Techno Cafe lights up warm Tuesday nights

by Lindsay Crocket & Binu Starnegg


It’s Tuesday evening, and a warm breeze wafts through the terraced gardens of the Volksgarten Pavillon, a 1950s confection in pink, pistachio and cream that has become a fair-weather favorite of Vienna 30-somethings. Electronic music pulses rhythmically out over Heldenplatz nearby,  where a small group is doing yoga under the fire-orange sunset.

As the sky darkens, a neon pink glow takes over, as the music blends with the patter of the after-work drinkers outside, collars casually unbuttoned as they swap office gossip around vintage mid-century tables. A barbecue sizzles with Ribeye Steak, €18,20 or Bangkok Burger (“Thai” slaw & peanuts), €9,50, marinated asparagus or mixed nuts. It essentially yuppie fare at yuppie prices.

Inside the pavilion, younger guests interspersed with old-school veterans, both dressed in the all-black uniform of the dedicated night crawler, bob their heads to the beat, as if waiting for the right moment to take over.

This is Techno Cafe, a weekly fixture of the Vienna club scene for two decades. Though the club prides itself on welcoming all, snappy attire is encouraged. Unusual for a Tuesday, there is still a cover charge of €7; even more unusual, that does nothing to deter the crowds.

First held in January, 1996, Techno Cafe was launched by a group of electronica enthusiasts yearning for their own dance scene at Scheffel, a small club on Florianigasse. They succeeded beyond their wildest dreams, and moved on to larger premises at the Volksgarten, eventually turning it into a summer-only event to capitalize on the venue. Hosting both local and international DJ’s, it maintains a consistent vibe, while still offering some variety.

The main attraction, though, is the colorful, ever changing mix of people, up to 900 on a good night. Spread across the garden, between the dance floor and alongside the bar is a vibrant mix of social circles, ranging widely in age and profession. The limited table space encourages mingling, bridging the traditional ­Viennese reserve towards strangers for a relaxed evening.

pavillon-indoor-005The Beat Generation
In tune with the genre, Techno Cafe has moved steadily into the mainstream. No longer about pounding speakers and illicit substances, well-dressed attendees now sip Aperol spritzers, chilling alongside the beats.

That is, until around midnight. Like Cinderellas in blue oxford shirts, the after-work crowd dissipates toward the last U-Bahn in the hopes of making it to the office undamaged in the morning, and leaving the floor to a mostly younger crowd – except those who’ve clearly been around since opening night. Soon the tiny premises are bursting with dancers, making it feel like Friday.

Techno Cafe continues every Tuesday through the middle of September, a prime locale for a congenial after work drink or an occasion to dress up and dance till dawn. Summer in the city doesn’t get better than this.

Techno Cafe

Tuesdays, 18:00
Volksgarten Pavillon