Nightlife Vienna: Tips and insiders

Heroes of the night: Vienna

Words: Andreas Rottenschlager   
Photography: Lukas Gansterer

Balkan beats, punk and champagne from a sausage stand: The impresarios putting the Austrian capital on the late-night map
“dance to turbo-folk”
the Insider: Frederika Ferková

Frederika Ferková is Nightlife reporter for Vice. She organises parties, including pyjama raves. 

“Ottakringer Straße is the centre of Vienna’s Balkan party scene. A Balkan party is where people from the former Yugoslavia dance to turbo-folk – fast, Slavic music cranked up with electro beats. Oddly, even the Viennese only rarely give Balkan disco a try themselves, which is a shame, because on Fridays and Saturdays things get pretty wild at clubs like Insomnia. An enormous amount of vodka gets knocked back. The women dance in ultra-short dresses and high heels. Guys usually wear button-downs.

My inside tip is to learn just this one thing in Serbian. You can’t go wrong with the question ‘Šta piješ?’ – pronounced shta pee-esh. Translation: “What are you drinking?” 

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WOLFRAM, the producer

“All DJs automatically become late-night food experts. And in nighttime Vienna, there’s no avoiding the sausage stands. The way to know you’ve found a good one is the quality of the sides. Are the buns crispy? Is there special mustard? I recommend the Bitzinger stand behind the Opera. It’s one of the few sausage stands with a modern design. They have an amazing selection there. You can order champagne at the Bitzinger stand till 4am and then round off the night with a Carniolan sausage with cheese [Käsekrainer]. Don’t think of the calories and just enjoy it. It’s impossible to eat healthily at a hot-dog stand.” 

© youtube // The Dining Traveler

Peter Balon, the music maker

“We know everyone knows Falco. But the unheralded star of Vienna’s music scene is actually Philipp Quehenberger. He’s an all-around musical genius who studied jazz piano and produces unique tracks on the keyboard. ‘Quehe’ creates it all, from noise music to intelligent techno. 

“Slip on your earbuds and wander up and down the Donaukanal with the moon reflected in the water“

But he rejects all music- industry norms. He fiddles around with his songs for years at a time. When he performs live, he likes to wear a tank top.

I recommend you look up “Uff Uff” on YouTube for starters. It’s a dark techno tune – the perfect soundtrack for a nighttime walk around Vienna. Just slip on your earbuds and wander up and down the Donaukanal [Danube Canal] with the moon reflected in the water.” 

Wolfram and Peter Balon

Wolfram and Peter Balon

Wolfram is Austria’s most successful disco export has produced tracks for Moby and performed live with Lady Gaga. Peter Balon is the man who runs the show at Grelle Forelle, Vienna’s leading techno club

the world’s most livable city
City Facts
Map of Vienna showing the best locations

The recommended clubs at a glance

Settled in the heart of Europe, Vienna has been the core of the Habsburg Empire, the birthplace of psychoanalysis and the ’80s smash hit Rock Me AmadeusAustria’s capital is the second-largest German-speaking city (after Berlin).

Global consultant Mercer voted the capital of 1.8 million the world’s most liveable city five times in a row. And that’s not even factoring in the growing number of late-night parties.

So what are you waiting for?

  • ​Fly to Vienna International Airport 
  • Get around by subway (runs 24 hours at the weekend) and tram 
  • Use for navigation
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Anna UlLrich
Anna Ullrich


The Viennese DJ and photographer plays deep house in clubs across Europe. facebook/annaullrichofficial

“If you’re in Vienna for the weekend, here’s your clubbing timetable. If you like commercial house music, start at Volksgarten (next to the Hofburg, the former imperial palace) on Friday. They play house you can dance to and there’s an international crowd. I have lots of friends who go there to meet and hook up with new people. It’s busiest between 2am and 4am.

For Saturday night I recommend SASS on Karlsplatz. It’s a club that feels like a sitting room and I regularly play there. The owners like to give young DJs a chance, so it’s the place to go if you want to hear the latest techno and tech house. SASS also plays host to one of the few official after-hours parties in the city. The club shuts at 5am and then reopens at 6am. Then you can party on till 11 in the morning.”

Wild Evel

the rock star

He’s been playing gigs around Vienna for 15 years now. His shows as the frontman of garage-punk band the Trashbones are legendary

“If you want to see good rock ’n’ roll shows, check out the Arena. The former slaughterhouse has been the centre of Vienna’s counterculture since the 1970s and it’s still the go-to address for live music. 

“The crowd is so close to the stage that you can smell the singer’s sweat. There’s no barrier to separate the artist from the concertgoer”

But my secret tip is dasBach in Ottakring. It’s the perfect location for intimate little gigs. The crowd is so close to the stage that you can smell the singer’s sweat. There’s no barrier to separate the artist from the concertgoer.

When I play there with my band, I mingle with the crowd and drink beer out of my Chelsea boots. You can always tell a place like dasBach is a great live venue based on its rock ’n’ roll paraphernalia; there’s a whole layer of band stickers on the wall.

I can’t recommend some of the special features, like punk rock bowling or karaoke, highly enough. A live band will be performing classics by the Ramones or Black Flag and you can just jump on the stage and belt it out with them.” 

“Go for an early drink at Kantine”
Mavi Phoenix
Mavi Phoenix

Rising Star

Since the release of her EP, My Fault, the rapper is being hailed as Vienna’s new hip-hop prodigy

Museumsquartier is the place to experience Vienna’s young and hip vibe first-hand. Watch people sitting on the street furniture in the huge courtyard (which has a BYOD policy) or enjoy a white wine spritzer at Kantine, a cross between a cafe and a restaurant.

In the early evenings, I like subtle places. Hence Kantine, with its simple design and easy-listening music, is my place of choice. The music isn’t too loud, so you can have a conversation with your friends and make plans for the rest of the night. And if you’re by yourself, no problem, the MQ is the perfect place to meet people who want to party.”

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11 2016 The Red Bulletin

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