At "Heunisch & Erben", the fine wines in the glass receive at least as much attention as the culinary creations on the plate.

At "Heunisch & Erben", the fine wines in the glass receive at least as much attention as the culinary creations on the plate.
Thomas Droeszler

Paradisiacal times: the best wine bars in Vienna

Fortunately, the days when Vienna only had wine taverns with dubious wines from the double liter or even from the barrel are long gone. Today's Viennese wine bars have their finger on the pulse.

Just a few years ago, wine bars were limited to cold antipasti, ham or cheese, but today they are increasingly focusing on sophisticated culinary specialities . In addition to a large selection of local and international wines, professional expertise, a cool atmosphere and a high-quality culinary offering, on a par with the wines, are of course also important.

Newer establishments such as the "Mast" run by the two top sommeliers Steve Breitzke and Matthias Pitra or the "O boufés" run by the highly decorated Konstantin Filippou, as well as the "Heunisch & Erben", are no longer just bars, but wine bistros with exquisite cuisine. The guests also perform at the highest level. Professionals with profound expertise are at work in the new wine bars. And the ambience is contemporary; cool interiors between shabby chic and modern design instead of Hauer romance.

As one of the first wine bars of modern times, "Unger und Klein" set new standards. With a casual mix of minimalist design, contemporary art and uncomplicated hospitality, Michaela Klein and Helmuth Unger have been showing the Viennese how a modern wine bar is done for around 30 years. The restaurant, designed by the star architect duo "Eichinger oder Knechtl", was considered absolutely avant-garde at the time and has since become a classic.

Not quite as spectacular visually, but unbeatable in terms of the range of wines with over 3,000 different vintages, up to 100 of them by the glass, the "Pub Klemo" in Margareten is an Eldorado for wine lovers. From conventional to natural, from Australia to Weinviertel, from still to sparkling - Robert Brandhofer's selection is unique. He has been running the cosy restaurant since 2006 and provides oenological highlights - the homemade pasta is also legendary! Over ten years later, together with his partner Markus Gould, he opened "Heunisch & Erben" in Vienna's Landstraße, one of the first Viennese wine bistros of the new generation.

With a gigantic selection and lots of expertise also impressive is the "Wine bar at Palais Coburg". From the restaurant's award-winning wine list, which actually resembles a wine bible, you can also choose from no less than 60,000 positions from Austria and around the world - accompanied by a fine selection of wines by the glass. Last but not least, the outstanding snacks from celebrity chef Silvio Nickol 's kitchen and the exclusive ambience are also very appealing.

Classics and newcomers

The "Wein & Co Bar" on Stephansplatz is much more casual - it aims to be a meeting place for everyone. The wine selection here is also pleasing - from uncomplicated everyday wines to top-quality wines from the rarities cellar, all quite fairly priced. The kitchen also offers a wide range of dishes, from classic charcuterie to pasta, steak and Wiener schnitzel. Since the renovation a few years ago, the look has also been modern - bright red and ultra-cool.

In recent years, an increasing number of small, smart wine bars have been established that also appeal to a young clientele. Their trademark: wines away from the expected - with a preference for natural wines, mostly organic, accompanied by a casual, not too groomed ambience and, of course, loud music. One of the nicest restaurants of this type can be found on Wieden: "Alma" sees itself as a gastrotheque, serving whatever is fun - a colourful mix of Alpine and maritime. Christina Nasr cooks what the season has to offer, preferably "from farm to table" and with the greatest possible freedom of taste - and Andreas Schwarz provides unusual oenological experiences - the wines come from the natural wine trade "Weinskandal".

Its owner, Moritz Herzog, in turn opened a wine bar himself in the hip new building in spring 2022. Here you can drink what you can't get almost anywhere else: rare natural wines off the beaten track - wild, bold and exciting. This is accompanied by a few small snacks such as the already cult potato pancakes or Italian "autogrill" toasts. The interior is just as unironed as the wines - a place for free spirits.

Also in the 7th district and no less hip, the gently renovated "Café Bar Espresso" is probably one of the most charming locations in the district. Or the "Loup Garou" with its wonderfully creative small dishes accompanied by organic and natural wines.

The relatively new "Sip Song Bar" on Lerchenfelder Strasse is in a similar league - an even smaller offshoot of the already tiny Thai restaurant "Mamamon". Everything that is young and open-minded meets here in a very small space. Untamed wines are accompanied by delicious Thai snacks, which alone are worth a trip to Josefstadt. In culinary terms, this is only surpassed by the "Kikko Ba", a little sister of the "Mochi". Here you can enjoy Japanese-inspired street food of the usual high quality with a small, exciting selection of sake and wines.

When it comes to wine bars, Vienna is now in the same league as the world's hippest cities.

Christina Fieber
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