It only opened at the end of September 2017, but it’s already a fixture of Zurich’s nightlife: the Minirock club attracts hordes of rock and guitar fans. We spoke to manager Micke Dinkel about the musical sanctuary that he’s created with the help of his eleven co-owners.
I accidentally walked right past Minirock – or ‘Miniskirt’ in English – on my first visit. The club, located right next to the Zypressenstrasse tram stop, is hidden away behind large black windows. Once I was inside, however, I was thrilled: the interior and the walls are dark, with colourful LED lights stretched across the ceiling.
I felt at home straight away. The interior is modern rather than run-down, and instantly puts you in the mood for a wild night out with friends. The names of Minirock’s parties also give an idea of the club’s style: ‘Kein Blasse’ (‘No Clue’), a wave/gothic night, the grunge/indie ‘Pilzfritte’ (‘Bowl Cut’) and ‘Punkseidank’ (‘Thank Punk’).
The interior is modern rather than run-down.
I want to know who’s behind this hidden gem, which is why I’m meeting with manager and co-owner Micke Dinkel. Together with his friend Christian Kaiser, the 37-year-old was pondering the fact that Zurich lacked a club focusing exclusively on rock music – like the former Luv, Abart or Kinski. ‘We were both already active in the gastronomy scene, so we quickly decided to change that: we would start a rock club!’ The pair, who describe their friendship as ‘platonic love at first sight’, put together a list of participants in Zurich’s cultural and gastronomy scene who they wanted on board. And it worked: a total of 12 people, including four women, now run Minirock as co-owners.
people, including four women, now run Minirock as co-owners.
‘We’re all music nerds who grew up with the different variants of rock, metal, wave and indie and couldn't imagine life without them – and Minirock is the logical result,’ explains Micke. The club, which can host up to 200 people, is open to everyone: ‘It’s very important to us that our doors are open to everyone, regardless of the music they’re into, the clothes they wear or their sexual orientation.’ Anyone who behaves themselves is welcome, which makes the wide age range of the guests unsurprising: they’re a colourful, mixed bunch of 20- to 50-year-olds.
Women are particular fans of the club’s on-tap Prosecco: ‘We’re the only place that offers one-and-a-half-litre pitchers of Prosecco on tap, just like a cocktail pitcher.’ Which makes the club’s location – right by a tram stop – ideal, laughs Micke.
Women are particular fans of the club’s on-tap Prosecco.
And while we’re talking drinks, Minirock also offers a wide range of reasonably-priced beer. Entry is free until midnight, and CHF 5 after that: ‘We don’t want guests to be put off by lack of money; everyone should be able to have a good night out.’ Concert entry is from CHF 15. The bands, which include newcomers, come from Switzerland, Germany, the US, the UK, Finland and Spain.
Concerts can get pretty cosy on the little stage, which serves as a lounge with sofas and tables during parties. The four-person hardcore band The Hardknocks – three of whom are pretty tall and bulky – were so cramped that the singer got down from the stage and sang directly to the audience.
The Rock Quiz, where participants can win drinks and free entry, is also popular, says Micke. And the free popcorn and ironic Trash Bash party, where DJs alternate between hardcore riffs and the Backstreet Boys, are already firm favourites: ‘Most guests share our sense of humour and dance along to both.’
Besides the stylish bar, the smoking room is a major eye-catcher: it features armchairs, sofas and a disco ball – as well as a large window that allows smokers to continue partying along with the rest of the guests. Others check out what’s going on behind the bar or watch the crowd of dancers – there’s plenty to keep them entertained in the ‘aquarium’. ‘When we opened Minirock, we were simply aiming to create the kind of club that we all wanted to go to and missed having in Zurich,’ says Micke, echoing the sentiments of the other eleven ‘Minirockers’.