10 of the absolute best grungy dive bars in Vienna

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10 of the absolute best grungy dive bars in Vienna

Nobody knows how they come to be, but a city’s dive bars play the role of a second home for its inhabitants who just don’t wanna be at home, but want to be amongst a crowd and an atmosphere that understands them. Vienna has numerous bars that tick all of the features that make a dive bar – an interior decorator has never touched the place, but rather the dive bar look of the place just kinda… happened.

The booze is cheap, the lights are dim, and the bar staff have a knack for making you feel like a regular, even if it’s your first time. Here are 10 of Vienna’s best dive bars that are packed with character and grungy, gritty charm:

© The Look Bar | Website

© The Look Bar | Website

The Look Bar – Vienna’s grungy dive bars

MON–SAT: 8pm–4am
SUN: closed


cash only

Grungy factor: This huge two-level bar is known amongst students for pre-drinking as it offers quite cheap drinks. Usually the place is very crowded with a lot going on. Also, it’s super easy to catch a conversation with strangers, so don’t be worried about going by yourself.

You will find yourself in a quite random atmosphere as the interior seems cobbled together, but that’s exactly what gives this place its odd character.

Good for… Meeting new people, having a conversation with a stranger, having a couple of drinks and not being broke after.

© Café Anno

© Café Anno

© Café Anno

© Café Anno

Cafe Anno – Vienna’s grungy dive bars

Grungy factor: From the street, it looks like a jungle’s inside, with plants crowding the windows. Inside, it looks like a character that has lived some kind of rock and roll, or writer life a thousand times, with plenty of booze and drugs.

The black and white striped bar reminds us of the tail from the dope-smoking cat in Alice in Wonderland. The stools at the bar are wobbly and on the verge of collapsing. One could say the same about the characters sitting on them.

It ticks all the dive bar boxes – the menu is simple – beer, wine and a few spirits, and it has a Foosball table. And thanks to the bar staff, it has that familiar feeling of home that can only be created by having the right people behind the bar.

Good for… Drinks with friends through the week, catching the irregular reading happening in the back.

© Chelsea

Chelsea – Vienna’s grungy dive bars

Grungy Factor: The Chelsea puts the ‘wild’ into your ‘wild nights at the Gürtel’! It’s located under the rails of the U6, and even though it’s on the same level as the street, the further you go into the Chelsea, the more it feels like you are deeper underground. The bathroom walls are covered in thousands of stickers, (which you can scan in order to distract yourself from your grungy toilet thoughts), that make you wonder whether it’s possible catching STIs from the toilets you’re sitting on.

The later it gets, the more bizarre the scenery seems to get. But all the grungy factors of the Chelsea add to the care-free atmosphere that’s going on in there. You could show up in your pyjamas and nobody would give a damn, because everyone is just here to have a good time.

But don’t be mistaken that the Chelsea is just a simple bar. It’s also a concert venue, and regularly turns into a sports barstreaming football matches.

Good for… Dancing shamelessly, concerts, going out without feeling obligated to spend hours on your appearance, having a wild night out, being surrounded by chilled people, learning to say ‘please’ and ‘thank you’ to the barkeeper (or else she will yell at you)

© Schikaneder | Website

Schikaneder – Vienna’s grungy dive bars

MON–WED: 5pm–1am
THU: 5pm–2am
FRI & SAT: 5pm–4am
SUN: 5pm–12am


Grungy factor: Even though it’s prettied itself up with a bit of a makeover in recent years, it’s still managed to maintain its grungy, come as you are vibe. The legendary Schikaneder. It’s your winter residence if you’re a fan of grit and honest places that are made for people that like to feel that they belong in the bars that they hang out in.

Dusty couches and high stools make up the sitting arrangement, while the best seats in the house are in the window enclave at the front. If you score this spot, you’ll be envied by the whole pub.

Oh yeah, and the toilets are a sight to be seen – years (and layers) of stickers and graffiti have made it into, somehow, a piece of urban art.

Good for… Nights out when feeling lonely, snuggling up to the stranger next to you on the super comfy 4-meter long couch in the cinema and crying in their arms, catching a film and a drink with friends, nights out when you want to passionately rip apart a political discussion and solve the world’s problems

© Arena

© Arena

© Arena

Arena – Vienna’s grungy dive bars

varying, check their program


Grungy factor: If you don’t know the Arena, you haven’t been partying enough in Vienna. This event venue / bar lived its former life as a slaughter house. Today, having been taken over by a group of punks many years back, it’s got an awesome summer concert stage, a couple of indoor concert spaces, and a dive bar of a beisl attached.

You will meet all kinds of characters, here. In the so-called Arena Beisl, there’s a Foosball table and a whole lot of character. Their Facebook page reads, ‘love music, hate racism,’ so you can guess the theme of this place. The music acts that pass through here are top grade. This is like a grungy playground for leather jacket wearing, free-thinking people that live life differently.

Good for… Concerts, a go-to place that you always know will be open, meeting characters that are well worth a conversation

© Dick Macks | Website

© Vienna Würstelstand

© Vienna Würstelstand

Dick Macks – Vienna’s grungy dive bars

Grungy factor: This Irish Pub in Vienna’s city center gives you a gritty grungy vibe. Dim lights, loud music, a huge international crowd and drinks which are comparably cheap define this place.

With 660m², Dick Macks is by far one of the bigger bars Vienna has to offer. The winding wooden corridors and mysterious vibes characterise this place. You also have the option to play pool and table football or to watch sports on TV.

Good for… Grabbing a beer with friends, getting to know new people, catching international vibes, having conversations in English or other languages and playing pool and/or table football.

© Flex

Flex – Vienna’s grungy dive bars

Grungy Factor: Situated on the canal amidst graffiti-ridden concrete walls, you’ll find the legend that is the Flex. With all the bright colours and flashy lights on its exterior, it might look like something you’d find at the Prater, but inside, it’s a whole different story. This is a unused U-Bahn tunnel turned into a club – now that’s what we call grungy! Black walls, a bunker-like atmosphere and an overall pretty run-down vibe…

It’s often rumoured to be a drug hotspot, which we (for legal reasons) can’t confirm, but what we can confirm is that it’s actually more than just another dirty club that makes you wanna sanitise your whole body when returning home. It’s especially famous for its wild techno and drum and bass nights, and it also regularly features different live music acts.

The Flex cafe upstairs is also a gloriously dive-y bar to hang out in any given night of the week.

Good for… A wild, trippy night out. Immerse yourself in the whole underground flair and see where you end up. Just stay safe and don’t do anything we wouldn’t do. Or do it anyway, it’s not like we can stop you.

@ Bukowski | Facebook

Bukowski The Pub – Vienna’s grungy dive bars

Grungy factor: Open late afternoon to late the next morning, Bukowski possesses all the stalwarts of a dive bar and is claimed as a local pub by many. If you know the writer it’s named after, Charles Bukowski, you’ll know what to expect here.

Let’s just say he was a big fan of dive bars, and this bar just of the seventh district’s Siebensterngasse does the cult figure poet justice. There are pictures of Bukowski on the wall, you can be pretty sure the bar will be sticky with old beer when you pull up a stall at it, and it’s got some quality bar staff that know how to make you feel at home. The booze is also at dive bar prices.

Good for… Drinks through the week with friends, meeting like-minded people…as in, people that love writing and writers like Bukowski

© Bricks | Facebook

© Bricks | Facebook

© Bricks | Facebook

© Bricks | Facebook

Bricks – Vienna’s grungy dive bars

MON–WED & SUN: closed
THU–FRI: 8pm–4am
SAT: 9pm–4am


Grungy factor: This bar is situated in a basement arch. Our guess is that it is called ‘Bricks’ because of its brick walls, but this is not a certified fact.

Its rough and rustic look, combined with a red light setting and random decor, offer quite a unique atmosphere. You can decide between 26 cocktails (yes, we counted them for you) and there’s a Happy Hour between 8pm and 10:10pm.

Good for… Having your white or yellow teeth glow in the dark because of the black light, dancing and going wild and having a cocktail or two or three

© The Church | Website

© The Church | Website

© The Church | Website

© The Church | Website

© The Church | Website

The Church – Vienna’s grungy dive bars

Grungy factor: This place’s interior design is based on elements from the Catholic Church. You will find colourful windows, a grey sky covered in clouds on the ceiling and a confessional decorating the wall. However, you couldn’t be further away from church at this place.

They describe themselves as a ‘church’ built by insanity and love which offers a midnight mass for all the lost souls in Vienna. It is a bar where everyone is welcome and wanted, and it aims to embrace different nationalities.

Play darts, table football, pool or simply come for mass… and by that we mean drinks, of course.

Good for… Gathering with friends, participating in an open mic session and making new international connections.

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