The ultimate cocktail crawl: Vienna’s 10 best bars for cocktails – vienna würstelstand

The ultimate cocktail crawl: Vienna’s 10 best bars for cocktails

February 14, 2017

Guide to
The ultimate
cocktail crawl:
Vienna’s 10 best
bars for cocktails

February 14, 2017

Vienna Würstelstand's says

Whether you have it shaken or stirred (or in large quantities served in a bucket) these are the 10 best spots in Vienna to get your sweet, sour, outlandish and inventive cocktail fix.

Barfly’s Club – best cocktail bars

Where: Esterhazygasse 33, 1060 

Opening times
MON–THU: 6pm–2am (summer: 8pm–2am)
FRI & SAT: 6pm–4am (summer: 8pm–4am)
SUN: 8pm–2am (only in winter)

You’ll be waiting for the likes of the characters in the black and white photos that cover the walls to walk down into this dimly lit basement cocktail bar – Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin and the usual. The red tablecloths, the black and white tiled floors, the cigarette clouds mixing with the yellow glow from the lamps – the setting will make you want to smoke a cigar, wear a fedora or a sleek red cocktail dress. It’s obvious this place hasn’t changed since it opened its doors 24 years ago. It’s all very charming, and damn do they know their cocktails. With over 480 cocktails (including a slow, comfortable screw against the wall. wink) made in house, the cocktail menu looks like a novel. But luckily, the smartly dressed waiters and barmen are perfect at matchmaking when it comes to Cocktails and their guests. Just ask them to recommend something, while giving them a rough roadmap to your tastebuds – sweet? sour? Straight, with a litre of alcohol?

We also liked … the ‘Kleines Bar-Lexikon’ at the back of the menu explaining the spirits and behind-the-bar terminology.
Number of cocktails on the menu: 480

Barman banter with Mario
VW: What drink would you recommend ordering for a pretty girl, or a handsome guy sitting at the other end of the bar?
Mario: If it’s a hot girl, order her a hot drink.
VW: Is there a secret to your cocktail shaking technique?
Mario: Only if a pretty lady is watching.
VW: What’s the craziest story you’ve ever heard, or witnessed, behind the bar?
Mario: A couple met here on their first date. The guy goes into the toilet. He doesn’t come back for 5 minutes. 10 minutes goes by and he doesn’t come back. Then after about 30 minutes, he comes back to the table and is covered in a white dust. We didn’t realise until they were about to leave that he had kicked in the newly renovated plaster wall of the toilets after he had locked himself into the toilet.
VW: What’s your favourite cocktail served up here?
Mario: Classic Whiskey sour

Website: www.castillo.at

The Sign Lounge – best cocktail bars

Where: Liechtensteinstraße 104–106, 1090

Opening times
Daily: 6pm–2am

“What the hell is he doing!” Phil cries, “he’s mixing an egg into a cocktail! OMG – now he’s putting pickles in a clam on top of a Bloody Mary!” “The humanity!” Phil screams as he buries his face in a woman’s chest next to him. Watching the barman at work mixing a cocktail here is like watching an artist painting a picture (eloquently put by our lovely Sofie). But the creations that come out – both in their presentation and their unusual concoctions – resemble more the work of a mad scientists who made love to an artist and created some kind of mutant cocktail making baby. While the music is questionable, the cocktail creations are the boldest and most original we have ever encountered in this city. Your choice of poison could be served up on a painter’s palette or in a baby’s bottle and have a name like, “suck ma titties” Mojito or “Carlos der Gärtner”. This place is located in the ninth district, an area not know for its nightlife and where most would consider to be at the ass end of the world on a Saturday night. But it’s well worth the trip.

We also like … watching the show that comes along with all the cocktail mixing behind the bar.
How many cocktails on the menu? About 200

Barman banter with Kan

VW: What drink would you recommend ordering for a pretty girl, or a handsome guy sitting at the other end of the bar?
Kan: For the lady, a Lavendar martini. Very elegant drink.
VW: Is there a secret to your cocktail shaking technique?
Kan: There is, but it’s a secret (cheeky grin).
VW: What’s the craziest story you’ve ever heard, or witnessed, behind the bar?
Kan: What happens in the bar, stays in the bar.
VW: What’s your favourite cocktail?
Kan: I actually prefer Gin and Tonic, or beer. But if I were to recommend a cocktail from our bar where playful cocktails are served, I’d say go for a playful one.

Website: www.thesignlounge.at

Puff – best cocktail bars

Where: Girardigasse 10, 1060

Opening times
TUE–THU: 7pm–2am
FRI & SAT: 7pm–4am
SUN–MON: closed

If you haven’t already, here’s your chance to visit one – a puff (translation: Brothel). However, here while a ‘puff cock’ can be ordered, STD’s and blowjobs are not on the menu, yet rather very sexy tasty cocktails (STC’s – we dubbed that!). The black booths from this location’s former days as a brothel remain, while kooky touches like the mirrored lights on the ceiling, the alto saxophone horn lampshades, and the waiters in the classic cocktail bar attire of white shirts and black vests make this place a novelty to visit. With a young team on deck, the creations being mixed up behind the bar are original and daring.

How many cocktails are on the menu? About 40–50 at the moment, but we’re just getting started. We’re currently working on expanding our own creations.

Barman banter with Adrian

VW: What drink would you recommend ordering for a pretty girl, or a handsome guy sitting at the other end of the bar?
Adrian: I don’t think most girls actually appreciate somebody chatting them up by buying them a drink without knowing what they’d like. Go over and ask them.
VW: Is there a secret to your cocktail shaking technique?
Adrian: The cocktail has to be shaken very hard. And if there’s a pretty girl around we might put on a show.
VW: What’s the craziest story you’ve ever heard or witnessed behind the bar?
Adrian: A barman never tells.
VW: What’s your favourite cocktail?
Adrian: Well, seeing as I’m testing our creations here all the time, I tend not to drink cocktails myself. But if I do, it would be an Old Fashioned. But I like a good gin tonic, a beer or rum.

Website: www.puff-bar.at

Dino’s American Bar – best cocktail bars

Where: Salzgries 19, 1010 

Opening times
MON–THU: 6pm–3am
FRI & SAT: 6pm–4am
SUN: 7pm–2am

While the décor at this veteran cocktail bar looks like it’s straight out of a cheap hotel, the barmen behind the bar know their way around cocktails. And somehow the décor fits here with the cigarette smoke clouds, the old soda water dispensers, the pretzel and nuts served as soon as you take a seat. Here, we sipped at some of the finest cocktails we tried on the night and enjoyed watching the bar staff work the crowd with their charm, their monster sideburns, or their Spanish accent. If you can’t make a decision after flicking through the menu repeatedly, we recommend asking the highly knowledgeable bar staff to have their way with you… your tastebuds, we mean.

Number of cocktails on the menu? Around 300

Barman banter with Rene

VW: What drink would you recommend ordering for a pretty Girl, or a handsome guy sitting at the other end of the bar?
Rene: If somebody asked me to make them up something for somebody at the bar, I’d deal with it on a individual basis – there’s no uniform drink for a girl or guy.
VW: Is there a secret to your cocktail shaking technique?
Rene: There’s no secret to it. You have to rely on the sound and the feel.
VW: What’s the craziest story you’ve ever heard, or witnessed, behind the bar?
Rene: There’s been plenty – we’ve seen people meet here, get married here and divorce here. Plus, we’ve been around so long that their children even drink here now.
VW: What’s your favourite cocktail?
Rene: One of my favourite cocktails to make, and one that’s very popular amongst women, is the Rosebud. It’s a champagne based cocktail with a rosebud in it.

Website: www.dinos.at

Kruger’s American Bar – best cocktail bars

Where: Krugerstraße 5, 1010 

Opening times
MON–SAT: 6pm–2am
SUN: 7pm–2am

In the word’s of Phil, ‘it’s as dark as a mule’s asshole,’ in here. Don’t ask us what he means by the Mule’s ass hole bit, but the dim lighting in Kruger’s is part of its charm. Monochrome portraits cover the walls and your grandmother’s old lamps reveal the shine on the chesterfield leather couches that are a very comfortable spot to park your ass if you’re lucky enough to score a seat on one of them. Actually, Kruger’s only needs one word to describe it – classic. The menu, that you’ll be reading by the light of a tea lamp candle, is monstrous in size and choice. The bar staff are forever drifting about and are playful in their ways, while the cocktails are serious business and eloquently made.

We also like … their happy hour between 6pm–8pm (7.20 €/cocktails) and their extensive selection of cigars at the entrance.
How many cocktails are on the menu? About 180

Barman banter with Milos
VW: What drink would you recommend ordering for a pretty girl, or a handsome guy sitting at the other end of the bar?
Milos: If they’re older, probably a Gin Gimlet, Prosecco or Champagne. If they’re younger, I’d say a Mojito, a Daquiri. These are all safe choices.
VW: Is there a secret to your cocktail shaking technic?
Milos: Shake it until your arm hurts (said with a wink)
VW: What’s the craziest story you’ve ever heard, or witnessed, behind the bar?
Milos: Two very drunk guys come in from a summers day and ask for the toilet. It’s very dark inside and we tell them it’s downstairs, to the left. Then we watch them walk – with extra large strides – over the cracks in the wooden floorboards. They thought they were walking down the stairs already.
VW: What’s your favourite cocktail?
Milos: Gin Gimlet with cucumber for summer. Makers Mark Special for winter.

Website: www.krugers.at

Miranda Bar – best cocktail bars

Where: Esterhazygasse 12, 1060 

Opening times
MON–THU: 6pm–2am
FRI & SAT: 6pm–3am

This place is more than a bar. Actually, on first impression, it’s hard to define what this place actually is – a cocktail bar or a dark corner of your subconscious in which hard liquor is served. But that’s the idea, according to part owner Gregorio. “The space itself is meant to invite fantasy – just like the name, the space should invoke that ambiguous question – ‘what if?’” There are the old school classics – the Old fashion, the Margarita, the Boulevardier. We sample the first original house-made invention – the Damascus Sour. It’s boozy, tasty and very different. While you see cocktail mixologist across the city nowadays, this place opened in 2012 when cocktails were the new hot girl at school in Vienna. The difference between ‘dogs’ and the others is that here, they’re mad scientists rather than mixologists, with a serious commitment to their booze. “We want people to identify with ‘their’ drink,” Gregorio tells us. We ordered a round of shots – ‘one Russian cocaine, one Piranha, and one Pickleback, bitte.’ It sounds like the mad hatters tea party, doesn’t it? The ingredients combination is as odd as their names: Russian Cocaine: a vodka shot glass with a coffee-sugar-dipped lemon on top, the Piranha: vodka and Tabasco with a cherry on top,the Pickleback: Irish whiskey and pickled gherkin juice. This is the sort of place you can ask for a recommendation from the bar staff and know you’ll get something outlandish put in front of you. Cocktails change like the seasons here, so keep your eye on their Facebook site for updates on their new cocktail brews.

How many cocktails are on the menu? This is forever changing as there are new cocktail creations each week.

Website: www.mirandabar.com

Es Gibt Reis – best cocktail bars

Where: Piaristengasse 15, 1080

Opening times
MON–THU: 5pm–11pm
FRI & SAT: 5pm–12am

Walking the blurry line between restaurant and bar, Es Gibt Reis is made for long nights. Long nights that begin with food that makes your nipples perk, and ends with crazy good cocktails. They’re serving up inventive food and cocktails with a South-East Asian flavour. The bespectacled owner, David, the main act behind the outfit, is a trained barman with a curiosity for the kitchen, which he’s had since he was young.

“The food and the drinks are equal here in the importance of quality,”

David explains. He’s not bluffing. Having traveled broadly in South East Asia, David’s recreating it in his kitchen and behind the bar in an authentic way. The silky-suede bench sofa that wraps around the diners and drinkers are remnants of the coffeehouse from the place’s former life. Bulbous light bulbs spiderweb out from the ceiling, frames filled with neat graphic design and an abstract centre piece painting play as small details amongst the charcoal, and blue colour scheme. Like we said, it’s made for long nights. It all works.

The cocktail menu is a mix of classic and original creations. Like the inventive Schüttel dein Haar (translation: shake your hair) of Thai whiskey, tamarind, grape juice, lime juice and a stick of lemon grass poking out (which I mistook for a straw) – sour, sweet, and as neat as a well-done tied knot.

Check out our full review of Es Gibt Reis, here. 

Website: www.facebook.com/esgibtreiswien

Omu – best cocktail bars

Where: Kolingasse 7, 1090

Opening times
WED–SAT: 5pm–2am
SUN–TUE: closed

Featuring an elaborate longdrink and cocktail menu, created by head barkeeper Felipe and his expert taste, this place also offers a selection of tasty small-portioned food that will tend to all those of you who usually get hungry after a round of drinks yet still crave quality cuisine instead of nuts, chips or one of the other usual suspects at a bar. Making use of the fully functioning kitchen in the back, the drinks are prepared with fresh ingredients like freshly blended fruits, as well as high-quality spirits – like the in-house ginger-lemongrass-infused-vodka – that will spare you the headache the next day.
And while sipping on your second or third drink, munching on some rosemary-potato-sticks, you can take in the whole atmosphere of the place – one big room (plus an additional room at the back that you can rent for a private party) dressed in dark, unobtrusive furniture that might feel a bit cold, but will convince you of its cushiness once you sat down on one of the comfy bed couches, or snuggled into a pillow.

Website: www.omu.bar

The Bank Brasserie & Bar – best cocktail bars

Where: Bognergasse 4, 1010 

Opening times
SUN–WED: 6:30pm–1am
THU–SAT: 6:30am–2am

Where once cashiers counted cash, mix-masters have cashed-up guests counting out cash for cocktails (say that 10x quickly) in the new bar of The Bank Brasserie & Bar (we’ll call it ‘The BBB’ for short). Even though this new creature in Vienna’s nightlife is housed in the Park Hyatt Hotel, it’s clear it has serious intentions for the resident night owls of the city, and those intentions involve becoming a known spot for breaking boundaries in the craft of cocktails.
The centrepiece is the oval shaped bar where, under low lighting, vest clad, smartly-dressed bar staff shake, stir and pour their potions – when they’re not leaning over the bar trying their charm on the guests, that is. It was always going to be opulent being born into the historical building that was once a bank, and there’s enough of that grandeur to remind you that this place deserves brushing your teeth and a swanky outfit. But they’ve added enough original touches that make the place interesting, beyond it’s bling.
The cocktail menu is invented to be inventive, and probably required a whole bunch of slightly tipsy people sitting down one night, and asking the question – what crazy shit can we create in the space of a drink (please note: this is not the true story, but you’ll need more drinking for that to seem interesting).
This is one creative, sophisticated sort of cocktail bar that offers something different in Vienna for those special occasions that calls for a bit of swank and sassy style.
Some of the best bars in the world are housed in hotels, and the BBB has the potential to join those ranks. It all depends on if it can charm the locals, and keep things fresh.

Website: www.restaurant-thebank.at

If Dogs Run Free – best cocktail bars

Where: Gumpendorfer Straße 10, 1060 

Opening times
MON–THU: 6pm–2am
FRI–SAT: 6pm–4am

This place is more than a bar. Actually, on first impression, it’s hard to define what this place actually is – a cocktail bar or a dark corner of your subconscious in which hard liquor is served. But that’s the idea, according to part owner Gregorio. “The space itself is meant to invite fantasy – just like the name, the space should invoke that ambiguous question – ‘what if?’” There are the old school classics – the Old fashion, the Margarita, the Boulevardier. We sample the first original house-made invention – the Damascus Sour. It’s boozy, tasty and very different. While you see cocktail mixologist across the city nowadays, this place opened in 2012 when cocktails were the new hot girl at school in Vienna. The difference between ‘dogs’ and the others is that here, they’re mad scientists rather than mixologists, with a serious commitment to their booze. “We want people to identify with ‘their’ drink,” Gregorio tells us. We ordered a round of shots – ‘one Russian cocaine, one Piranha, and one Pickleback, bitte.’ It sounds like the mad hatters tea party, doesn’t it? The ingredients combination is as odd as their names: Russian Cocaine: a vodka shot glass with a coffee-sugar-dipped lemon on top, the Piranha: vodka and Tabasco with a cherry on top, the Pickleback: Irish whiskey and pickled gherkin juice. This is the sort of place you can ask for a recommendation from the bar staff and know you’ll get something outlandish put in front of you. Cocktails change like the seasons here, so keep your eye on their Facebook site for updates on their new cocktail brews.

How many cocktails are on the menu? This is forever changing as there are new cocktail creations each week.

Smoking: No

Website: www.ifdogsrunfree.com

 

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