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New clubs, bars and contemporary art spaces are springing up all over the Austrian capital – sometimes in the places you would least expect to find them. Although each location has its own distinctive identity they all manage to pull off a typically Viennese blend of tradition and young pop culture.

Groovers in the Prater

The Giant Ferris Wheel, or Riesenrad as it is known locally, shot to international fame thanks to its role in Carol Reed’s classic film noir The Third Man. The landmark also defines the capital’s Prater park. Known as the Wurstelprater, the capital’s amusement park is now more popular than ever. And now this old-school, slightly clichéd version of the city is increasingly finding its way into the capital’s popular culture. It all started with Club Fluc which can be found a short hop from the Praterstern station. When the station was closed for refurbishments, Fluc relocated to a new location a few meters away in the direction of the Prater park in view of the Giant Ferris Wheel. The venue, an apparently makeshift piece of architecture, is the perfect place to enjoy a drink at the bar or get down on the dance floor. One level down is Fluc_Wanne, a former pedestrian underpass, where an ever-changing line-up of DJs and bands play until the early hours. The music ranges from experimental electronic sounds to techno and garage with a bit of industrial and indie rock thrown in for good measure.

Pratersauna is just a few minutes’ walk from Fluc. This monument to sixties architecture – including an outdoor pool in the garden – is the ideal venue for the latest in electronic music and all-night parties. The adjacent Art Space goes to show that this area is also a fertile breeding ground for young art, as is nearby Praterstrasse which is home to various galleries including the Viktor Bucher project space, Praterstrasse 48 and the LABfactory art laboratory.

Addresses:

Fluc & Fluc_Wanne, Praterstern 5, 1020 Vienna, www.fluc.at

Galerie Praterstrasse 48, Praterstrasse 48, 1020 Vienna, www.praterstrasse48.at

LABfactory, Praterstrasse 42, 1020 Vienna, www.labfactory.at

Pratersauna, Waldsteingartenstrasse 135, 1020 Vienna, www.pratersauna.tv

Projektraum Viktor Bucher, Praterstrasse 13, 1020 Vienna, www.projektraum.at

 

New to the market

The Karmelitermarkt is at the heart of a once thriving Jewish quarter. Located just a few minutes’ walk from the old town, the remaining market stands are now flanked by a buzzing – and highly international – bar and restaurant scene. Madiani, for example, serves up authentic Georgian cuisine. Meanwhile Marktachterl has just opened Fischviertel, a bistro-cum-fishmonger where you can enjoy fresh fish to eat in or take away. On the other side of the market is Schöne Perle, which has retained its old name from its days as a Chinese restaurant but now specializes in modern Viennese cuisine.

The Museum of Crime just opposite the Karmelitermarkt gives a spine-tingling insight into some of the city’s most gruesome murders and looks at some of the equally barbaric punishments meted out to criminals over the centuries. And if all that leaves you with jangled nerves than you should head for shabu which is famous for its array of different Schnapps. This 1950s style hideaway also offers a range of snacks made from regional ingredients. A few meters on is a new arrival, simply named Die Bar, which only opened its doors to visitors at the end of 2011. Here, the working title was adopted as the final name, which dovetails perfectly with this new art club, shorn of any extraneous details.

Addresses:

bar shabu, Rotensterngasse 8, 1020 Vienna, tel. +43 (0)650 5445939

Die Bar, Zirkusgasse 38/corner of Rotensterngasse, 1020 Vienna

Museum of Crime, Grosse Sperlgasse 24, 1020 Vienna, www.kriminalmuseum.at

Madiani, Karmelitermarkt Stand 21-24, 1020 Vienna, www.madiani.at

Marktachterl/Fischvierterl im Marktachterl, Karmelitermarkt Stand 96, 1020 Vienna, www.marktachterl.com

Schöne Perle, Grosse Pfarrgasse 2, 1020 Vienna, www.schoene-perle.at

 

Rebirth of the riverside

For many years Vienna had a strangely ambivalent relationship with the Danube Canal. This offshoot of the Danube proper flows along the fringes of the historic first district, and its quaysides are a mecca for walkers and cyclists.

But attitudes towards this urban space have changed massively in recent years. Bars and restaurants have sprung up like mushrooms and in summer the Danube Canal is one of the most exciting places to be in the whole city. Strandbar Herrmann, Adria Wien and Tel Aviv Beach add a splash of beach color to the Austrian capital. During the hot summer months the swimming pool on the deck of the Badeschiff pool boat offers an oasis of cool, while the Laderaum club and Holy Moly restaurant are open to visitors all year round. Badeschiff is also one of the central venues for the Viennale international film festival and the new Waves Vienna pop festival. In fall 2011 the latter saw headline acts such as Gang of Four and young Viennese trio Black Shampoo play a variety of venues along the canal, as well as various locations in the neighboring second district.

On Schwedenplatz, the futuristic mooring for the Twin City Liners shuttling between Vienna and Bratislava is home to Motto am Fluss, an upscale restaurant with a discerning young clientele. At the other end of the quay is Flex, a former punk hangout that attracts bands such as Arcade Fire, Stereo MCs and Attwenger as well as turntablists like Jeff Mills and DJ DSL. Contemporary sounds also play a central role at many of the art installations at BAWAG Contemporary, an art space just a stone’s throw from the banks of the Danube Canal.

Addresses:

Adria Vienna, Obere Donaustrasse 97-99, 1020 Vienna, www.adriawien.at

Badeschiff, Donaukanallände (between the Urania observatory and Schwedenplatz), 1010 Vienna, www.badeschiff.at

BAWAG Contemporary, Franz-Josefs-Kai 3, 1010 Vienna, www.bawag-foundation.at

Flex, Donaukanal (Augartenbrücke steps), 1010 Vienna, www.flex.at

Motto am Fluss, Franz-Josefs-Kai (Schwedenplatz), 1010 Vienna, www.motto.at/mottoamfluss

Strandbar Herrmann, Herrmannpark near the Urania, 1010 Vienna, www.strandbarherrmann.at

Tel Aviv Beach, Obere Donaustrasse 65, 1020 Vienna, www.neni.at

 

24 hours around the Naschmarkt

The Baroque Karlskirche church with its pair of minaret-like towers is one of the city’s most photographed sites. A large expanse of water directly in front of the church makes for some impressive reflections, given the right light conditions. Each summer Calypso, consisting of an unprepossessing kiosk, chairs and palm trees sets up shop next to the water feature, creating a wonderful spot to chill out on a balmy evening. On the other side of the lake the Wien Museum provides a fascinating insight into the history of the capital. Next door, the Künstlerhaus is home to a constantly changing program of exhibitions as well as Theater brut whose bar doubles up as an interface between art and Viennese nightlife.

The glass cube at the Naschmarkt end of Karlsplatz is the project space, with exhibitions of contemporary art projects, and the popular Kunsthalle Café. Visible on the other side of the road, the Secession building is just opposite the entrance to the capital’s busiest, largest and most popular market. The Naschmarkt is the destination of choice for international foodstuffs and specialties and also has a booming bar and restaurant scene with Neni, DoAn, Deli, TeWa and the new Fischvierterl leading the way.

At nearby Schleifmühlgasse, branching off the Naschmarkt, a range of galleries such as Gabriele Senn, Georg Kargl, Momentum, Christine König, Kerstin Engholm and Michaela Stock give an interesting view of what’s happening on the Viennese art scene. The bijou Bananas boutique, in Kettenbrückengasse, is stocked with perennially popular 1930s and 1980s furniture. Schikaneder cinema and bar has long been at the heart of nightlife in this particular part of town. And for anyone looking to turn night in to day, there is always Sass Music Club, Market and Roxy – great places to hit the dance floor or simply hang out at the bar.

Addresses:

Bananas, Kettenbrückengasse 15, 1050 Vienna, www.bananas.at

brut Bar, Karlsplatz 5, 1010 Vienna, www.brut-wien.at

Christine König Galerie, Schleifmühlgasse 1A, 1040 Vienna, www.christinekoeniggalerie.com

DoAn, Naschmarkt Stand 412, 1040 Vienna, Tel. +43 (0)1 5858253

Fischvierterl am Naschmarkt, Naschmarkt Stand 177-178, 1060 Vienna, www.fischvierterl.com

Galerie Michaela Stock, Schleifmühlgasse 18, 1040 Vienna, www.galerie-stock.net

Georg Kargl Fine Arts, Schleifmühlgasse 5, 1040 Vienna, www.georgkargl.com

Kerstin Engholm Galerie, Schleifmühlgasse 3, 1040 Vienna, www.kerstinengholm.com

Kiosk Calypso, Karlsplatz, 1040 Vienna, www.myspace.com/kioskocalypso

Kunsthalle Wien project space, Treitlstrasse 2, 1040 Vienna, www.kunsthallewien.at

Künstlerhaus, Karlsplatz 5, 1010 Vienna, www.brut-wien.at

Market, Linke Wienzeile 36, 1060 Vienna, www.marketvienna.com

Momentum, Schleifmühlgasse 1, 1040 Vienna, www.momentum.co.at

Naschmarkt Deli, Naschmarkt Stand 421-436, 1060 Vienna, www.naschmarkt-deli.at

Roxy, Operngasse 24/corner of Faulmanngasse, 1040 Vienna, www.roxyclub.at

Sass Music Club, Karlsplatz 1, 1010 Vienna, www.sassvienna.com

Schikander, Margaretenstrasse 24, 1040 Vienna, www.schikaneder.at

TeWa, Naschmarkt Stand 672, 1040 Vienna, www.tewa672.com

Wien Museum, Karlsplatz, 1040 Vienna, www.wienmuseum.at

 

Culture at the MuseumsQuartier

What better way to start the day than with a breakfast at one of the cafés at the MuseumsQuartier, such as MQdaily, Kantine or Café Leopold? Afterwards, a trip to one of the other cultural institutions at the MuseumsQuartier such as the Museum für moderne Kunst (mumok), the Leopold Museum (home to the world’s largest collection of works by Egon Schiele), the Kunsthalle Wien or Architekturzentrum Wien should feature on any itinerary. Fans of vintage computer games and consoles from Atari to Vectrex will be in their element at the Subotron Shop in quartier21. This creative cluster provides working spaces for digital culture, fashion and design outfits at the MuseumsQuartier. At the Volkstheater opposite the MQ, the Rote Bar shows exactly how well stagecraft, music and nightlife come together in the Austrian capital.

Addresses:

Architekturzentrum Vienna, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna, www.azw.at

Café Leopold, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna, www.cafe-leopold.at

Kantine, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna, www.mq-kantine.at

Kunsthalle Wien, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna, www.kunsthallewien.at

Leopold Museum, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna, www.leopoldmuseum.org

MQdaily, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna, www.mqdaily.at

Museum für moderne Kunst (mumok), Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna, www.mumok.at

MuseumsQuartier + quartier21, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna, www.mqw.at

Subotron Shop, Museumsplatz 1, 1070 Vienna, www.subotron.com

Volkstheater Rote Bar, Neustiftgasse 1, 1070 Vienna, www.volkstheater.at

 

Shopping and nightlife on Mariahilfer Strasse

On one side the MuseumsQuartier is hemmed in by Vienna’s longest shopping street, Mariahilfer Strasse, which is lined with department stores and branches of international chain stores. The side streets leading off Mariahilfer Strasse are dotted with countless independent boutiques and shops carrying up-and-coming labels. Lindengasse is a great example. Home to Werkprunk, Wabisabi, Elke Freytag and others, it has quickly developed into a strictly non-mainstream fashion oasis.

After an exhausting shopping trip it’s just a short walk to Sapa for some delicious Vietnamese food. Other nearby options include quiche at Le Troquet or a drink at Dondrine. And then it’s just a few steps to futuregarden or Elektro Gönner, two clubs that stand out for their minimalist architecture and electronic sounds. Among the best options for seeing out the night in style are Tanzcafé Jenseits which is a vision in red plush, or Camera Club. Partygoers at Hotel am Brillantengrund stand a good chance of seeing one of the DJs still on the decks early the next day as they sit down for a brunch with friends.

The city’s cabaret lovers have found a new home from home at the opulent Stadtsaal on Mariahilferstrasse, where established stars such as Josef Hader take the stage, as well as and up-and-coming cabaret artists. From time to time they make way for (mostly Austrian) pop outfits such as Soap & Skin and Naked Lunch.

Addresses:

Camera Club, Neubaugasse 2, 1070 Vienna, www.camera-club.at

Die Dondrine, Kirchengasse 20, 1070 Vienna, www.diedondrine.at

Elektro Gönner, Mariahilfer Strasse 101, 1060 Vienna, www.elektro-g.at

Elke Freytag, Lindengasse 14, 1070 Vienna, www.elkefreytag.com

futuregarden, Schadekgasse 6, 1060 Vienna, www.kunstbuero.at/futuregarden.html

Hotel am Brillantengrund, Bandgasse 4, 1070 Vienna, www.brillantengrund.com

Le Troquet, Kirchengasse 18, 1070 Vienna, www.letroquet.at

Sapa, Lindengasse 35, 1070 Vienna, www.sapa.at

Stadtsaal, Mariahilfer Strasse 81, 1060 Vienna, www.stadtsaal.com

Tanzcafé Jenseits, Nelkengasse 3, 1060 Vienna, www.tanzcafe-jenseits.com

Wabisabi, Lindengasse 20, 1070 Vienna, www.alle-tragen-wabi-sabi.at

Werkprunk, Lindengasse 7/11, 1070 Vienna, www.werkprunk.com

 

Beats and arts on the Gürtel

At first glance the Gürtel is not one of Vienna’s most attractive locations. This multi-lane beltway encircling Vienna’s inner districts is one of the city’s busiest thoroughfares. But that is also what makes the Gürtel so attractive at night, when the clubs have special dispensation to turn the music up a bit. Nowadays the distinctive Otto Wagner-designed railway arches are home to clubs and bars, and instead of the former Stadtbahn commuter railway it is now the subway that rumbles on overhead. A favorite for guitar gigs, Chelsea set the trend back in 1996. Meanwhile rhiz is the place for electronic music and B72 goes for a little bit of both.

das WERK, a former glass factory, has provided a creative space for pop and art, with a workshop and museum, a practice room and an exhibition hall. Here the parties go on well into the night, which also applies to The Loft, which serves up a mix of DJ sounds, film screenings and such like in a decommissioned wooden flooring factory.

The part of Ottakring just outside the Gürtel is experiencing something of a pop cultural renaissance. For a decade now, Galerie Ulrike Hrobsky has run a showroom for young art in Grundsteingasse, and a few steps away, Ragnarhof offers a space for art and culture spanning all kinds of disciplines.

Addresses:

B72, Hernalser Gürtel, Stadtbahnbogen 72, 1080 Vienna, www.b72.at

Chelsea, Lerchenfelder Gürtel, Stadtbahnbögen 29-31, 1080 Vienna, www.chelsea.co.at

das WERK, Neulerchenfelder Strasse 6-8, 1160 Vienna, www.daswerk.org

Ragnarhof, Grundsteingasse 12, 1160 Vienna, www.ragnarhof.at

rhiz, Stadtbahnbögen 37 & 38, 1080 Vienna, www.rhiz.org

Showroom for Young Art, Grundsteingasse 40, 1160 Vienna, www.hrobsky.at

The Loft, Lerchenfelder Gürtel 37, 1160 Vienna, www.theloft.at

 

Yppenplatz – a heady culinary and cultural mix

It’s not far from the bars and clubs lining the Gürtel to the Brunnenmarkt, a market with numerous Turkish restaurants such as Kent and Etap. Here, scenesters come to bask in south east European charm. The cultural rebirth of this area was kick-started by the SohoinOttakring festival, which is staged every two years. Traditionally, the festival gets underway on Yppenplatz, a piazza adjacent to the Brunnenmarkt with market stands and acres of space for outdoor seating. During the summer months this square really comes into its own as a lively multicultural hang-out. That said, there are plenty of reasons to visit in winter too. AnDo, La Salvia and Wetter all combine first-rate cuisine (from Mediterranean to Vorarlberg) with a laid back, contemporary atmosphere.

The ground floors of the attractive apartment buildings that frame the square are now home to a selection of exciting smaller galleries and showrooms, for instance anika handelt Galerie and YPPIG eco fashion showroom with its Designers in Residence programme.

Addresses:

AnDo, Yppenmarkt Stand 11-15, 1160 Vienna, www.ando.at

anika handelt Galerie, Yppenplatz 5/4, 1160 Vienna, www.anikahandelt.com

Etap, Neulerchenfelder Strasse 13, 1160 Wien, www.etap-restaurant.at

Kent, Brunnengasse 67, 1160 Vienna, www.kent-restaurant.at

La Salvia, corner of Weyprechtgasse and Schellhammergasse, 1160 Vienna, www.lasalvia.at

SohoinOttakring, Brunnengasse 68/9, 1160 Vienna, www.sohoinottakring.at

Wetter, Payergasse 13, 1160 Vienna, Tel. +43 (0)1 4060775

YPPIG eco fashion showroom, Yppenplatz 5, 1160 Wien, www.yppig.wordpress.com

 

But that’s not all

It goes without saying that not all of the leading lights on the city’s cultural and music scene are concentrated around these up-and-coming districts. Arena, located in a former slaughterhouse in the third district, is home to several different concert halls and an open air stage. A popular venue for a punk, techno and hip hop loving underground crowd, it has also pulled in a number of international stars over the years including Lou Reed, David Bowie, Ringo Starr and Patti Smith.

The striking brick walls of WUK – a former locomotive factory in the ninth district – bring together more than 130 cultural and social initiatives. For over 30 years it has been a popular choice for exhibitions, theater productions, off-the-wall installations and pop concerts. Bands such as Iron & Wine pack out the house, and acts such as Shantal & his Bucovina Club Orkestar are among the regulars.

Kabelwerk in the 12th district and Ankerbrot-Fabrik in the 10th are made up of a mix of residential and cultural spaces for culture and the creative industries. These two revitalized former industrial buildings have breathed new life into Meidling and Favoriten, two of the city’s traditionally working class districts. All of which goes to show that there is lots to discover for anyone who ventures off the beaten track in Vienna.

Addresses:

Ankerbrot-Fabrik, 1100 Vienna, Puchsbaumgasse 1C, www.loftcity.at

Arena, Baumgasse 80, 1030 Vienna, www.arena.co.at

Palais Kabelwerk, Oswaldgasse 35A, 1120 Vienna, www.palaiskabelwerk.at

WUK, Währinger Strasse 59, 1090 Vienna, www.wuk.at

 

How do I get there, where do I find out more?

Visit www.vienna.info to find out what’s on in Vienna, find out more about the Austrian capital and reserve accommodation.

Check www.falter.at and www.hauptstadt.at for a daily guide to the city’s music and cultural life..

Visitors to the city can also visit Tourist Info Vienna (corner of Albertinaplatz and Maysedergasse, 1010 Vienna, open 09:00-19:00 daily) and Jugendinfo wienXtra at Babenbergerstrasse 1 (1010 Vienna).

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