What’s cooler than a new underground bar in Austria? Accidentally discovering the stairway to a bordered-up semi-legal underground jazz club from Vienna’s jazzy 50s and 60s, and then restoring and reinventing it as new. Such was the case for Viennese studio Büro KLK with Krypt, a bar created from the bones of a former speakeasy discovered 12m underground during renovations of the 18th century heritage building above.
Pitched between the neo-Gothic church Votivkirche and Freud’s once-upon-a-time apartment in the Berggasse district, the 250-square-metre cocktail bar has retained its original air of mystery and secrecy, as well as its jazz-era energy. For Büro KLK, it was a job of awakening, rather than colouring over the rich history of the site.
Entry into the bar is via a narrow covert door, which leads on to a mirrored foyer and cloakroom. From here, a floating staircase travels downward through brickwork to the main bar – a 7m long feature piece made from a gigantic block of Sahara Noir Laurent marble. To revive the bar’s original mid-century aesthetic, brass and chocolatey timber feature throughout hidden booths and secret hallways.
The bar’s countertop is a hefty slab of European walnut, and a set of six of Knoll’s iconic 1966 Platner Armchairs in berry velvet stand at one end. There’s also three pieces of the Sofa DS-1025 by Ubald Klug in rich, velvety brown leather. Layered over the top are more modern elements: the LED Candel Light by Ingo Maurer, and limited edition bean-bag chairs by Alexander Wang for Poltrona Frau.
Several alcoves are tucked away behind curtains, as is a second bar and mini-art gallery (supposedly the smallest exhibition space in the city). Ventilation pipes are clad in composite gold and run the length of the ceiling, and concrete floors are layered over with midnight coloured Nero Marquina marble in a herringbone pattern. It’s a surreal, enchanted revival, one that will surely stir the ghosts of local crooners of the past, like Joe Zawinul and Fatty George.