Nightlife in Vienna may not be as legendary as in London or Madrid, but it is unexpectedly exciting. As much as it is the capital of classical music, the Austrian capital is a mecca for night owls and ravers who love to rock the dancefloor into the morning.
At the forefront of the house and techno music scene in the 80s and 90s, on a par with iconic dance music cities such as Detroit and New York, Vienna still boasts first-class clubs with top Austrian and international DJ sets.
The Viennese nightclub scene is not very broad, although top DJs of very different musical varieties play in the city. The clubs are often intimate, while huge discos are rare. Vienna in particular has a prominent history in electronic music, which exploded in the mid-1990s with the downbeat and its lounge atmosphere. Today, trendy clubbers mainly dance to techno music, electronic sounds and breakbeats, preferably in unusual locations.
Viennese clubs and discos are therefore generally small: for mega-discos, it is better to look elsewhere, but a few exceptions can be found, such as the staggering Praterdrome.
If clubs and discos aren’t for you, you can listen to live music, not necessarily classical, or spend a pleasant evening with drinks and conversation in the lively Nachsmarkt or Museumsquarter.
Vienna’s old town is not the best area for late-night partying: the trendiest bars and clubs, which are open until late, are almost all located outside district 1. But where to go then? Here are the best areas to find bars and clubs in Vienna.
Under the Jugendstil-style arches of the former city railway in the Gürtel, the area of Vienna just outside the city centre that includes districts 2 to 9, hide some of Vienna’s coolest nightclubs.
It’s a secret known to all young Viennese: this is the best area for nightlife in Vienna, where the noise doesn’t bother the residents, who are already used to traffic noise, and young people can enjoy themselves until late. The urban setting adds atmosphere to an electrifying night, to be experienced to the beat of the music you like best: electronic, house, indie, punk, britpop, groove…
The first club to open in the area when it was still considered only a red light district was the historic Chelsea1, still a reference point for live music in Vienna, from alternative to pop. As the name and decoration of the venue suggest, the owner is a former footballer and in fact there is no shortage of English beers and big screens for football matches.
A stone’s throw away is B722, one of Gürtel’s top venues, housedunder the historic arches of the former city railway. Ithas two levels, so you can choose whether to watch the live concerts in the middle of the crowd or go up to the balcony and enjoy the view from above.
Finally, we recommend KJU Club3 the Gürtel’s ‘in’ place: sophisticated ambience, dress code, impeccable bartenders. Perfect for those who like a sophisticated place to drink excellent cocktails, it is Vienna’s most popular after-work club.
But in addition to these now classic haunts, new music venues continue to open under the arches of the elevated underground.
At the end of August, the Gürtel celebrates itself in a big open-air party organised by the local clubs, the Gürtel Night Walk. It is a joyous music party that lasts well into the morning and has become a regular event for thousands of visitors.
Many young Viennese people meet in the evening at the Naschmarkt, Vienna’s most famous market and one of the city’s liveliest areas, where you can find a huge choice of bars, cafés and restaurants, both traditional and modern. You could come here for dinner and then stop for a drink in the trendy Naschmarkt bars, just like the Viennese do.
The two venues that have made Naschmarkt popular with young people are Cafe Do-An4 and deli Naschmarkt5: the latter, famous for its legendary DJ sets, is the ideal bar for those who want a lively evening with drinks and music, but don’t like the crowds at the discos.
Other popular evening hangouts for young people in the city are Karmelitermarkt, Freihausviertel and Yppenplatz square, next to the Brunnenmarkt market.
Have you always thought fun fairs were the stuff of children? Not Vienna’s Prater, which is also a fairground for adults looking for fun after the sun goes down.
There are plenty of dining options, but what makes the Prater one of the top nightlife areas in Vienna is the presence of the legendary Prater DOME6, Austria’s largest disco. Two floors, four dancefloors and twelve themed bars are the jaw-dropping numbers in this legendary club, which will also amaze you with a spectacular laser show and moving walls used for spectacular effects.
The music caters for all tastes: from the ever-present electronica, house, elektro, trance, to r’n’b and soul, Seventies/Nineties and Latin American music.
A very lively area at night is, surprisingly, the Museumsquarter: one of the most culturally important areas of the Austrian capital is transformed at night into a meeting place for those who want an evening of good food, drinks and chat.
In this area you will findAux Gazelles7, a venue that is a restaurant, hammam and club. Casual-chic ambience and an original music programme with exotic and sophisticated names such as ‘electronicque soirées’ or ‘oriental global beats and ethnogrooves’.
The club Grelle Forelle8 on the Danube Canal is the first stop in Vienna for lovers of high-quality electronic music.
However, the best known nightclub in Vienna is Flex9, a cult club on the Danube Canal that hosts top DJs and is famous throughout Europe. Flex is a historic Viennese nightclub founded in the 1990s. Only five years after it opened, it moved to a former underground tunnel along the Danube Canal, where it still stands today. It is far from the centre but this does not discourage its loyal audience and numerous occasional visitors, so much so that the club has become a reference point for the Austrian dance scene.
Other interesting venues are ROXY10, with progressive music and a small dance floor, Club U11, popular with the alternative crowd with live avant-garde music, goodmann12, a tiny club that becomes a haven for sunrise revellers, and O - the club13 and Babenberger Passage14, frequented by a trendy crowd.
The Club Schwarzenberg15 offers top-class entertainment and an amazing party atmosphere, inspired by that of Ibiza.
The aforementioned Praterdome, on the other hand, is simply the biggest disco in Austria, has two floors and comprises four dance floors and twelve theme bars.
An underground club in a somewhat hidden location is DonauTechno16, with no sign outside: here, seven days a week, you can listen to electronic music and especially techno.
In Vienna, the line between bar and dance club is often a thin one, and it happens that clubs change during the course of the day. The dance floors are small but often well frequented. Such bars include the Europa, the Tanzcafé Jenseits, the Café Leopold and the Wirr, where well-known DJs regularly perform.
For those who like jazz and quieter sounds, there is Club Porgy & Bess17, Vienna’s legendary jazz club, considered one of the 10 best jazz clubs in Europe. Capable of seating up to 350 people, it attracts an attentive and curious audience. In addition to the best jazz musicians on the Austrian and international scene, the musical offer includes innovative musical themes and unusual initiatives.
There are also numerous venues in Vienna that play live music, with bands from Eastern Europe stopping off here in particular.
Vienna’s nightclubs open at ten o’clock in the evening and close around four in the morning; some clubs extend their opening hours until six o’clock, and for night owls who just don’t want to go to sleep there are a couple of afterparty clubs that open at eight in the morning.
The price of a nightclub ticket in Vienna can vary a lot from club to club, ranging from clubs with free admission to others that charge 20 euros or more. The same club can vary the price of admission depending on the night or the DJs.
In the following map you can see the location of the main places of interest mentioned in this article