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The most popular cluster of bars is in the old Jewish Quarter (First District), in an area around Ruprechtskirche known as the Bermuda Dreieck (Bermuda Triangle). Other districts with fewer tourists include the Spittelberg area, around Amerlinghaus (Seventh District) and in the Fourth District, adjacent to the Naschmarkt. Many of the best places in Vienna will not be obvious to tourists, as they are strictly marketed at locals and are not necessarily in the centre of town. Quite a few clubs operate picky door policies, where the beautiful or the correctly dressed waltz past the queue. Alternatives to the club and bar scene abound – hip and trendy Viennese still enjoy traditional favourites, such as heurigen (beer taverns) and the city’s many balls.
Tickets to cultural events are available from all major concert venues and theatres. Bookings can also be made at Bundestheaterkassen, at Hanuschgasse 3 (tel: +43 1 5144 42960; www.bundestheater.at). For cultural listings, check out the monthly magazine Programm, published by the Albetinaplatz tourist office. Other listing sources include Wien Magazin (www.wienmagazin.at), Wien Live (www.wienlive.at) and Falter (www.falter.at).
Bars in Vienna
Lutz Bar is an elegant venue with a good cocktail selection. The building, from the turn of the last century, directly overlooks the MuseumsQuartier and the Museum of Fine Arts and sports floor-to-ceiling glass windows that are perfect for people-watching while relaxing with a glass of wine. There’s a now a bijou club in the basement of this historic building too, which is open very late and perfect for a cocktail (or four) in the company of the beautiful people.Address:
Tel: +43 1 585 3646.
Coffee houses are big in Vienna and the new ‘szene houses’ attract a young, trendy crowd. Café Stein is the king of the new style, with minimalist décor, Internet facilities, veggie fare and all-day breakfasts. It’s got a lovely position overlooking Sigmund Freud Park – grab a seat by the window and you can wonder at how the father of psychology used to sit in Viennese coffee houses pondering the human mind. Not a bad place to do it, is it?Address:
Tel: +43 1 319 7241.
Coffee houses (Kaffeehäuser) are an essential part of Viennese life. For the price of a coffee, many Viennese have sat for hours with the papers, some work, a book, or just watching the world go by – it’s a tradition that continues today. Café Central, located in the beautiful historic Palais Ferstel in the First District, is an old favourite of Sigmund Freud and Peter Altenberg, featuring gothic-style ceilings, daily live music and smart waiting staff.Address:
Tel: +43 1 533 3763.
The Spittelberg area (Seventh District) is dotted with bars, including the perennially popular Amerlingbeisl, with its leafy garden. This relaxed pub is a must-go in Vienna, especially around Christmas, when Spittelberg comes alive with its famous Christmas market. In the evenings, you can zip a cup of ginger-apricot punch in Amerlingbeisl’s canopied atrium with fairy lights for stars. The cobbled courtyard is a charming little place for a nightcap in one of Vienna’s nicest streets.Address:
Tel: +43 1 526 1660
Clubs in Vienna
In just a few short years, Pratersauna has evolved into Vienna’s most significant club – and it’s not hard to see why. An invigorating nocturnal walk through the woods of the Prater Park brings you to this former sauna. The swimming pool remains and revellers can jump in if they want; it’s even famed for its pool parties in the summer. The main room is like an art gallery – minimal, chic and white-walled. The world’s hippest DJs stop off here and it’s one of the main venues for the city’s annual Waves Festival in October.Address:
Tel: +43 1 729 1927.
For something a bit different try Elektro Gönner, an arty venue with DJs and weekly specials such as a film club or other interactive installations. Techno and electro are big in Vienna, and this is one of the key places in the city to get your electronic grove on in a suitably pared-down and bare bricked atmosphere. The venue itself was transformed from a former electrical shop by a cabal of young Viennese architects.Address:
Tel: +43 1 208 6679.
If you don’t believe that Vienna is rapidly becoming the new Berlin, heading to Fluc will go some way to changing your mind. This ultra-hip, ultra-scuzzy bar is a tale of two venues: a ground floor café-bar in a former pavilion on the Prater Roundabout, plus an incredibly cool live music venue in the actual former pedestrian underpass beneath the roundabout’s four traffic lanes.Address:
Tel: +43 1 218 2824.
Live music in Vienna
They say Flex has the best sound system of any music venue in Europe, and who are we to argue? It certainly delivers a crisp sound when you see live bands here – and indeed a huge range of acts have hit its stage since it opened in 1990. It’s also cutely located right on the Donau Canal, so you can stroll past the water and the boats on the way to and from the venue.Address:
Tel: +43 1 533 7525.
Porgy & Bess
A converted porn cinema is the home of Vienna’s best jazz club, Porgy & Bess, near the Stubentor U-Bahn stop. In addition to its ambitious program of first-class concerts from Austrian and international musicians, the club also focuses on unusual and interesting music. The venue was opened in 1993, but it pays tribute to a rich jazz heritage that has mellowed and flourished in Vienna for decades. Regulars love its smoky aesthetic, which fits the club perfectly.Address:
Tel: +43 1 512 8811.
Harking back from 1972, Jazzland is Vienna’s oldest jazz cellar. The place is tiny and cosy, with unpretentious décor and friendly staff, but the best part is the music. Bands play traditional Jazz, blues, boogie, swing, folk and sometimes modern jazz. The most delightful thing about Jazzland is probably the venue itself – a barrel-vaulted brick cellar which oozes atmosphere and brings the best out in the music. The food and drink are also renowned here.Address:
Tel: +43 1 533 2575.
Classical music in Vienna
Wiener Konzerthaus is where the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra mainly performs. The Konzerthaus is also home to the Wiener Singakademie choir and hosts touring international orchestras. This is a fine old concert house – possibly the greatest of the Imperial-era halls in all of Vienna and should not be missed on a trip to the city. The chance to hear a concert here just makes it even better as the music seems to bring the stones themselves back to life.Address:
Tel: +43 1 242 002.
The Vienna Boys’ Choir is a Viennese institution, having been formed as the Boys’ Choir of the Royal Court in 1498. Together with members of the chorus and orchestra of the Vienna State Opera, they form the Hofmusikkapelle, which performs at Mass in the Chapel of the Imperial Palace throughout the year. The Vienna Boys’ Choir also perform in the Brahms-Saal (Brahms Hall), the venue for chamber music in the Musikverein, and at the Volksoper (People’s Opera), a smaller venue that stages opera, operettas, ballets and musicals. The renowned Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra and the Vienna Symphonic Orchestra also perform here.Address:
Tel: +43 1 505 8190.
Theatre in Vienna
Theatre has a long and proud tradition in Vienna, where the patronage of the Imperial Court was an important factor in its development. There are 50 theatres in the city but the Burgtheater (Palace Theatre) stands at the forefront and is an intense source of pride to the Viennese. This impressive edifice is the oldest and one of the most important stages in the German-speaking world. Built on the Ringstrasse in the 19th century, Burgtheater stages classical and contemporary works of the very highest standards of production. Other important theatres in Vienna include the Volkstheater, the Theater in der Josefstadt and the Schauspielhaus.Address:
Tel: +43 1 5144 44140.
Brut is a really cool theatre and events space in the wonderful Karlsplatz, with its ornate old art nouveau S Bahn station. Brut hosts plays, experimental theatre, talks and events, and even live music concerts. Additionally its hip little bar is a place to go and have a drink in cultured company even if you’re not seeing a show that night. The space itself is modern, minimal and a joy to look at.Address:
Tel: +43 1 587 8774.