A Hi-Fi bar in Zurich's most notorious district

Hi-Fi, Zurich Von Steve am

Stereo – a new Hi-Fi venue has recently opened its doors next to the infamous Langstrasse in Zurich. A beautiful interior, Klipsch speakers and a Varia RDM40 rotary mixer rounded up by a fine cocktail selection. Reason enough to ask programmer and host Moritz Wenk a few questions about the new place.

I've written quite a few articles regarding High Fidelity (Hi-Fi) bars and audiophile places and if you follow the topic, nearly every week you can read something like "a new audiophile venue has opened its doors in <enter city>". The concept of listening bars, which originated in Japan, is popping up all around the world to please the ears of music nerds and regular guests alike. And Zurich got a new one with Stereo.

Behind Stereo are Simeon Tsoutsaios, Adil Pajaziti, Damian Hegg and Yves Nidermayr who already have multiple projects going on in the area of Kreis 3 and Kreis 4. Stereo is open from Wednesday to Saturday from Apéro o'clock until late at night. DJs play from 22:00 while before, the people from the bar choose records from the collection.

The Cocktail selection has an innovative concept as well. Building on the classics like Negroni or Moscow Mule they created their own versions which are filled into barrels and can be poured on tap. Opening its doors in December 2022, Stereo has been operating for a few months now. I wanted to know how it's going and asked Moritz Wenk, who manages the day-to-day at Stereo, a few questions.

View of Klipsch speakers behind the bar. Photo: Curls

Moritz, thanks so much for taking the time. Stereo opened its doors in December last year. How is it going since then?

Very good. The start was a complete success and Brauerstrasse welcomed us with open arms. It's always great to see how everyone enjoys our venue.

How did it come about that you opened a Hi-Fi Bar in Zurich?

The owners wanted to offer the "Chreis-Cheib" (nickname for the area) something new. A place where music is in the foreground. A place where you can enjoy and immerse yourself, exchange ideas and experience new things. In other words: a home for all with their ears and eyes open. The feeling is comparable to places like Dante's Hifi, Bambino, Shelter or Jumbi.

I strive to foster an innovative environment where artists reinvent themselves, try different genres, and walk on different pathways. – Moritz Wenk

The interior design reminds me of the places I visited in Japan. I guess those were the role models, right? Who designed it?

Haha, keen eye! Since we wanted to open a Listening- or Hi-Fi-Bar, we were logically inspired by similar establishments. Of course, it was important to create our own touch and design language - and the Walter Möbel design team succeeded in doing just that.

They succeeded indeed. For the Hi-Fi nerds among us and me specifically, can you tell me what your soundsystem is from the speaker, amplifier to mixer?

Our sound system consists of 2 Klipsch Cornwall 4, 2 Klipsch Cornwall 3, 2 Klipsch Heresy and they are driven by 3 Avantone CLA-200. The Mixer is the RDM40 by Varia Instruments from Bern.

A perfect fit: The turntables and the mixer are embedded in the DJ booth. Photo: Curls

That is music to my ears. Looking at the program I see a lot of local DJs and diggers on it. What is your booking process and what is the plan?

In order to surprise our guests, I make intentional choices in artists which enable us with continuous access to new music. One night we play jazz, the next maybe groovy house from Chicago, and the day after that some soul. The variety is highly reflected by my personal taste in music.

However, I don’t want to limit ourselves to one genre as music is too diverse for that. I also do not limit new musical experiences to guests only. I strive to foster an innovative environment where artists reinvent themselves, try different genres, and walk on different pathways. In Stereo we look for risk, maybe even provocation. Whether listening to music or playing music: it shall remain exciting with a constant, tingling feeling under your feet.

I really like this approach to bookings. Finally, are you happy with how it's going and what would you like to improve?

I am satisfied, but I would be lying if I said we were already where we wanted to be. Our booking is diverse, yet not diverse enough. We are working on that! In other words: ask specific questions, research consciously, and always have an open ear. Good tips are welcome from all sides!

Programmer and host at Stereo: Moritz Wenk. Photo: Curls

Words by Steve Marvin. He writes about audiophile nerd stuff and sometimes drops the dad jokes when they are actually funny.