Best Bars in Vienna. To shake up evenings of classical music find out where people of our generation and upwards gather over drinks and live tunes in Wien. In fact, many bars already open in the afternoon, adding an exciting stopover to your sightseeing program. There are so many more great bars out there but this list puts you in a great starting position.
Best Cocktail Bars
Best Bars in Vienna. A great cocktail bar doesn’t only boast a large selection of liquids but concocts its own signature drinks. For me, characterful interiors and good air are actually just as important. This is where First Floor Bar comes in. Among the bar’s eight signature drinks, Sting&The Police perfectly sealed my last day in town: imagine bourbon meeting tea leaves, lemon and elderberry juice, along with a little sugar.
Sitting in one of the comfy chairs from legendary Mounier bar I was hypnotised by the fishless acquariums’ grasses, which gently swayed to the jazz tunes (see feature photo). Though not a smoke-free bar, the air was pretty clean during my visit.
Address: Seitenstettengasse 5, 1010 Vienna
Best Bars in Vienna. If you like archeology, and a grey iron door leading downstairs doesn’t give you the chills, you are ready to explore Vienna’s most secretive bar. By pure chance, Krypt Bar resurfaced from eight meters underground in 2017, when construction workers broke through a wall during renovation works on an adjacent building. Half a century before, that same place had been a speakeasy jazz bar.
Now guests explore the crypt-like vaulted brick halls once again. They gather at the long bar counter or settle in one of the many niches of the spacious night hub. Especially fans of mescal drinks and cocktails with veggies get their money’s worth.
Address: Wasagasse 17, 1090 Vienna
Best Bars in Vienna. ‘Any seats left?’ we asked the hopeless question in seriously packed bar Kleinod, off Kärntner Strasse. By sheer miracle two spaces in the coziest leather pannelled window box opened up. Almost every evening, the ‘gem’ (Kleinod) attracts a fair share of Vienna’s barflies. Not all of them are Art Deco fans, though the sleek interiors and cleverly illuminated tables and bar counter demand admiration. The list of cocktails and gin tonics is solid and at times inventive.
My tip: Arrive early (bar opens at 3.30 pm, on Sundays at 5.00 pm) to avoid smoke clouds and crowds. You will also see much more of the amazing interiors.
Address: Singerstrasse 7, 1010 Vienna
Best Bars in Vienna. At a stone’s throw of lovely Hotel Sans Souci, Rote Bar rolls out Vienna’s theater scene of the 1930s. Boasting a large domed center and sparkling chandelier, the red-cream-black-gold interiors ooze old world elegance and artistic flair. From the White Salon’s terrace you get an extraordinary view of Museumsquartier, the Museum of Fine Arts, and the Museum of Natural History.
Apart from a good selection of cocktails and wines, the theater cafe also serves warm meals.
Address: at Volkstheater, first floor; Arthur-Schnitzler-Platz 1, 1070 Vienna
Best Bars in Vienna. What look like puffy lanterns are actually bar stools dangling from the ceiling. But that is not the root of the bar’s name Puff. Above all, the former brothel (aka ‘Puff’) in Vienna’s bohemian sixth district conjures the city’s infamous demimonde. With all natural light blacked out, order a cocktail machine and get your individual cocktail mixed at the table. Otherwise, ask a member of staff to show you the former separees behind the mirrored doors in the back.
Adress: Girardigasse 10, 1060 Vienna
Best American Bars
Best Bars in Vienna. Why visit an American Bar in Vienna? Because some of them are distinctly Viennese, such as iconic Loos Bar. Created by none other than famous modernist architect Adolf Loos the tiny cube just off Kärntner Strasse teaches a lesson of ground breaking architecture.
Visiting this bar is a must if you like sleek styles and Fin-de-Siècle Vienna. Besides, you can even take a digestif there after lunch, since the bar already opens at noon. Find out more in my post about Adolf Loos.
Best Bars in Vienna. If you love American bars you can’t leave Vienna without having been at Roberto’s. Even Americans praise it as being top of its class, not least due to artistic bartenders mixing incredibly tasting custom cocktails. Like a puffed out canopy a gigantic pearl chandelier brights up and softens the straight dark furniture around.
Since smokers tend to fill up the small space in the late hours, try to arrive early. In fact, the bar already opens at 2.00 pm each day.
Address: Bauernmarkt 11-13, 1010 Vienna
Best Bars in Vienna. When museums close at 6.00 pm and dinner is not on the menu yet, sink into an original 1920s Chesterfield sofa while balancing a Manhattan. That warm wood paneled club room of Kruger’s American bar is my favourite for relaxing before dinner. Musicwise, the former Kaiser Bar washes gentle American jazz and swing around you. In fact, when Sammy Davis Jr. visited the bar decades ago he liked it so much that he had a custom cocktail created for Kruger’s: the Mr. Bojangles. It’s still on the drinks list!
Address: Krugerstrasse 5, 1010 Vienna
Best Rooftop Bars
Best Bars in Vienna. Most local rooftop bars top hotels. While I am keen to get you out of these into real Wien those stunning watering holes do attract a fair share of local crowds.
In the summer, my most loved spot is the bar on top of Hotel Lamée. Excitingly decorated in tropical flair, the Southern style contrasts with breathtaking views of nearby Stephansdom. In the winter, Christmas trees and deer cushions dominate as you sip your mulled wine and punch wrapped in a warm blanket. (In fact, a perfect spot to celebrate New Year’s Eve in Vienna.) Even though the panorama easily numbs all other needs, the cocktail list is good and solid.
Address: Rotenturmstrasse 15, 1010 Vienna
Best Bars in Vienna. Unlike at relaxed Lamée Rooftop, sophistication reigns Hotel Ritz Carlton‘s upper space. The Atmosphere bar on the eighth floor impresses guests with impeccably friendly waiters. Equally lovely are the stunning city center views it invites, though with baroque Church St. Charles Borromeo as its focus.
Ask for the hotel’s homemade gin. This place also excels for a rooftop dinner. Note that this outlet of downstairs DBar is only open in the summer and winter.
Address: Schubertring 5, 1010 Vienna
Best Bars in Vienna. ‘As Thyme Goes By, Colonel Collins and Bobby Burns enjoy the Sweet Heat of Old Fashioned Sky’s Greenpoint.’ These are just six of Sky Bar‘s excellent cocktails, mixed by award-winning bartenders. Even ascending to this chic oasis on the 9th floor in the outside glass elevator overlooking Kärntner Strasse is truly uplifting. In fact, Sky Bar sits on top of Steffl Department Store, one of Vienna’s most elegant.
While I always prefer lofty rooftop terraces (unless in dwindling heights) I wouldn’t miss out on the panorama views because of the ample glass front.
Address: Kärntner Strasse 19, 1010 Vienna
NOTE: In case you are wondering why Hotel Sofitel’s Le Loft is missing here: I am still waiting for food and service to improve.
Best Jazz Bars and Live Music in Vienna
Best Bars in Vienna. To experience top class jazz in Vienna head for Porgy and Bess. The longstanding title holder of best local jazz venue keeps surprising (new) visitors with international jazz legends such as Sun Ra Arkestra, Martial Solala and Abdullah Ibrahim. Most interestingly, you will also hear carefully selected young Viennese jazz talents. Great place for fans of a broad spectrum of jazz.
My tip: Do opt for seated concerts and buy tickets in advance, the standing concerts tend to get too packed.
Address: Riemergasse 11, 1010 Vienna
Best Bars in Vienna. When I mention tiny jazz club Zwe as one of the best jazz clubs in Vienna I refer to the quality of the musicians and music played, including the jam sessions. Expect regular live jazz a la Thelonius Monk, Carlos Santana and also more groovy, funky sounds: You literally feel Vienna loosening its tie after a busy day. The living room atmosphere is amazing, and since recently smoke free.
Every first Sunday in the month Zwe arranges a jazz brunch (to make a reservation call 0043 (0)676 5474764.
Address: Flossgasse 4, 1020 Vienna