Brothel Turned Bar

Puff Bar on Girardigasse tempts with soft-sell chic

Puff bartender Fritz keeps patrons happy | Photos: Thomas Kamenar

Puff, a casual but modish locale on Girardigasse | Photo: Thomas Kamenar

As the world’s oldest profession moves steadily towards Vienna’s city limits, a few of the older downtown establishments have been converted to bars or venues, like Morrison Club off the Naschmarkt, or the Arena Bar on Margaretenstraße. Another former house of (not so) ill repute in Vienna’s 6th has followed suit and now caters to a choice but mixed crowd of young and not-so-young night revellers.

Above the heavy door is a sign with fat letters: “Puff”(German slang for brothel). Inside, the atmosphere is swarthy, almost space-age. Cocoon-like cylinders hang from the ceiling and intimate booths line one side of the wall. Fritz, the barkeeper, was glad to show off the back rooms – intimate “suites” equipped with mini-bars and hot-tubs, but apologized that these would no longer be available (licensing issues).

Puff bartender Fritz keeps patrons happy | Photos: Thomas Kamenar

Puff bartender Fritz keeps patrons happy | Photos: Thomas Kamenar

 

Low-key swag

The location draws a wonderfully diverse crowd. While earlier in the evening it serves as a warm-up spot for club goers, enjoying a gimlet from the puzzling machine at the bar (yes, a gimlet machine) or sipping highballs in one of the booths opposite the vast collection of bottles behind the ever-agile barmen, patrons also include low-key celebrities.

Despite ORF newsman Roman Rafreider’s unmistakable look, he seemed comfortably private with a group of friends at the bar, making conversation with the barmen and joking with other guests. While the atmosphere is modish and swanky, the scene includes the odd sequined-dress-cum-spike-heel floozy scoping out the solo meat on offer at the bar, but mostly you’ll also find neighborhood locals enjoying a peaceful sip alongside the nightlife carousers.

The music is good, familiar and upbeat, not the blaring top of the pops that make conversation so impossible in similar watering holes. The mood is deliciously low-key; Puff Bar doesn’t pretend to be exclusive, or even posh. The coat-check is unmanned and free. The cocktails start at €6.50 and prosecco, a drink that would empty your wallet in any other “house with red doors”, costs a mere €2.30 per glass. Even the beer is funky: A large Traunsteiner (a small brand from  Munich) is tapped into casual stemless wine glasses and at €3.90, you won’t go broke being “the most interesting (wo)man in the world”.

Puff,  a casual but modish locale on Girardigasse | Photo: Thomas Kamenar

Puff, a casual but modish locale on Girardigasse | Photo: Thomas Kamenar

But most definitive is the staff. With a quick joke and inspired repartee, they seem unfazed by stress. Not an empty glass in the house and still they have time to chat and check on any barstool loners: the profession as it should be.

Take your date, or a few friends pre-party and if you live in the neighborhood you might just want to make it your Stammlokal. And for what its worth, it’s all the fun of a Puff, without the guilt and STDs. ÷

 

Puff Bar

Mon –Thu., 16:00 – 2:00

Fri. & Sat., 16:00 – 4:00

6., Girardigasse 10

office@puff-bar.at

www.puff-bar.at

 

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