For our third instalment of Wren’s Wien, we are looking at the best bits of Vienna’s nightlife. Whether you like a quiet drink or to party all night, Vienna is a capital that can work for you. Many coffeehouses open late, and there is a good range of bars, taverns and beer halls. There is a culture about drinking unique to Austria which every traveller should sample.
ESC Insight’s Alison Wren here to research and suggest the top locations to go.
Vienna’s Favourite Tipples
As the homeland of Red Bull and with the second-highest per-capita consumption of beer worldwide, Austria has a rich drinking culture. There is even an official soft drink of Eurovision this year with Almdudler. It’s an Austrian-made fizzy drink made from grape and apple juice, flavoured with 32 natural Alpine herbs… cultured! Other popular refreshing summer drinks in Austria are white wine spritzers and the Austrian version of shandy, known as radler.
If wine is your drink of choice, Vienna claims to be the only capital city with commercial vineyards within the city boundaries. You can try Viennese wines, accompanied by traditional food in a wine tavern, called a Heuriger. These mainly open in the autumn, but you can visit some all year round, this handy calender can help you find one open now. Many of them are situated in the outskirts of the city, but for central heurigers, try Gigerl on Rauhensteingasse 3 or Zwolf Apostelkeller on Sonnenfelsgasse 3. Wein & Co is a chain of more modern wine bars and wine shops sprinkled around Vienna, offering a good choice of Austrian and international wines. Mariahilfer Straße 36 is the address for one just a twenty minute walk from the Stadthalle which is ideal for a couple of drinks before a Jury Final.
Vienna has an abundance of brewpubs and beerhalls. The Ottakringer Brarueri on Hasnerstraße 45 will be hosting the official Euroclub from the 17th May, but you can sample their beer throughout the city. The other big names are Stiegl, Gösser and Wieselburger. Craft beers are becoming more popular, and The Vienna Review has a good rundown of the available craft beers. In terms of bars, cafes or restaurants beer generally comes in as a ‘Krügel’ size or ‘grosses Bier’ (large beer) which is 0.5 litres, ‘Seidl’ or ‘kleines Bier’ (small beer) at 0.3 litres or the amusingly-named ‘Pfiff’ which gives a 0.2 litre sample.
A Night Out With The Contest
With Euroclub and Fan Café opening only for the second week of Eurovision this year, parties associated with the Contest are going to be dotted around different locations from the 11th to 16th May. Our highlight is on Thursday 14th May where we are all invited to dress up in national dress and presumably try and guess where everyone is from (I wonder what I’ll wear… – Ewan).
The Euro Fan Café this year is located in the EMS Lounge at Dietrichgasse 25. Opening night is the 17th May, and it runs to the final night. There will be a bar/lounge from noon until 6pm every day, with the evening events starting at 7pm. They are even laying on a streetfood market outside from 6pm every night, just in case you get peckish. Details of the programme are yet to be announced and we’ll aim to review this our final edition.
For something a bit alternative the art-space and club Pratersauna will be hosting live showings of the semifinals and final as well as a Eurovision night and live screening of the star-studded Life Ball on the 16th May (annual AIDS charity concert, featuring Conchita last year). On the 19th you can see the fifth place finalist from this year’s Austrian selection Johann Sebastian Bass performing live.
Unfortunately for Schlager fans, the Werner Schlager academy is not a Schlagertastic nightclub, but a tabletennis venue run by table tennis pro Werner Schlager. Not to worry, Conchita Wurst has just shared her tips for what to do in Vienna for the Guardian. She revealed that her favourite hangout is the Cuban Mojito Bar at Naglergasse 5, or maybe try the Ken Club for some pure pop, If burlesque is more your thing she tips the Rote Bar. I’m sure all of her recommendations are fabulous.
Away from Eurovision itself Viennesse nightlife options can be found from the website of the tourist board.
That’s all for this third edition of Wren’s Wien, in our fourth edition next week we will look at the tourist things that you have to see and snap when you arrive in Austria’s glorious capital!