Rox (opening)

Posted on Fri 14 October 2011

I wanted to do some food related commentary for a while now, but what better chance to introduce it than with the opening of Rox in Graz to which I’ve been invited by a friend from university. I didn’t know what to expect other than it being a restaurant/bar type thing with its menu having a focus on grilled meat (notice the URL having “grill” in it? I see what you did there.) If you read this and were at the opening you might have seen me. I was the guy dressed completely in black from head to toe with the exception of a little touch of red like a true rêveur.1

Initially I was somewhat reluctant since I’ve not been to many bar openings until now (read: none) but although several friends of mine didn’t show up it was a nice evening. But on to the important part:

Rox itself is near the Jakominiplatz in Graz, a fact that gives it a pretty convenient, central location. Due to its green sign it’s immediately visible from the street. You enter through a pair of glass doors and are greeted by a greenish Decoration which consists of a lot of “Heineken” signs (at least I think they are - sorry I’m not great with alcohol) and an amazing amount of guitars of all flavors. There are guitars everywhere: above the doors, on the hanging decoration which also contains the lights, in glass showcases along the walls. The guitar/rock theme is consistent. After entering you make your way to the bar past some single tables. And then you reach the bar. The reason I’m placing so much emphasis on the bar is its sheer size. It’s the longest bar I’ve ever seen. Not that I’ve seen that many, I admit but it is indeed impressive. There’s a more open room in the front of the building where many tables are placed and there’s also an area which looked a bit more separated from the dining area along the part of the bar located in the back of the building. Oh and while we’re talking about colors: The team is also dressed in green.

For the part that’s important to beer fans: As far as I got it they offer about 6 different flavors/brands. There’s also other liquor as well as non-alcoholic beverages and non-alcoholic cocktails. Unfortunately I forgot to try one of those. The menu offers a variety of food (I’ll refer you to the menu for that.).

Initially some of my colleagues there had the idea to order food but that somewhat changed after several drinks so that there were three grill plates (I do hope I’m translating that right) ordered and I had salad with turkey. We waited a long time for our food. Considering, me and Herr K. (which I will use as long as necessary until this nickname is established properly) were nagging for a while until we even convinced the rest of the guys to order something. And even before that we had to get a table, since the table we booked was given to some semi-famous sportsmen (can you see me being pissed here? No? Look harder!). So, I tried to have salad with turkey, but they somehow forgot the turkey. After even more waiting I finally got my perfect salad. On the other hand I acknowledge that there was a lot going on during the opening night and accidents happen. I plan to pay Rox a second visit for a culinary excursion at a quieter time anyway so there might be a second post a while from now. (and yes, the food was good but nothing out of the ordinary)

So, you may ask: “Alex, what about the vibe? What was it like?” Fret not, I’m getting there. There was a feeling of perpetual busyness during the whole evening though it got better (read: a little less crowded) at about 10 p.m.. The music was okay and the music volume too. I was able to communicate without screaming which is always a plus when talking about bars with their focus on evening entertainment. Now that I think about it there were people a little younger than me (which would be younger than 22 in case you’re asking.) to something I’d guess around 55? My point is: it’s not a location which has its target group set to a particular age. Drag your dad there, take your friends there. They probably won’t feel uncomfortable or out of place. Although it’s been described as some sort of rock-bar I didn’t feel like it was very focused on that. A friend even told me there was some famous trainer of some sport there. Of course I didn’t know that. Also I didn’t know who he was talking about even after he told me his name, so I was just enjoying the moment at that time.

In conclusion the opening was fun, the location is worth a recommendation and a definite verdict considering some more sophisticated food is going to follow the second visit.

Update: link corrected, footnote removed.
Update: I’ve been there for a second time and been able to draw my conclusion.

  1. shameless plug for Erin Morgenstern’s “The Night Circus”, a book I highly recommend 

Rox (opening) is part 1 of Cuisine Notes:

  1. Rox (opening)
  2. Rondo
  3. Torona
  4. Rox (follow-up)
  5. Propeller
  6. Tribeka: Graz's young coffee culture