Destination: Austria: Vienna
The cozy Eulennest is a pleasant spot for a drink before or after dinner. Located on one of the cobblestone alleys surrounding the Stephansdom, the wood-paneled bar area has high chairs and tables where guests snack on antipasti and cheese while sampling a nice selection of Austrian vintages. Closed Saturday and Sunday.
Compared with some of the more destination-specific cafés and bars, Fabios, with black leather seating areas, mood lighting and a backlit bar, can seem a bit generic downtown lounge, but it’s beloved by locals who start their nights here with glasses of pink Champagne. There’s a well-edited wine list and a small-plate menu; and the location, near the Stephansdom, is convenient for such restaurants as Meinl am Graben. Open daily.
Vienna’s hottest lounge is also its highest; Le Loft is located on the top floor of the Jean Nouvel-designed building that houses the Sofitel hotel. Drinks, snacks and haute cuisine—by Michelin-starred chef Antoine Westermann—is served throughout the day, making the spot a popular gathering spot—night or day. The vibrant ceiling was artfully designed by Pipilotti Rist and all-glass walls offer 360-degree views of the city.
Loos Bar (American Bar)
The last time I went to this famous bar, an attractive American couple in front of me did a speedy U-turn when they saw how packed and smoky the tiny space was (word to the wise: come early). Designed by Adolf Loos in 1908, with a beautiful mosaic of onyx and black marble above the doorway and strategically placed mirrors and lots of dark wood and more onyx inside, the bar is best visited for an aperitif before dinner. Try to get one of the cozy nooks with hunter green leather seats. The sliver of a space fills up quickly, but architecture and design buffs should not miss it. (Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt stopped by when they were in town last year, blowing their previously incognito status.) Open daily.
If timing and luck are on your side, you’ll score a window seat in this swanky bar, located on the sixth floor of the Haas Haus, in a glass-enclosed space that seems to hover over the tiled roof of the Stephansdom. Short of climbing the towers of Vienna’s most famous landmark, this is as close as you’re going to get to it. The ambiance at the Onyx Bar is a bit more subdued than at hot spots like Fabios and Loos Bar—perhaps it’s the elevated prices—but I found it a nice place to escape the crowds along the Graben and wind down with a glass of Grüner Veltliner. Note that the DO & CO, Austria’s most well-known catering company, also owns a design hotel in the building, and their guests get preferred seating.
Unger & Klein
Wine tastings and a constantly changing menu have transformed this ultracool wine store Unger & Klein, which was designed by Eichinger oder Knechtl (the duo behind the Österreicher), into quite a scene in the evenings. For those interested in taking home some local vintages—due to mostly boutique productions, Austria exports very little of its best wines—the friendly and well-informed staff are happy to guide customers through the selection, which includes bottles from such regions as the Burgenland and Steiermark.
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