An Underground Speakeasy in Vienna Is Turned Into a Chic Cocktail Lounge

During the renovation of a heritage building from the late-18th century in Vienna, a former speakeasy is uncovered and transformed into an incredible subterranean cocktail bar.

Located just off Vienna's Berggasse between the neo-Gothic church Votivkirche and Sigmund Freud's former apartment, Krypt Bar has a history that's as rich as its mysterious setting. 

The former speakeasy was unearthed after a bricked-up staircase was discovered 39 feet underground in the middle of a renovation project. Historical investigations concluded that the underground basement had served as a semi-legal drinking establishment during the 1950s and 1960s when Vienna’s jazz scene flourished. The space had been a popular venue for local jazz legends such as Joe Zawinul and Fatty George.

Commissioned by their client to bring the subterranean space back to life, Viennese architecture firm Büro KLK set off to transform the former speakeasy into a contemporary underground cocktail bar. 

The drama of the space starts with a discrete entrance that leads to the upper basement level. An elegant floating staircase then leads directly down to the main bar. 

The base of the bar was cut from a massive block of Sahara Noir Laurent marble with gold veins applied in a mirrored pattern and paired with a countertop crafted from European walnut.

There are several alcoves tucked behind curtains, including a hidden booth and a bar that boasts the smallest art gallery in Vienna. 

Gold-clad ventilation pipes run the length of the ceiling, and the floors are covered with Italian Nero-Marquina marble, which was manually laid-out in a herringbone pattern. 

Decor highlights include Platner armchairs by Knoll, a Flying Flames flexible chandelier system by Ingo Maurer,  a midcentury Sofa Modul De Sede DS 1025 by Ubald Klug, and limited edition bean bag chairs by Alexander Wang for Poltrona Frau

Project Credits 

-Client: K 5 Beteiligungs GmbH Architecture 

-Interior Design: BÜRO KLK x BFA Architects 

-BÜRO KLK x BFA Team: Jonathan Lutter, Christian Knapp, Fabian Lutter, Jürgen DePaul 

-Site Supervision: cetus Baudevelopment GmbH & Oliver Gusella 

-Structural Engineering: Fröhlich & Locher 

-Photography: David Schreyer



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