After Dark: Loos-en Up!

At the most intimate bar in Vienna, patrons do more than mingle

To protect clientele, no cameras are allowed when the Loos Bar is open | Photo: Loos Bar

“Excuse me, pardon. Oh, Entschuldigung!” As I wade through the feet and bodies crammed into the tiny Loos American Bar just off Kärntnerstrasse, the guests I passed seem unperturbed by my massive bag which joined me for my after-work drink.

I was there with an Austrian fashion designer and a few of her friends, fleeing from the party where we had been listed at Passage. When faced with the prospect of spending the night underground with the bass pumping and a “whoop whoop” screaming crowd of high-school seniors at Passage, we opted out and went for the more sophisticated option.

After arriving and squeezing through to a table where three of us fit, I decided to cramp my belongings into a nook underneath the barstool and ordered a vodka tonic.

Tucked away underneath a red, white and blue mosaic sign, the “Loos Bar” – as many call it – envelops its guests in Adolf Loos’ art deco of 1908. Mellow jazz and classic cocktails just add to the swagger of the place. It feels like a private club but happily it isn’t.

As the barman set my drink down I went digging for my wallet in my barely accessible bag. “I’ll cover this,” the Armani clad woman next to me smiled. “I made a good deal today.” Very mysterious.

As the night progressed it began to get too cramped in this alcove of an establishment and I stepped out for some fresh air. Two men were standing outside speaking French and as we lit each other’s cigarettes I found out one was some sort of cultural attaché from Paris and the other was the ambassador of a French speaking country in Africa, which will remain nameless.

C’est incroyable!” he exclaimed. “I always meet interesting people here but never from the same milieu … you know milieu?” I did.

A suited gentleman sidled over; hearing the French, he was curious. It turned out that he didn’t speak French and was a Greek banker living in Germany.

“That must be exhausting,” the attaché commented. “Do they really think they can trust a Greek?” The group burst into laughter.

My ice cubes were getting dry, so I nudged my way back past the marble entrance and promptly stepped on someone’s toe.

“Not the first time tonight,” the handsome man said in a German accent. “I’m Andreas.”

I went to shake his hand but the closeness almost made it impolite not to give kisses. “I thought I have to give Bussis in Vienna, or does that not apply to Germans?” So, Bussis it was.

When the bartender brought us another round I finally realized who he was. This was the notorious Andreas Türk. A very successful moderator and TV host, who had to leave television after being accused of rape. The charges were dropped but his reputation never recovered.

All of a sudden it dawned on me that the Loos bar may be the only place for people like him to get a break from public scrutiny. Every-body meets everybody in here, the ambassador, the fashion designer, the attaché, an ex-TV star and little old me. As a guest here, who you are becomes secondary to how you are, and the sheer proximity keeps people convivial.

 

Loos American Bar
Thu.–Sat., 12:00–05:00
Sun.–Wed., 12:00–04:00
1., Kärntner Durchgang 10
(01) 512 3283
www.loosbar.at

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