Swiss beer and young bands – Andy Grenacher and Regina Hürlimann make sure the people of Hottingen don’t get bored in the evenings. But outsiders also quickly feel at home when they pop into their bar.
In Hottingen, the Bar am Egge is the place to go for an after-work beer. That’s because it has very little competition. Andy Grenacher and Regina Hürlimann took it over in the summer of 2016. They both grew up in the neighbourhood and know what people are like. ‘The locals don’t take kindly to change,’ says Andy. He and Regina spent two weeks renovating the bar after they took it over. When it reopened, many of the locals walked past two or three times, peering curiously inside before finally deciding to go in. ‘They loved it straight away,’ says Andy.
His guests are always telling him that Zurich lacks this kind of bar: ‘It’s cosy and authentic.’ Andy has no interest in fancy venues: ‘A bar is just a bar.’ He thinks it’s more important to create a great atmosphere than serve the latest hip cocktail.
Andy thinks it’s more important to create a great atmosphere than serve the latest hip cocktail.
‘Everyone’s welcome here,’ says Regina. She thinks the Bar am Egge is special because strangers always talk to each other. ‘Young people are happy to share a table with older folk,’ she says. She loves seeing everyone chatting away, and it’s all thanks to her partner: Andy always makes sure the bar has a relaxed atmosphere. ‘He has no problem talking to people,’ she says. Andy smiles and adds: ‘At the Bar am Egge, it just feels right.’ But he still thinks it’s important to keep a certain professional distance.
‘At the Bar am Egge, it just feels right.’
He spent many years working in the restaurant trade, including five years establishing and managing Chez Andy. Now it has changed hands and goes under the name Paradiesli. ‘I don’t miss the coffee and cake,’ Andy says with a laugh. He’s at the Bar am Egge every day, while Regina works nearby in the family bakery. She sometimes helps Andy in the evenings: ‘We wanted a joint project.’
Andy and Regina only serve Swiss beer: ‘I like supporting local breweries,’ he says. He also mainly sources Swiss meat and cheese, ‘but I don’t do organic.’ He studied agriculture so he knows what’s behind the label.
He regularly puts on live music at the bar. ‘We’re still looking for our own particular style,’ he says. He often books singer-songwriters to perform on the tiny stage: ‘A full band would be too loud for the room.’ Once a month, he lets a local school band play in the bar. ‘The headmaster happened to drink a beer here and we got chatting.’
But it’s not only the bar that has a laid-back feel. According to Regina: ‘The whole neighbourhood is laid-back.’ She knows plenty of people who have spent their whole lives here or who have returned after a short time away. ‘It has everything that people need in their daily lives,’ says Andy. ‘And now they even have a good bar.’