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?”
“All DJs automatically become late-night food experts. And at nighttime in 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 4 in the morning and then round the night off 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.”
“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.
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.”
Settled in the heart of Europe, Vienna has been the center of the Habsburg Empire, the birthplace of psychoanalysis and source of the ’80s smash hit ”Rock Me Amadeus”. Austria’s capital is the second-largest German-speaking city (after Berlin).
So what are you waiting for?
- Fly to Vienna International Airport
- Get around by subway (runs 24 hours at the weekend) and tram
- Use wienerlinien.at for navigation
“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 2 and 4 a.m.
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 5 and then reopens at 6. Then you can party on till 11 in the morning.”
“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.
But my secret tip is dasBach (the Bach) 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 the Bach 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.”
“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.”