Vienna's nightlife scene is less gritty and intense than Berlin's and more relaxed than Paris', but it has a lot to offer for a mid-sized city. The Austrian capital is remarkably versatile after dark; it manages to strike an unusual balance between elegance and energy, and successfully caters to all tastes, moods, and styles. So whether you're after a traditional evening out at the Viennese opera followed by cocktails, a dance-till-dawn happening at an arty club, or a simple glass of local wine on a summery terrace, keep reading. And since nightlife spots are generally permitted to stay open well past midnight, time is certainly on your side.
The bar scene in Vienna is multifaceted and cool without being overly pretentious or uptight. You can start the evening at an upscale cocktail bar and end it in an edgy gallery space, nursing local beers in bottles while enjoying art and/or live music. Local winemaking is also the star of the show in Vienna's top wine bars and tasting taverns. During the summer, drinks out on the sprawling courtyard of the Museumsquartier (known as the "MQ" by locals) or at one of the many bars near the Danube canal and river are all but guaranteed to get you in the mood for a long night out.
- If Dogs Run Free: Some of Vienna's more inventive and visually stunning cocktails can be found at If Dogs Run Free, where a sturdy menu of both traditional and creative house drinks awaits. The people-watching opportunities are equally excellent.
- Tian am Spittelberg: For a glass of wine accompanied by delicious vegetarian nibbles, head to this cool restaurant and bar in the arty 7th district. It boasts one of the city center's most thoughtfully composed wine lists—mostly featuring offerings from local wineries.
- Top Kino: An old-world Viennese vibe with a splash of laid-back, contemporary cool abounds at this old arthouse cinema with a bar.
- Das Loft Bar & Lounge: Enjoy a drink with panoramic views over the capital at Das Loft Bar & Lounge, which is particularly notable for its signature cocktails and dizzyingly long champagne list.
It may not have a global reputation for head-spinning DJ sets and cool parties, but Vienna's nightclub scene is nevertheless vibrant and varied. All-night sets on riverside terraces, parties in glamorous (or gritty) underground cellars, and stylish nights in multi-level clubs are all possibilities. Except at the poshest spots, cover charges are generally reasonable. Some parties are entirely free, as long as you order a drink every so often.
- Fluc & Fluc Wanne: This intimate space near Prater park is widely considered one of the coolest "alternative" clubs in Vienna, praised for its eclectic DJ sets and some of the city's most intense techno parties. In addition to electronica and techno, they also play funk and indie rock.
- Das Werk: Situated behind an old trash incineration plant (we're not kidding), Das Werk attracts in-demand DJs and stages dance parties that regularly spill out into the streets. Two indoor dance rooms host intense techno and electro sets.
- Venster 99: If loud sound systems and an experimental approach to clubbing make you want to dance harder, this music venue might be calling your name.
- O club: If you're after a more sophisticated brand of partying, try the O club, near the Opera house. Champagne cocktails, dress codes, and an elegant vibe reign amid themed sets of electro, international house, and disco.
It's true that Vienna is world-renowned for its classical music history and scene; it regularly hosts some of the most acclaimed classical musicians, ensembles, and operatic performers in the world. But the city is also a great place for checking out a late-night rock or experimental hip-hop show.
- Wiener Staatsoper (Vienna State Opera House): To enjoy world-class performances of operas from Mozart to Puccini, this is the place to head. Just make sure to reserve tickets well in advance.
- Musikverein Concert Hall: For superb classical music shows, this concert hall is one of the best places in the capital to take them in. It's here that the Philharmonic Orchestra performs its iconic Vienna New Year's concerts.
- Celeste: For basement jazz concerts and drinks, try Celeste, a laid-back bar coveted by insiders for its cool music scene and relaxed vibe.
- Pony Club at the Rote Bar: Situated within the Volkstheater ("People's Theater") in central Vienna, this stylish bar hosts electronic music shows and events themed around funk, disco, and other genres.
- Flex: For indie rock, punk, synth, and a variety of other genres of live music, Flex remains a popular spot in the Austrian capital. Its huge riverside terrace—complete with wooden deck, street art, and lounge chairs—is perfect for a summer night out.
Vienna is great for late-night dining. For street food like currywurst (hot dogs with curry sauce), the city's many sausage stands are a good bet. But there are a number of other places to eat if you're looking for a post-midnight meal with full table service.
- Market: This popular late-night dining spot at Vienna's Naschmarkt serves Asian-style small plates coupled with stylish cocktails. It stays open until 2 a.m. every day.
- Die Wäscherei: Burgers, stir-fries, salads, wraps, and soups are all on the menu at Die Wäscherei, which serves hot meals until 1 a.m.
- Mozart's Restaurant: For typical Viennese fare and fast-food options like sausages and burgers, try this restaurant near the Westbanhof train station. They're open until 2 a.m. on weekdays and 6 a.m. on weekends.
Vienna hosts many lively annual festivals, and some carry well into the night. In the summer, you can enjoy open-air movies on Karlsplatz and free live music concerts at the Donauinselfest—a huge riverside event that attracts millions of visitors a year.
If beer tasting is your thing, both Vienna Beer Week and Craft Beer Fest in November are definitely worth checking out. And in May, the famous summer night concert at Schoenbrunn Palace proves that classical music can draw huge crowds of all ages.
Finally, local wineries are in the spotlight at the annual Vienna Wine Fest, which generally takes place in the Museumsquartier every spring (generally in early May). The 40-or-so winery stands usually close at 9 p.m., so this is a fantastic way to kick off your night out in the capital.
Tips for Going Out in Vienna
- Vienna's public transportation system runs late into the night all week long, with the U-Bahn (subway) operating all night on the weekends. Trams generally run until after midnight. Night buses are also an option, though they can be a bit tricky for tourists to navigate. See our full guide to using public transportation in Vienna for tips on getting around after dark.
- Taxis are always a possibility if you miss the last tram or U-Bahn, and Uber runs in Vienna. You can find taxi stations around the city center and outside major train (rail) stations.
- Bars are allowed to stay open until 6 a.m., and may serve customers close to closing time.
- It's not generally considered necessary to tip at the bar, though rounding up your bill to the next Euro and offering the extra amount in cash is often appreciated. If table service is good, you can consider leaving a small tip—generally from 5 to 15 percent.
- While it's technically not illegal to drink in public outside of bars, restaurants, and other formal establishments, it can be considered inappropriate or even rude to do so. It's fine to enjoy a glass of wine or a beer as part of a picnic (with food) in a park or other green space, but make sure to drink moderately and abstain from rowdy behavior.
- In the late autumn and winter, temperatures can drop well below 32 degrees Fahrenheit at night. Make sure you bring appropriate clothing such as gloves, a scarf, and even earmuffs if you plan to be roaming around the city well after dark.