Review of Krypt Bar Vienna and why you should visit before word gets out about this gem!
There was no sign out the front, just a small light above a nondescript doorway and 3 people milling about smoking in the chill February night air. We had the address, but second-guessed ourselves looking at the empty suburban street.
Too stubborn to back out back out at this late stage, and intrigued by the stories of an expansive underground bar, we decided to just brazen it out. Confidently striding towards what we assumed the entrance to be, with a completely faked knowing air and false bravado.
On the other side of the door was a small, grey cloakroom. Wineglasses served as the doorbell and young but polite Viennese milled about in a queue to check their winter coats. Because in the depths of February, what could be more tempting on a Friday night than the promise of a design bar in a vaulted cellar, that may have been a speakeasy in the 1950’s?
The very idea oozed cool and we were about to find out if Krypt could live up to the hype.
The grey coat check room gave way to a single door, which opened out onto the top of a floating wooden staircase, surrounded by the original stone arches of the cellar.
It’s said that the space was uncovered accidentally by the building owners looking to expand the apartments above. They uncovered a crumbling stairwell behind a bricked up doorway, which led to the cavernous 250m sq 18th Century cellar, complete with signs of its history as a dance bar on the walls.
We descended the low lit floating staircase to the bar, 8 meters below ground, and arrived in the sleek and subtle parquet floored entrance room.
Krypt has a cluster of small hallways, alcoves and hangout areas, designed to keep you moving comfortably around. There’s also plenty of low seated couches and hidden corners perfect for late-in-the-evening canoodling, I’m sure!
The bar itself, when you reach it, is an impressive 7 meters long, clad in Italian black marble, with golden ventilation pipes shimmering above and a calming image of greenery and waterlilies behind it to offset the earthy feeling of the exposed brickwork.
The feeling is very New York/Berlin/London – there’s no other way to say it, it’s just a really f*cking cool place that you have to see for yourself.
We were greeted by a barman dripping in Russel-Brand-esque piercings, beard and long hair, who generously scoped out a seated corner area for the 4 of us.
Being a good 5 years above the average studenty age-range of others standing by the bar, I’m not entirely sure if he did this to hide us in a back room and keep the bars ‘beautiful people’ vibe, or if it was just friendly attentive service for a group who was clearly searching for a perch to sit on.
From our cosy couchette and low leather bean bags, we could relax and appreciate the finer details of the bar, while Russel Brand fetched the drinks menus.
The thing that we immediately noticed about Krypt is that every detail has been thought through carefully, and executed in original style.
This isn’t the standard hipster cocktail bar with deconstructed walls and some second-hand furniture strewn about. It’s a thoroughly modern update on a speakeasy space, designed by 3 locals with an eye to longevity beyond current trends.
At least, that’s what we picked up from the coordinated floor to ceiling parquet, the mirror designs, and the consistency from one room to the next of unified design elements. (Sorry to nerd out on design and architecture but it really is a huge part of what makes the bar so enticing!)
The cocktail menu had the classics you would expect (Moscow Mule for me) and a selection of unique whiskey or tequila-based specialties. Served in long glasses for just €10-€12 they are in line with Vienna’s average cocktail price range, which was a pleasant surprise considering the surroundings!
As we sipped drinks, Russel Brand returned to the alcove area we were sharing with 12 or so other guests and offered a complimentary round of fruity shots for all and a twinkling smile for the woman next to me.
Service here was friendly and fast, which again, in Vienna, isn’t always a given so all the more appreciated. We were (crucially) even able to pay by card from our seated area.
Despite feeling like an old crone when we stood by the bar in the beginning, as the night progressed, the Friday night crowd became a lot more mixed.
From students un-ironically wearing 90’s checkered skirts and Dr Marten boots, to young professionals in casual shirts and jeans, to the older couples in laid-back luxe wear, there was a decent mix of people throughout the bar.
Like many places in Vienna, they accepted all types.
There are bouncers on the door as the night progresses so they control the volume of people in the space (which for my claustrophobic mind was a relief) and kept the energy of the bar positive and friendly, rather than aggressive and competitive.
They also don’t take any reservations, so if you want to get in as a larger group, either come early or be willing to wait a while on popular nights.
Overall though, this wasn’t too fancy as a bar, I would describe it as stylish, but you don’t have to wear heels or collars necessarily to get in the door.
God bless Vienna’s low-key style!
As our night continued, we found more surprising treats throughout the place; Vienna’s smallest art gallery, a shuffleboard that’s played on weekends and the many minute design details that only became obvious on closer inspection.
It’s really no wonder they’ve already won architectural awards for the renovation that took two years to complete.
Overall, Krypt was definitely the most interesting cocktail bar we’ve been to in Vienna for a long time. The concept, the high-quality design, service and attention to detail was all perfect.
Plus, the place was full, with a very relaxed fun vibe, not thumping loud music, but enough to keep you energized and upbeat. Being the history nerd that I am, I absolutely loved the idea that the cellar we were in was 200 years old, and formerly housed underground speakeasy nights, but had been so lovingly restored.
Krypt gets a resounding recommendation from me – whether you are a local or just visiting Vienna, I think it shows a stylish, fun and different side to the city than a standard cocktail bar and will certainly give you a story to tell the morning after about the amazing place you visited.
Just be sure to get yourself there soon – word is out about this awesome spot! As we were leaving the bar the queue snaked down the street despite the winter cold, and it’s only going to get more popular.
So go on – check it out for yourself soon.
- Address: Wasagasse 17, 1090 Wien
- Nearest Tram Stop: Schwarzspanierstraße on Währinger Strasse. Tram 37, 38, 40, 41, 42
- Drinks Price: €10-€15
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