“This place is Krakow in the 1990’s – every bar in Krakow looked like it back then,” a bonafide, bald Polish man tells me this as we sit at a table for two by the windows that are crowded by plants like a jungle. The Tachles ethos is, “this is where life happens.”
Sitting there munching on the house speciality of delicious homemade Polish Pierogi (a kind of Eastern European Tortellini), I see couples touching hands across the table, groups of friends loud and laughing, two girls engaged in an animated political conversation – this is actually one of those places you enter and you realise it has a living, beating heart. Tachles attracts life.
The owners revived this place from a local alcoholics dive to a popular hangout for all sorts of people. The Bohemian setting of Tachles is one that is always brimming with regulars who love it more than their own living room, and wouldn’t be able to count the number of times they’ve texted, ‘let’s meet at Tachles,’ to friends.
Little do many of them know that Tachles is a Hebrew word which means, ‘Klartext,’ in German, and ‘to speak clearly, and to the point,’ in English.
“I like this idea a lot in a world in which we often hide,” the charismatic manager Daniel tells me.
People meet over Tachles’ wooden tables, under the dim light for love of each other, or conversation, or for the love of the vast range of Polish beer and the delicious menu (If you don’t choose the Pierogi, try the spaghetti, or the palatschinken (crêpes).
Silent films of Marx Brothers, Charlie Chaplin or Laurel and Hardy are forever projected on the wall, while music fitting its warm atmosphere can be heard. You’ll encounter a lot of the artistic looking type here (some of them being actual real artists). Meanwhile, regular music events are hosted in the cellar space downstairs, which can also be rented out for private events.
This is also one of the few places in the city that practice the suspenso tab system, where you can buy a coffee or a meal for somebody less fortunate, in advance. This is recorded on a blackboard and if somebody comes in asking for a free meal, you’ve already paid for it, for them.
The two very Viennese men I sit with at the table with Daniel speak about the place like the groupies of a band.
“You’re sitting in a very special place in Vienna,” one tells me in his thick dialect. “You’ll meet all kinds of people here,” his mate adds, while smiling with a face that looks like a beagle that has just been released from the pound.