Vienna is most famous for being a powerhouse for classical music, with the city’s State Opera House being its most acclaimed venue. However, if opera doesn’t tickle your fancy, there is also a small yet buzzing indie music scene sizzling beneath the surface, with a string of venues along the city’s Gürtel.
The stretch along the Gürtel, Vienna’s ring road that wraps around the city, is full of music venues, nightclubs and bars. B72 is one of the best for catching up-and-coming acts. A classic indie venue, with a buzzing bar at one end and a modest stage at the other, the acts range from smaller local acts to well-established international bands. Regular nights include ‘Going Underground’, a Friday night event, with DJs playing indie one-hit wonders and classic hits, and ‘Alternative Saturday Night’, a free indie pop night.
Hernalser Gürtel 72-73, 1080 Wien, +43 (0)1 4092128
Another iconic venue located beneath the U6 U-Bahn arches. As well as being a hotbed for emerging electronic music talent, Rhiz also sees a variety of indie rock bands on its stage. Concerts take place weekly, and the programme is always a diverse mix of genres. Another plus is that entry on weekends is often free.
U-Bahnbogen 37, 1080 Wien, +43 (0)1 4092505
Now a well-established nightclub on the Gürtel, the venue started life in the basement of a dwelling house in the 8th district back in the 1980s, where it became a hotspot for British bands, as well as local DJs. It is still going strong today, hosting weekly music nights, with acts ranging from Austrian indie bands to international acts. The interior is low-lit and rough around the edges, with exposed brick walls and arched ceilings.
U-Bahnbögen 29-30, 1080 Wien, +43 (0)1 4079309
Flex is known as one of Vienna’s most well-established clubs, located in a disused metro tunnel by the Donau Canal. The programme is colourful and varying, with countless techno acts to catch as well as some indie rock nights.
Augartenbrücke 1, 1010 Wien, +43 (0)1 5337525
Fluc und Fluc Wanne
Primarily a gallery specialising in art inspired by the German Fluxus movement, Fluc is also one of the best places in Vienna to discover new musical acts. With a particular focus on homegrown bands, avant-garde artists and American indie bands, this long-established club is a pivotal driving force of the city’s music scene. The concerts upstairs are usually priced at €5-€15, and the fee to access downstairs is minimal.
Praterstern 5, 1020 Wien, +43 (0)1 2182824
This is one of the city’s best venues for catching larger acts, with a seating capacity of around 16,000. The Wiener Stadthalle has witnessed many famous acts in the past, and in 2015, following Conchita Wurst’s win the year before, it was the hosting venue for the Eurovision Song Contest. It is one of the best cultural venues that you’ll find outside the Gürtel, and the finest for atmospheric concerts.
Roland-Rainer-Platz 1, 1150 Wien, +43 (0)1 981000
A hugely popular venue to catch live acts, and especially renowned for its spectacular sound system and promoting local musicians. The outdoor area, open in the summer months, is a fantastic place for pre- and post-gig chats over beers. Check their website for details on upcoming events, concerts and festivals.
Hauffgasse 26, 1110 Wien, +43 (0)1 332464125
Once described by Leonard Cohen as ‘the best place in Vienna’, this industrial-style venue in Erdberg is a favourite with the city’s music lovers. Its larger stage has accommodated the likes of the Arctic Monkeys, Sonic Youth and the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, making it a well-established fixture of Vienna’s subculture scene. Throughout the summertime, Arena hosts outdoor screenings and performances, boasting a 400m2 lawn area in the courtyard.
Baumgasse 80 1030 Wien, +43 (0)1 798 85 95