ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A new soft rock coffee shop was recently opened in the Kurdistan Region’s Ainkawa, bringing with it classic rock music and a variety of Mexican food.
The Classic Rock Coffee franchise opened its doors in Kurdistan in May 2019.
The goal was to bring something different to the autonomous Kurdish region instead of another hookah place, the owner, Manhal, said.
“Kurdistan needed something new,” he told Kurdistan 24.
Manhal said he thought about investing in the Kurdistan Region years ago, but the situation between 2014 and 2017 was difficult due to a poor economy and the war against the so-called Islamic State.
Manhal said he contacted many franchises when the conditions improved in Kurdistan at the end of 2017 and start of 2018. He eventually decided to bring the American franchise Classic Rock Coffee to Kurdistan in 2018.
“This is what Kurdistan needs,” he stated.“We have had enough of copy-pasting the same models.”
This franchise combinesa love for coffee with classic rock music such as Zeppelin, The Who, Pink Floyd, The Beatles, and other bands.
Manhal managed to gather staff that loves rock music, including Antigoni Kalaitzi, the marketing manager of Classic Rock Coffee.
The cafe is decorated with guitars, drums, albums, photos of famous rock artists, and memorabilia.
Moreover, classic rock music is played through an official live stream radio from the franchise.
In general, the Kurdistan Region does not have a strong rock scene.
Wassim Antar, who came to the Kurdistan Region from Syria, said he played in a band in Syria for years and performed live.
“It’s not very common in Erbil that people listen to this kind of music," Antar told Kurdistan 24.
He now plans to set up a classic rock band in the Kurdistan Region capital and hopes to perform live at the cafe.
Customers who visit the rock cafe are often surprised by the design of the coffee shop.
“A cafe with [an] American atmosphere and rock age [despite] great coffee and tasty ice cream and amazing indoor design,” one reviewer wrote on Trip Advisor.
If the business concept works, Mahal said he wants to expand the franchise to other parts of Iraq.
Kalaitzi, meanwhile, said she hopes their place will offer a space for the small rock scene in Kurdistan.
The younger generation in Kurdistan is starting to get into the culture of rock, and tattoos, she said. As a result, customers that love rock keep coming back daily.
“They come for coffee; they stay for lunch. We aim to keep that up by doing many events. We want to make it a modern cultural hub.”
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany