Trail 1: Everyday Wine Bars, Vienna – 1st District
City districts visited: 1st (city centre)
Budget: € – €€
Total distance: 3.3km (2.05 miles)
Total walking time: 41 minutes
This trail will lead you around the wine bars of Vienna’s first district – the beautiful city centre, famed for its palaces and museums, elegant architecture, high-ceilinged coffee houses and fine restaurants. We were careful to select bars that are neither intended solely for tourists nor too damaging to your wallet, but reflect central Vienna at its best: from ancient to modern, zany to chic. Whether you pick just a couple or decide to visit them all, we guarantee that you will enjoy some of the less-visited streets and new experiences that await you along the way.
1. Wein & Co Wien Stephansplatz, Jasomirgottstraße 3, 1010 Wien
Sunday – Wednesday 9am to midnight; Thursday – Saturday 9am to 2am
Recently refurbished, the city centre branch of Austria’s largest wine merchandiser is a swanky, industrial chic bar (think concrete walls, low lighting and red velvet chairs). Usually busy, service is friendly but can be a little inefficient. The long wine list is Austrian-heavy but with plenty of international choices, and you can also pick any bottle in the large basement shop to consume in the bar for €7 corkage. Conveniently located near the cathedral and with long opening hours, Wein & Co is not the most characterful bar on this trail but an easy and likeable place to kick off your tour.
2. Vulcanothek, Palais Ferstel Passage, Herrengasse 14, 1010 Wien
Monday – Friday 11am to 10pm; Saturday 11am to 8pm; Sunday 12pm to 6pm
A small bar specializing in wines and cured meats from Styria, in southern Austria. The Vulcano ham for which this bar is named comes from Mangalitza pigs that are raised on volcanic earth. You probably need to be a meat-eater to drink here – even if you don’t want to order one of the simple but hearty cold platters, you’re going to be surrounded by legs of ham that hang from the walls and ceilings. Despite its swanky setting at the entrance to the beautifully ornate Ferstel shopping passage, Vulcanothek is a good value, relaxed bar with friendly, helpful service and a consistent regional focus.
3. Unger & Klein, Gölsdorfgasse 2, 1010 Wien
Monday – Friday 3pm to midnight; Saturday 5pm to midnight; Sunday closed
Making the somewhat far-fetched claim of being one of Vienna’s ‘most beautiful wine bars’, Unger & Klein is a bastion of Viennese traditionalism. Smoke-filled, crowded, slightly down-at-heel, this is a wine bar of Stammgäste (regular guests). To sample exactly this kind of atmosphere, the bar is worth a short visit. One wall is dedicated to a high, voluptuously curving shelf lined with wine bottles – mainly Austrian producers – but if you don’t want a whole bottle (drink in or take away), you can select from the chalked-up list of open wines. Service is somewhat brisk but, just as in the city’s coffee houses, that’s part of the ‘charm’.
4. Vis-à-vis, Wollzeile 5, 1010 Wien
Tuesday – Friday 4pm to 10.30pm; Saturday 3pm to 10.30pm; Sunday – Monday closed
Vienna’s oldest and smallest wine bar, Vis-à-vis is tucked down a hidden passage opposite Figlmüller, one of the city’s most famous restaurants. Four high tables and a bit of standing room at the bar is all there is space for, but with a friendly proprietress and mismatched décor, the bar radiates old-school Viennese charm. Open wines and schnaps are displayed on the blackboards, but there is also an impressively large additional wine list, including rare vintages at hard-to-beat prices. Expect a short wait if you order a bottle – given the bar’s tiny size, it has to be run over from the big sister restaurant down the road.
5. Vinothek Der Wein, Riemergasse 6, 1010 Wien
Monday – Friday 11am to 11pm; Saturday 11am to 10pm; Sunday closed
At the front of one of Vienna’s most impressive wine shops, the bar of Vinothek Der Wein is a place in which to enjoy a serious glass or two. Your fellow drinkers are most likely to be businessmen or the very well-heeled, but given the clientele (and the hefty price tags on most of the shop), the atmosphere is surprisingly relaxed. Squeezed between the till and the delicatessen, the bar’s ceiling is hung with copper pans, lavender and ancient kitchen instruments, creating an unusually rustic ambience. In the smoking section, a backlit bar displays a serious array of cognac, whiskeys and other spirits; the wines-by-the-glass list is more wallet-friendly. The many-numbered staff is kind, if a little too eager, and there is plenty to look at, be it staff-customer interactions in the shop or the passing of people on the street outside.
6. Enrico Panigl, Schönlaterngasse 11, 1010 Wien
Monday – Saturday 6pm to 4am; Sunday 6pm to 2am
A stalwart of the Viennese wine bar scene, Enrico Panigl has been open for what feels like forever – and its daily hours of operation seem just as eternal. Hidden down the beautiful and quiet Schönlaterngasse, just a few steps away from the humdrum chaos of Schwedenplatz, it is a peaceful, musty, low-lit place with high wooden tables and green leather benches. The walls and ceiling are decorated with oddities such as a Moretti poster, strings of onions and assorted statues; there is an impressive-looking salami slicer and a corresponding (short) list of cold plates. Wines are largely Austrian, Italian and Croatian, with a couple of specimens from the new world. Pleasant service, relaxed atmosphere – a great, late-night kind of place.
7. Die Weinorgel, Bäckerstrasse 2, 1010 Wien
Monday – Thursday 4pm to 2am; Friday – Saturday 4pm to 3am; Sunday 4pm to midnight
Die Weinorgel is definitely the maddest wine bar on this tour – quite possibly the maddest we have ever been in. Named for the automated barrel organ (complete with monkey) behind the bar, which strikes up every hour on the hour, it is a slightly divey joint full of rickety bar stools and baskets of unshelled peanuts. The crowd is mixed in age, mainly local; the girls behind the bar are incredibly friendly and tolerant of the peanut husks landing on the floor (“They’re supposed to,” she said. We didn’t ask twice.) As with a few of the bars on this tour, Die Weinorgel is, in classic Viennese tradition, a smoking establishment. It is also not for anyone who likes to drink their wine in sober, peaceful and refined surroundings. But for a slightly tipsy, down-to-earth glass of red at one o’clock in the morning, it doesn’t get much weirder…or better.