After Dark: On the Roof

Urban dwellers in search of a new ‘it’ place may quite likely find it in the Dachboden

On The Town | Sultan Abdulai | September 2011

Launching a new upscale hotel in the tourist haven that is Vienna is undoubtedly a daunting prospect. Still, my interest was piqued upon hearing about a new "25 Hours"  design hotel opening up next to the Volkstheater, promoting a rooftop bar with a magnificent view of the city. This was the fifth and newest branch of the swanky German hotel chain; after seducing Hamburg and Frankfurt with themes like "Denim" and "Retro"  in Vienna, a playful "Circus" theme followed, with the promise of a hot rooftop bar.

The hope of joining in on the Wednesday night Salon Hermes was certainly a lure, as was the rumour that the FM4 star DJ "Herr Hermes" himself was a regular at the Dachboden. Which helped explain the queue of 20- to 30-somethings waiting for the lift to the bar.

"It’s first-come-first-served, so don’t even bother," clarified the tuxedoed bouncer, raising an eyebrow at someone’s attempt to flatter their way in.

After a short 15-minute wait – that felt longer in the cramped space – I eagerly rode up. Bright smiles and nonchalance all around; smart suits and floral cocktail dresses spliced with casual jeans and T-shirts. I had come low-end in my turquoise shirt and ripped denims. Was I in the wrong place at the wrong time? No, I decided; here you can make your own "in" crowd.

Bright colours flowing into concrete, wrought iron and leather -- it was clear why the place was described as "an ostentatious, sexy and cheeky Spektakel." Dachboden is a fetish of 50s retro straight out of a Miro painting, with clusters of elliptical end tables and spidery lamps, tufted cushions and even a bean-bag chair, under walls covered in white-wash gray paneling, like a cottage at the Jersey shore.

But truth be told, it’s almost too casual, more weekend domestic than urban chic, like the pool house bar of a well-healed wine connoisseur.  The vivid décor – giant lettering like clip art, funky knick–knacks – helped, providing a stark contrast to the otherwise rustic look of the place. A good place to shoot an advert, I thought. People could forget about their open tabs here.

Incendiary Jazz tunes quickly lifted spirits, everything from Duke Ellington and Oscar Peterson along with some Swing-pop and the occasional Muddy Waters track. But when it comes to space, the main attraction – the terrace with the view – was pretty cramped. The indoor bar area, however, can fit 130 people: just about right to set off some fireworks.

A wide selection of wines and beers (€3–8), as well as slightly more expensive long drinks (€15), light snacks and even coffee and cake were on the menu. But before we could even place an order, staff members were already asking us to leave – it was 1:00 and the bar was closing.

Walking out into the charming little park in front of the hotel after the disappointment of such conservative opening hours (Is this a designer bar or a student dorm?), I remembered what the world looks like from down below.

And then I realized: Vienna’s flickering night-lights are far better from the top of a Dachboden.


Dachboden, 25 Hours Hotel Wien

7., Lerchenfelder straße 1-3

Reservations: Tel: (01) 521 51 0


Other articles from this issue