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

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By Jennifer Baum Lagdameo
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. 

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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.

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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. 

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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. 

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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.

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

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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. 

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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

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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