the Waxy Bar would be allowed to remain for another year, that is, until 2025. This is how the previous series of events became a permanent site. The organizing team, consisting of Ronnie Hunger, Ivo Xabi and Michael Fulenwider, wants to make the most of the remaining time. The artists currently perform weekly concerts, and the trio is already booking shows for next year.
National and international actions
Only “wax music” is played, in the form of live concerts and a DJ booth working on records. Derived from the English word “wax”, which colloquially refers to records, it means the music one is likely to hear on a record. According to Hunger, these sounds are mostly calm and don’t invite you to dance, but rather invite you to “spend time together, and stay.” Jazz tunes, as well as country and folk songs that fit this vibe, are part of the playlist.
The waxing trio curates the lineup based on “years of knowledge and research,” Hunger says. The focus so far has been on Swiss business, but the restaurant regularly welcomes international guests. Last month, for example, Zurich’s Phi Papa and American singer Jimmy Whispers took to the Waxy stage.
“We wanted to create a world of sorts for music lovers,” says Hanger. At the lowest possible prices: tickets usually cost between 13 and 20 francs.
In order to ensure income, the Waxy team advertises the offers on Instagram and in the bar using flyers and posters. Like the rest of the visual, Hunger designed this one himself. In keeping with the business concept, they are reminiscent of infomercials from the 1970s. The teams are advertised with self-invented slogans, and large posters are used to draw attention to the peanuts available at the bar, which are imported from the USA and whose shells are thrown on the ground after consumption, according to tradition.
“They are deliberately kept in black and white,” says Hanger, “purely typographic advertising slogans, band names in lowercase, without band images.” The aim is to question and break through the stereotypes and commercialization of the music world.
The self-deprecating play between hyper-consumption and minimalism fits well with a space that offers live music at fair prices while waiting to be replaced by a supermarket chain. Until that happens, Hanger hopes to spend lively evenings in the music oasis.
New pub culture in Zurich
With this show, Hunger wants to bring the established pub culture, in which live music has a permanent place and which he knows from the United States, to Zurich. He likes the visit to date across generations. Most people in their late 30s or early 40s come to the restaurant to enjoy a “more relaxed outlet,” Hanger says. But once Club Zukunft opens at midnight, you will also meet younger people who are allowed to visit the bar with club entry. “They stay here for a very long time,” Hunger says. This is despite the fact that the upstairs resident hears completely different music than his tech-loving neighbor downstairs.
The restaurant is a dream come true for Hungry. It is still surreal to him today that a group of three could accomplish something like this. “The fact that people actually come and enjoy the evening is incredible,” he says.
Wax bar, Dienerstr. 33, 8004 Zurich. Every Thursday, and from December also every Friday and Saturday. Next live concert on Thursday 9.11: Don’t Go to Strangers.
Sebinod Burgadere He studied English and philosophy and writes for the Zurich department.More information