Literally translated, ‘Volkshaus’ means ‘house of the common people’, though a more accurate English term is probably ‘community centre’. Zurich’s version is located in the heart of the former working class area Kreis 4 (district 4) and has been around since 1910, as is proudly proclaimed on the website.
These days, Volkshaus is arguably best known for hosting gigs. It’s one of the largest venues in town and the bands that play here tend to be on their way up to going stadium-size. Recent visitors include Patti Smith and Mogwai.
On the premises there is also a bookshop specialising in political science and psychoanalysis while also stocking more profane stuff such as the humble novel.
The spa in the Volkshaus basement has recently been refurbished, offering a hammam and sauna facilities in modern, slick surroundings with a lovely Oriental feel.
Last but by no means least the café and restaurant have been refurbished a few years ago. Gone are the cobwebs of yesteryear: the place looks sleek but has retained a nice vintage touch. The best time to stop by here is in the afternoon, sitting by the huge windows and watching the world go by. This is community service with a difference.