From the outlandish art on the wall, to the waiter that spontaneously starts jamming on the piano – Zum Roten Bären is not your normal Viennese Wirtshaus.
The sight of Trump with his tiny little (somehow cute) penis keeps messing with our appetite. Above this painting is a portrait of Chancellor Kurz. It’s all very confusing. Luckily the food is enough distraction.
Zum Roten Bären is not your normal Viennese Beisl, or Wirtshaus, or whatever you want to call it. Actually, it’s better not to label it, but rather describe it. There’s a piano plonked in the middle of the front room, surrounded by the wooden tables surrounded by young and old characters – the typical sights you’d expect from a Wirtshaus. The menu is also full dishes that are made to make you thirsty for the drinks menu – also something to expect from a Wirtshaus.
But this characterful place, that is an old Beisl reinvented, also delivers the unexpected… once again, we draw your attention to the Trump penis picture. Oh, and then there’s the menu.
Apparently inspired by the kitchen of the Austro-Hungarian empire, there are a few inclusions that were weaned out of most Wirtshaus menus because eating animal liver became, an EWWWWW–xperience at some point. But there’s plenty of liver on the Red Bear’s menu, from the deer liver in the starters to the herb and potato soup with chicken liver soup and the roasted chicken liver in the mains.
But enough about liver. The home cooked offerings are vast here and perfect for a winter’s evening.
The soup list is long and includes some of Oma’s classics, such as a potato-heavy Stosuppa – a hearty choice – while the mains go far beyond Schnitzel and Rostbraten (do try their take on the Schnitzel, though – the Kalbsbutterschnitzel with a magnificent side of mashed potato and veggies). But if you venture beyond (which we highly recommend you do) you’ll be delighted by a mountain of delicious ravioli or Knödel dishes, a poached egg slapped onto a bed of truffle infused spinach and Gnocchi, or a grilled octopus or steak (the steak dishes are present in aplenty). Like we said, the choice is vast and diverse.
The drinks menu is also made to pair with any of the dishes, with a solid beer selection, and plenty of Austrian wines, including some stellar red wines, to complete the bohemian feel of the place. Don’t think of Zum Roten Bären as a place to head just for a feed, but also a candle-lit, moody looking place for drinks with a crowd of friends.
The thing we love most about an Austrian Wirtshaus is that you can enjoy great food in a casual and unpretentious atmosphere that gives you the feeling that the Wirtshaus loves you and you love it back, like some old omnipresent Oma. This unspoken affection felt by most when sitting amidst this fried food and musty smelling atmosphere is what gives Austrian’s the right to claim that word ‘Gemütlichkeit,’ they love so much.
Zum Roten Bären has all of this, but rather than making you feel that Oma love, it makes you feel your in love, and being loved, by some bohemian, chain-smoking, red wine drinking artist of some kind that wears pin-striped jackets that are too big for them and breaks out in song at the most unexpected moments.