Vienna Nightlife

2 min read    5 comments

'Never been a fake and I'm never phony/ I got more flavour than a packet of macaroni.' It was one of the most memorable lines of the old skool hip-hop era, and in the mid-90's, the Bomb the Bass hit burst back onto the scene courtesy of an unlikely Viennese duo - Kruder and Dorfmeister. 'Big Powder Dust' became an underground anthem for the second time running, and any junglist, hip- or trip-hopper that was worth his salt fell over himself to bag a remix by the Viennese pair. Word spread that Vienna's Flex Club was at the cutting edge of the beat scene, and Djs like Giles Petersen jetted over to spin alongside hallowed residents Kruder and Dorfmeister.

Such flashbacks may come as a bit of a surprise given that Vienna and music are usually associated with old skool holies of a more classical kind,namely Herr Strauss and Herr Mozart. However, the city of Schubert wasn't entirely by-passed by the rave scene. But before we get carried away quoting rambunctious rhymes, let's have a look at what the Viennese nightlife scene offers today.

From the off, clubbers shouldn't expect anything like the kind of nightlife mecca that a city like Berlin, London or New York can offer. Flex may still be flying the flag for the beat scene, but right now, there aren't scores of ambitious new clubs fighting to steal her crown. But don't lose heart - all night gabba raves may be rarer than a gold radish, but Vienna still has plenty of treats for night owls.

Above: A tasty night at Flex.

Bars and Bierkellers

The main thing to remember about Vienna is that it's a very, very laid back capital. No one ever seems in a hurry here, a vibe that's mirrored in the bar scene itself.

Many of the city's best bars are concentrated in the Innere Stadt. You'll be able to track down the whole gamut here, from Guinness proffering Irish pubs to sleek designer bars. In amongst these are some showpieces from Vienna's golden days before the First World War - Adolf Loos's American Bar is a classic smoothie.

Revellers can also go medieval in the cavernous kellers that dish up wine and beer. Haunts such as the Esterhazy Keller and the Augustiner Keller are hardly the height of hip, but they offer a timeless intro into the cosy world of gemutlichkeit. Their unfailing popularity with the locals keeps them from falling headfirst into tourist trap territory. (These watering holes have much in common with the open-airHeurigen beyond the city centre, more of which later).

In Summer, backpackers should head for the Copa Cagrana. This riverside retreat offers an antidote to some of the snootier set-ups of the Inner city. Besides finding cheap nosh from all corners of the world, beach-styled bars serve fruit-laden cocktails to frisky young revellers.

Meanwhile, if you're looking for something that's charismatic but not necessarily riotous, saunter over to the Naschmarkt. This strip just beyond the Ringstrasse is a pleasant spot to while away an hour or two. Again you'll find a cosmopolitan mix of eateries, mainly Japanese and Vietnamese.


As with all capital cities, things change. A couple of years back 'The Bermuda Triangle' (near Schwedenplatz) was the hippest spot to check out for bars and clubs. But that seems to have vanished into oblivion as a hot spot. Next up there was a big buzz around the Gurtel. There are still one or two venues there - Rhiz is a standout for electronica heads - but elsewhere the quality control seems to have taken a dive of late - it's make or break time for the scene in that neck of the woods. Still, if you're up for some unadulterated student style rampages, a couple of clubs by Nussdorfer Strasse supply mini-skirted, house-stomping shenanigans.

Back in the Inner City you've got more self-consciously suave hangouts like Volksgarten or Passage. But if you're a serious devotee of dance music, the old adage of 'seek and ye shall find' is worth bearing in mind. Of course it's a good idea to check the programme of clubs like Flex. But there are other are parties too. Strike up a conversation with a like-minded soul in a bar, or drop into one of the record shops and ask about what's happening. Quite often, it's these kind of encounters that will make your trip.


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Steve Sounders
United States

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Reply Oct 20th, 2018

this guide has to be written years ago... I guess the best place to go on Tuesdays, Fridays and Saturdays is U4 Disco - always a lot of fun People and lots of Party... also places like Platzhirsch or Pratersauna are good to visit (depends on the line up).

Reply Nov 23rd, 2012

I think the guide is good but it is kinda outdated for one and second of all it doesn't say anything about the places to go to if you are looking for brothels. Well in that case in the inner city the newly renovated Maxim Vienna Nigthclub should be mentioned or if you are looking for a relaxing session Club Sauna Goldentime is a must. Just my 5 cents as a Viennese

Reply Feb 3rd, 2012
United States


Reply Jan 4th, 2012

this guide is a joke. check out flex, fluc, pratersauna, market, roxy, morisson club, celeste, WUK, Brut, elektro gönner etc. etc. this guide must have been written years ago..

Reply Feb 19th, 2011