The best nightlife in Vienna

·7-min read
Vienna, Austria
Vienna, Austria

Vienna’s bar scene has gone through the roof recently, and is changing so fast that it’s hard to keep tabs on the rapidly growing number of cool new cocktail dens, craft beer bars, new-wave vinotheks (wine bars) and speakeasy-style cellar dives. It’s worth remembering, too, that Vienna’s old-school coffeehouses are a good alternative for a more low-key night out, with many open until midnight. In summer, there’s more happening here still, with Schanigärten (terraces) in courtyards and on pavement cobbles, urban beach bars down by the Danube, and roof terraces with sensational city views. And of course this is the capital of classical music, with some of the finest orchestras in the world in the pit.

Our expert shares their pick of Vienna's best after-dark entertainment below. For further inspiration, see our guides to the city's best hotels, restaurants, coffeehouses and things to do, plus how to spend a weekend in Vienna.

City Centre (1st district)

Staatsoper (State Opera House)

The Staatsoper regularly vibrates to the tunes of Mozart, Rossini, Strauss and Verdi, with the world-class conductors leading the resident Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra. The ever-so-grand auditorium, completely rebuilt after the Second World War, drips with classical cornicing shimmering with gold leaf. Subtitles in five different languages, including English, are accessible from each seat. Most performances sell out quickly. Last-minute deals are rare, but not unheard of: try your luck inside the house 30 minutes before the curtain goes up. Standing tickets (maximum €10/£8.50) go on sale two hours before the performance.

Contact: wiener-staatsoper.at
Nearest metro: Karlsplatz (U2, U4)
Prices: £-£££
Getting in: No formal dress code, dress smart casual

Staatsoper, Vienna
Staatsoper, Vienna

Porgy & Bess

Once a disreputable cinema, today this softly lit jazz den stages an ambitious line-up of events with live gigs almost every night. The main stage is framed by a striking oval-shaped gallery and lined with plush velvety red seats that are so comfy you might be in danger of falling asleep in them – though more likely, you'll be wide-eyed at the cracking music acts. The place can be jam-packed, especially if some local or international star is playing. If dining at the club, request a table away from the sound system – it gets loud.

Contact: porgy.at
Nearest metro: Stubentor (U3)
Prices: £-££
Getting in: The unofficial dress code is smart casual

Porgy & Bess, Vienna
Porgy & Bess, Vienna

Musikverein

This music hall is a Greek Renaissance sensation boasting a glittering Byzantine foyer and magnificent gilded main vestibule, the glamorous backdrop to the country's annual New Year's concert broadcast. For decades, music connoisseurs from across the world have been flocking to Musikverein to hear the Vienna Philharmonic's unparalleled sound, skilfully coaxed from 18th-century instruments. Visitors with passion and knowledge of classical music bend over backwards to get tickets to a reputable concert. Available tickets to non Musikverein members sell out fast. Avoid the tourist recitals.

Contact: musikverein.at
Nearest metro: Karlsplatz (U2, U4)
Prices: £-£££ 
Getting in: No formal dress code except for the New Year's Concert; dress smart-casual

Musikverein, Vienna
Musikverein, Vienna

Bar Kleinod

If you only have time to check out one bar in Vienna, make it this pioneering Art Deco joint close to St. Stephen's. Four young restaurateurs opened this Thirties-inspired 'Kleinod' ('little treasure') exuding old Viennese charm, with dark wood panels, crystal chandeliers and shiny brass. Twenties jazz tunes, early soul and electro swing tunes float melodiously in the background; drinks here tend to be clever re-interpretations of classics, or a zany mixture of flavours. Try the Pauls Punsch with mandarin-infused gin and jasmin tea, or the outlandish Warhol daiquiri, a Bloody Mary with with banana liqueur.

Contact: kleinod-diebar.wien
Nearest metro: Stephansplatz (U1, U3)
Prices: £££
Getting in: Reservations only by telephone

Bar Kleinod, Vienna
Bar Kleinod, Vienna

Loos American Bar

Boldly designed by Viennese modernist Adolf Loos in 1908, this tiny box of a bar is one of his signature early works. The vodka cocktails, dry martinis and Manhattans are among Vienna’s finest, but since the drinking spot attracts lots of sightseers, sassy barmen get frosty with those who are 'just looking'. You sort of can't blame people who want to come in just for a nosey: the interior is a jewel box of onyx and brass, set against dark wood panelling and a coffered ceiling. Mirrors cleverly enlarge the space.

Contact: loosbar.at
Nearest metro: Stephansplatz (U1, U3)
Prices: £££
Getting in: Arrive early to secure a seat because the place is small and popular. Regulars and celebrities get preferential treatment

Loosbar, Vienna - Robin Roger Peller
Loosbar, Vienna - Robin Roger Peller

Lamée Rooftop Bar

Wow, what a view! Vienna opens up photogenically before you from the roof terrace atop glamorous boutique Hotel Lamée, with the best ringside vista of the spire and mosaic-encrusted roof of Stephansdom you’ll find anywhere. The tropical-themed roof terrace has bright pops of colour, parasols embellished with palm fronds and butterflies, and low-cushioned seating for kicking back over pre-dinner cocktails or spritzers infused with lavender and violet. It’s a great spot for a sundowner, or you can make evening out of it as they serve food, too – from gourmet burgers to antipasti plates.

Contact: lameerooftop.com
Nearest metro: Stephansplatz (U1, U3)
Prices: £££
Getting in: Dress smart casual and arrive before sundown to snag a good spot

Lamée Rooftop Bar
Lamée Rooftop Bar

Leopoldstadt (2nd district)

Das Loft

Vienna spreads out spectacularly before you from this glass-walled, ultra-trendy lounge bar on the 18th floor of the Sofitel. You’ll be gobsmacked by the 360-degree views across the city, but a swirling, colour-charged, artist-designed ceiling attempts to vie for your attention. At sunset, the radiant painting seems to sail into the night sky, melting with the horizon, but the view is just as impressive when the city starts to twinkle. Go for cocktails like a tonka bean sour (bourbon, maple syrup, tonka bean, egg white, lime) or a ‘Loft Royal’ (champagne, truffle, strawberry, sherry, agave and lime).

Contact: dasloftwien.at
Nearest metro: Schwedenplatz (U1, U4)
Prices: £££
Getting in: Their motto is ‘dress to impress’, so no trainers, sandals or sports clothes

Das Loft Bar & Lounge, Vienna
Das Loft Bar & Lounge, Vienna

Landstrasse (3rd District)

Strandbar Herrmann

The sea might be miles away, but there’s still a holiday vibe on the Costa del Danube at this happening beach bar that pops up in the summer months (April to early October). As soon as the sun’s out, the Viennese flock here en masse to crash on deckchairs and hammocks, dig their toes into the sand, sip a cold beer or cocktail, and listen to DJs spinning tunes. Happy hour is from 5pm to 6pm, with drinks two for the price of one. See the Facebook page for details of events from yoga to brunch on the beach.

Contact: strandbarherrmann.at
Nearest metro: Schwedenplatz (U1, U4)
Prices: £-££
Getting in: Very casual

Strandbar Herrmann
Strandbar Herrmann

Mariahilf (6th district)

AmmutsØn Craft Beer Dive

If you’re into your craft beer in a big way, check out this hip and happening bar close to Vienna’s main shopping drag, Mariahilferstrasse. White brick walls, bare wood tables, Edison bulbs and the odd quirky mural create a cool, stripped-back look. The vibe is relaxed and friendly, and there are always 12 craft beers on tap (no bottles) at any one time. Depending on the season these might include light, raspberry-infused Belgian Lambic, a hoppy IPA from Tyrol or Irish stout. There are small measures if you fancy assembling your own tasting, and punters spill out onto the pavement terrace on summer nights.

Contact: ammutson.com
Nearest metro: Neubaugasse (U3)
Prices: £-££
Getting in:
Casual dress is fine.

Alsergrund (9th district)

Krypt.

There is a whiff of intrigue about descending into this drinking lair, 40ft down a floating staircase to an 18th-century vault, former speakeasy and 'semi-legal' jazz bar. Welcome to one of Vienna’s coolest haunts, with brick walls, glass vitrines packed with drinks bottles. , clever backlighting and eye-catching artworks. Take advantage of the largest mezcal selection in town, or have (liquid) greens like beetroot, red pepper and carrots with a strong alcoholic 'kick'. The music is a smooth blend of jazz, house and funk. No mobile phone coverage downstairs, either a curse or a blessing.

Contact: krypt.bar
Nearest metro: Schottentor (U2)
Prices: ££
Getting in: No reservations possible, just ring the bell, arrive early on weekends. There’s no dress code

Krypt Bar, Vienna
Krypt Bar, Vienna

With contributions by Diane Naar-Elphee and Barbara Cação.

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