Speakeasy Krypt Won’t Stay Secret for Long

The Krypt updates the speakeasy with award-winning décor and drinks.

Little do we think about the space beneath our feet; our cities are full of vastly underutilized underground spaces with heaps of potential.

Hidden in the 9th District’s Wasa alley between Sigmund Freud’s former practice and the Votivkirche, the recently opened cocktail bar Krypt shows just how much can be done with a vast 250 m2 vault, seeking to re-create the experience of semi-legal drinking, updated for modern tastes.

Rediscovered during renovations on an 18th Century heritage building, this 200-year-old forgotten cellar was found hidden beneath a bricked-up staircase and was presumably an underground jazz dive in the 1950s. Like a proper speakeasy, you gain entry via an unmarked door where you’ll press a white doorbell and await admittance.

Rest assured though that their entry policy is quite inclusive – the Krypt welcomes anyone wishing to experience its relaxed, international atmosphere and casual, yet delectable, selection – first come, first served.

Once through the first hurdle, Krypt’s sense of secrecy continues: Leave your jacket with the tight-lipped cloakroom attendant and you’ll be ushered toward another heavy door, leading you 8 meters down a dramatic, illuminated wooden staircase to the main fl.

Visually stunning, it’s immediately apparent why the Krypt won the 2017 American Architecture Prize for its designers, the Viennese architecture firm Büro KLK: impressive stone arches create several alcoves surrounding a floor tiled with Nero Marquina marble set in a herringbone design.

The bar is also marble, a huge single block of Sahara Noir Laurent, lit by candles suspended by wires from the ceiling. A luxurious-yet-informal atmosphere is cultivated, with lounge areas concealed behind curtained alcoves furnished with Knoll Platner leather armchairs; they even have “the smallest art gallery in Vienna” tucked in a corner. It truly is an elegant aesthetic gem.

Cryptic Mixology

While the interior may be impressive, the chilled-out vibe puts you at ease. Once you’ve settled in, you’ll be presented with a sleek black and gold menu with a short-but-sweet selection of the Krypt’s concoctions.

Featuring a mere 14 drinks, each cocktail showcases novel flavors, such as the intriguing Matcha Hari: a rum-based mix of hip ingredients such as wasabi, matcha, chocolate bitters and Hakuma (a matcha-based chaser). If you’re into bold aromas, try the Smokey Pear: Talisker single malt with cinnamon & cassia bark and a fragrance of Williams pear. Of course, these exquisite combinations take time to assemble, but the Krypt team is as hospitable as it is on-trend, offering aperitifs on the house to whet your whistle.

Committed to their speakeasy ambiance, the bartenders are courteous but discrete; don’t expect any secrets or gossip. When asked about life underground, a spirited mixologist (who wished to remain unnamed) said with a wink that “the only thing I’ll tell you is that Krypt has the least arrogant bartenders in Vienna.” But you’ll have to decide that for yourself.

Krypt has some tough local competition in Vienna’s 9th, including the Botanical Garden, The Sign Lounge and OMU, to name a few. But its impeccable cosmopolitan design and laid-back atmosphere are an experience in their own right; both a blast from the past and eminently contemporary, the Krypt won’t remain secret for long.

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