Top-Notch Bars in Innsbruck – My Favourite Pubs

18.06.2018ChristinaChristina
Innsbruck, 360Grad Bar

If you’re making a day trip or weekend getaway to Tirol’s capital, you’ll want to be sure to sample the Innsbruck nightlife as well. Whether you’re up for a night out with friends and live music or a solo trip for a cocktail and some reading — you’re bound to find a place that suits your mood with the favourites I have compiled here.

GANG & GEBE – Explore, Share, Enjoy on Leopoldstraße Street

Photo Credit: Charly Schwarz

In this hip and stylish restaurant, the menu has something for every palate, and the drink selection isn’t your usual cocktail experience. Grab a seat at the long and inviting counter that runs through the whole space. The cocktails, lovely to drink on their own, are made better with the food, which is designed to match what you’re drinking. This is a welcome change from the ubiquitous pub standard! The Japan-inspired “Sohei” cocktail, for example, is a must-try on the drinks menu, paired with smoked salmon, sesame seeds and homemade Unagi sauce. The tables by the window are great for keeping your eye on the crowd outdoors.

Smoking: No
Outdoor Seating: On the sidewalk in front of the restaurant and in the beer garden under a chestnut tree in the backyard.
Food: Yes, “Tyrolean Tapas”
Must-Try Drinks: A tangy and bitter “Gegroni”, made of three different types of vermouth (basil, cherry, truffle), homemade bitters and gin of your choice, which is paired with blue cheese, oxidized Frangelico liqueur and mustard caviar. Or, try a sweet “Espresso Martini” with vanilla-infused vodka, cardamom and filter coffee, paired with a white chocolate lime mousse.
Non-Alcoholic Option: “Pu Erh Brick Tea”, an aged and ripened mountain tea in limited edition, processed into compressed bricks. This special tea has long been valued in Chinese herbalism for its vast health benefits.
Why? Because the bar snacks are an irresistible must.

KATER NOSTER – For that Urban Touch… on Leopoldstraße Street

Photo Credit: Charly Schwarz

It’s no wonder that the Kater Noster is so welcoming – with its mismatched retro couches, stools and chairs everyone will find his or her favourite seat here. People come for the laid-back vibe and for the atmosphere – this simply is a great place to chat into a long, unwinding evening and to enjoy a cold beer or a stunning drink from their unusual cocktail menu. At night, the Kater Noster and the adjoining basement bar have often live music.

Smoking: No
Outdoor Seating: On the sidewalk in front of the bar
Food: Soups & stews, cakes
Must-Try Drink: “Gin & Tonic”. With over 30 different types of gin, you will enjoy a very special custom-made Gin Tonic service here. The bartender’s choice is the “Star” Gin & Tonic, with “Star of Bombay” gin, lemon grass, pink grapefruit, tonic and pepper.
Non-Alcoholic Option: Vanilla-Cinnamon Iced Coffee (with just the right amount of sweetness, perfect for whiling away an evening outdoors!).
Why? Because this sophisticated place gives you the full package of great cocktails and an amazingly urban ambience off the beaten tracks.

STAGE BAR – The New Place to Be… on Maria-Theresien-Street

Photo Credit: © www.guentheregger.at

This is not a place you’ll likely stumble across, yet this stylish hideaway is worth the extra effort to seek out! Hidden away down a narrow hallway off busy Maria-Theresien-Street, you will find the brand-new “Stage 12 Hotel by Penz”. Its contemporary ground floor interiors feature the all-new “Stage Bar”, which was erected on the former site of popular Breinössl Stage. Cozy up in the comfy chairs and small tables in front of floor to ceiling windows or head to the bar and sit and watch talented mixologists at work. Top marks for the attentive staff, bringing plenty of water and bowl after bowl of popcorn – both essential after a few here.

Smoking: No
Outdoor Seating: Wonderful beer garden in the inner courtyard and on Maria-Theresien-Street
Food: No
Must-Try Drink: “Herbal Highball” (Beefeater Dry Gin, ginger, lemon grass, lavender vinegar, Schweppes Ginger Ale)
Non-Alcoholic Option: Eizbach Crystal Coke (transparent coke from Germany’s Munich)
Why? Because this place is doing more creatively to push bartending forward than any bar that’s opened up in a while in Innsbruck.

DIE PIZZEREI – Molto Italiano… on Bozner Platz Square

Photo Credit: Jan Hetfleisch

Sipping a cocktail in a Pizzeria? Yes, if it’s the “Pizzerei” we are talking about. It’s a stylish and hip place with a good dose of Italy. So if you’re feeling more in the mood just to sit back and sip something slowly, you’ve come to the right place. There’s real talent here. Specialising in finest Italian food and drink, this is an excellent spot for a pre- or post-dinner tipple, served with plenty of bar food to indulge in, such as homemade Tramezzini, Piadine romagnole and Olive ascolane. Or, go all out and order from the bar what is widely considered the best pizza in town. Or whichever Italian specialty you’re craving for.

Smoking: No
Outdoor Seating: Yes, but only for dining as space is limited; table bookings essential.
Food: Yes
Must-Try Drink: “Americano”, custom-made to your preferences
Non-Alcoholic Option: I asked the friendly bartender for a non-alcoholic drink that tastes not like your ordinary juice – I told him what I like, and he brought something new that was “so me” – a “Gin bitter” without gin but ginger instead. I couldn’t believe it was non-alcoholic but it definitely was. The bartenders know their stuff and bring their A-game to any challenge!
Why? Because I love to pair my “Aperitivo Lungo” with pizza.

TRIBAUN – For Hopheads and Malt Mavens… on Museumstraße Street

Photo Credit: Tribaun

Steep stairs sweep down into this basement bar, which has become an underground haven for the serious beer fan. Vintage seating and furniture and 1950 chairs set the tone. Pride of place is given to the counter, which boasts an array of unfailingly interesting tap lines. Dedicated to craft beer enthusiasts, the Tribaun is not your ordinary brewery pub – it’s a place where you’ll find selected beers from small-batch artisan breweries on tap and in bottles.
So many different beers! The choice is almost overwhelming but don’t worry. Simply ask the friendly staff for recommendations and you’ll be presented with something magic. I tried a few different drops of the hoppy stuff before I ended up with a beer that was “so me” – delicious and somehow special. For some reason, drinking beer seems to be quite a male affair. After all it was like that on the evening I visited. Although I would strongly recommend to visit the Tribaun to the ladies, too. Who needs Prosecco if you can sample creative, daring and delicious brews. Cheers!

Smoking: Yes Non-Smoking Area: Yes
Outdoor Seating: Yes
Food: Nachos, tarte flambée, pizza on select days
After Work Special: They have often live music – make sure to check their Facebook page for details!
Must-Try Drinks: Blond Funky Wheat, which is low in alcohol (3.75% ABV) and intentionally tart, yet delicious. Or a “Bierol” from a microbrewery in Schwoich, Tirol (5.6% ABV).
Non-Alcoholic Options: “Fenitmas”, Curiosity Coke
Why? Because things have got better for the hopheads and the malt mavens in Innsbruck since the opening of the Tribaun – and the location is pretty cool.

PANINOTHEK – Pane & Vino… on Bozner Platz Square

Photo Credit: Jürgen Eheim

Contrary to the brooding mystery of many cocktail bars, Paninothek is friendly, welcoming, chic and stylish. Put it this way: excellent. This is a revolving-door of a place and there are many things this neat spot does very well: Love it in the morning for the espressos, with or without breakfast, enjoy Italian specialties for lunch and swing by in the evening, when Paninothek is one of Innsbruck’s finest wine bars. Their extensive wine list is almost overwhelming, yet the charming staff are both well informed and passionate about what to have. And if you’re here to drink the classic ‘aperos’, aperitifs that is, they have everything from Americano over Prosecco to Aperol Spritz. On Wednesdays during “Apero Wednesday”, it’s a party bar, and live acts or DJs spin music to match: you’re here for a good time.
Paninothek is a cafe by day, a wine bar by night, and an exquisite Italian bread shop all day long.

Smoking: No
Outdoor Seating: Yes
Food: Panini, Focaccia, and more terrifically good Italian specialties
After Work Special: “Apero Wednesday”, Wednesdays at 5:00pm
Must-Try Drink: I strongly recommend their iconic “Negroni” (gin, vermouth and Campari)
Why? Because this beautiful and loveable place adds a touch of Italian glamour to any evening.

HUTMACHER’S – Visit Wonderland… on Innrain Street

Photo Credit: Hutmacher’s

This handsome little bar is named after ‘The Hatter’ from the book “Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland”. Come here for extravagance and wonderland design, this stylish place intends to wow. It is adorned with artworks and lavish decorations and furnishings throughout. Particularly eye-catching is the “White Rabbit” airbrush mural and the cozy bar stools are definitely fit for a king (or for the Queen of Hearts). Thanks to the interesting concoctions created by bar owner Patrick, Hutmacher’s has become something of a point of pilgrimage for the cocktail cognoscenti, and deservedly so.

Smoking: Yes Non-Smoking Area: No
Outdoor Seating: No
Food: Snacks
Must-Try Drink: Barrel-aged Negroni with hop from Tirol
Non-Alcoholic Option: Apple juice with maple and thyme
Why? Because I have always wanted to visit Wonderland.

DIE WÄSCHEREI – Billiards, Bar & More… on  Karmelitergasse Lane

Photo Credit: Tom Bause

A friendly, warm and welcoming place. With its informal and relaxed vibe, this is a place where everyone feels at home. Men especially like the area right from the entrance, where the spacious billiards room is located. Plus, there is much more going on between the covers here, including an eclectic mix of table soccer, darts, board games and poker. The actual bar is situated on the left hand side, with a huge bar counter and intimate and private corners to sit and dine. The food is great and definitely well worth trying. Die Wäscherei’s best feature is the rooftop terrace with lounge seating overlooking rugged and lofty Nordkette Mountain Range.

Smoking: Yes Non-Smoking Area: Yes
Outdoor Seating: The rooftop terrace features some of the best panoramic views of Nordkette Mountain Range
Food: Excellent dishes, including satisfying bar food such as tacos
After Work Special: Ladies night with free pool every Tuesday 6:00pm
Must-Try Drink: “Americano” (Campari, Vermouth Rosso, soda water)
Non-Alcoholic Option: “Taxi Driver” (lemon, passion fruit juice, Ginger Ale, cucumber)
Why? Because it’s such a welcoming and relaxed place.

DER ERLKÖNIG – A Classy, Aesthetically Pleasing Bar… on Erlerstraße Street

Photo Credit: Der Erlkönig

Inspired by German poet and writer Johann Wolfgang von Goethe’s most famous ballad, the “Erlkönig” or “Erl King”, this architecturally-designed space lends a cool and chic vibe. With its iconic mural, this cavernous bar on Erlerstraße Street transports you to a mysterious location every time. Master mixologist Matthias Eder is at the helm of this unique and stylish drinking destination. When it comes to drinks, there is no bar in Tirol’s capital that matches the dedication to craft at Erlkönig. Grab a seat at the exquisite walnut wood bar counter, where you can keep your eye on the awe-inspiring display of barmanship at work. Or bag a seat at the back tables and sip a wonderful glass of wine.

Smoking: Yes Non-Smoking Area: No
Outdoor Seating: No
Food: No
Must-Try Drink: From England: “After Eight but still early” (After Eight infused Ketel One Vodka, mint, sugar, lemon, chocolate bitter)
Why? Because their cocktail menu will blow your mind and is guaranteed to leave you wanting more.

 

DIE WILDERIN – A Small Gem in the Old Town District… on Seilergasse Lane

Photo Credit: Die Wilderin/Simon Rainer

With its gorgeous, eclectic and vintage décor, you’ll be in for a treat at this restaurant and bar. And with its decorative delights in the form of chandeliers, drinking here is a little like being aboard the Titanic, albeit without the sinking feeling. The charming bar provides a range of unusual cocktails – whatever your preference, there’s bound to be something that will quench your thirst. Dishes are available in small and large plates so you can decide on just how you want to eat. Their vibrant and fresh menu changes weekly and makes the most of seasonal and locally sourced produce—they know all their meat suppliers and the names of the animals.

Smoking: No
Outdoor Seating: No
Food: Yes
Must-Try Drink: ‘There comes a time in every woman’s life when the only thing that helps is a glass of champagne.’ This Bette Davis quote is cited on the the Wilderin Website. To help you get through in less dramatic moments of your life, “Wilderin” offers a wonderful “Crémant Princess Lea”, which bubbles and tastes like champagne at a fraction of the cost.
Non-Alcoholic Option: Spicy Ginger
Why? Because this beautiful place is filled with fun, food and most importantly cocktails.

CAFÉ GALERIE – Everything You Want It To Be… on Pfarrgasse Lane, next to Innsbruck Cathedral

Photo Credit: Café Galerie

Although its name suggests, this place is not a Gallery. Yet there is a lot to see at Café Galerie, as owner German has packed it to the rafters with weird and wonderful oddities. Expect vintage sofas, mismatched wooden chairs, board game tables and unique decorations. My personal favourites for unique 1970ies design and comfort are the two Egg Chairs. Whether you’re up for a night out with friends and live music or a solo trip for a cocktail and some reading, you will find what you’re looking for—a wall in the non-smoking area is lined with shelves of hand-selected books. Plus, of course, crafty cocktails reign supreme.

Smoking: Yes Non-Smoking Area: Yes
Outdoor Seating: Yes
Food: Snacks and bar food to indulge in, nibbles served with drinks.
After Work Special: There is plenty going on here, including Ladies’ Nights with free prosecco. Be sure to check out the live music and events on their Facebook page.
Must-Try Drinks: Moscow Mule. And with over 25 types of gin to choose from, including rarities like “Gin without a name” from East Tirol, or a “Tirol Beer” from a local brewery you can explore the menu to your tastes with no two drinks being the same.
Non-Alcoholic Option: Just ask for the non-alcoholic Lillet – tastes and looks just like the original! Or opt for the all-natural “Tirola Kola”, which tastes great (available as a light option, too).
Why? Because this loveable bar is really worth visiting!

SELLE’S WOHNZIMMER – Feels like Home… on Fürstenweg Street

Photo Credit: Selle’s Wohnzimmer

“Selle’s Wohnzimmer” translates to “Selle’s Living Room”. And that’s just what it is. Its playful and quirky interiors feature plush vintage couches and armchairs, mismatched chairs and tables and plenty of decorations from Tirol and around the world. It’s easy to feel truly at home at this warm, inviting and welcoming place. There are a range of classic cocktails available, along with a good selection of more innovative signature drinks. With the sort of relaxed, informal vibe that you might expect from a bar with this moniker, it has quickly become a favourite haunt for locals.

Smoking: No
Outdoor Seating: Yes
Food: No
Must-Try Drink:
“Rocco Siffredi”, their variant of a classic “Porn Star Martini” (Ketel One Vodka, Habanero Vodka, vanilla liquor, lemon juice, passion fruit syrup, fresh egg white and freshly grated parmesan cheese for that special “living room” touch).
Non-Alcoholic Option: Homemade iced tea
Why? Because there’s no place like “home”.

DAS SCHINDLERS – Stylish at the Heart of Town… on Maria-Theresien-Street

Photo Credit: Das Schindler

Located in the heart of Innsbruck sits a gleaming jewel with a chic vibe: With its sophisticated ambience and friendly bar staff, the bar at Das Schindler is perfect for after work cocktails to unwind and destress from the day you’ve just had. Finest house tunes are spun by local DJs like “The Waz Experience” on Fridays and Saturdays. Luckily, with good drinks come good people, and it’s a happy place.

Smoking: Yes Non-Smoking Area: Yes
Outdoor Seating: No
Food: You can order from the adjoining restaurant and have it delivered to the bar.
After Work Special: DJs playing Friday & Saturday nights
Must-Try Drink: A glass of wine, e. g. a Sauvignon Blanc from Burgenland, Austria, Schindler Selection
Non-Alcoholic Option: “Virgin Schindler” Cocktail (lychee juice, lime juice, coconut syrup, passion fruit juice)
Why? Because it’s such a happy place.

Adler’s BarTakes Drinking to New Heights… on Bruneckerstraße Street

Adler’s Bar is in Innsbruck’s highest spot to drink. At 12 floors up, it offers a dazzling panorama of Tirol’s capital. Every seat in the restaurant and bar is given an unobstructed view of Innsbruck and its surrounding mountain ranges. During the warmer months, grab a seat on the ample outdoor patio where the vistas are even more jaw-dropping. It’s smart, with DJs playing many nights.

Smoking: No
Outdoor Seating: Oh, hello, views! The stylish outdoor patio affords a dazzling panorama of Innsbruck and its peak-ringed location.
Food: Amazing food is served in the adjoining restaurant
Must-Try Drink: “French Kiss” (rosé wine, grapefruit syrup, lime juice)
Non-Alcoholic Option: San Pellegrino Aranciata
Why? Because it’s worth coming for the view alone.

SOULKITCHEN – A Gem on the Outskirts of Town… on Egger-Lienz-Street

Photo Credit: hellweiss Kreativ

This place really is worth travelling to the outskirts of Innsbruck, which must be saying something. The view from the outdoor patio is limited to graffiti adorning the walls, however, everything else here does work very well. The contemporary environs come in adorable loft style design and there is space to stretch out and relax. There’s a huge bar counter left from the entrance with an interesting tap lineup (You guessed it! Innsbruck’s craft beer scene is hopping…). Their en vogue brews come from Raschhofer’s Rossbräu microbrewery. In the rear you will find the Barefoot Café, a spot that does breakfast damn good. Be sure to check out the live music and dance events on their Facebook page.

Smoking: No
Outdoor Seating: Yes, open until 10:00pm; patio heaters enable outdoor seating in the winter.
Food: They have plenty of delicious food from across the globe to indulge in. The wonderful burger with fries they had on the next table looked that tempting I could hardly resist…
Must-Try Drink: “Black Beauty” (porter, craft beer)
Don’t Miss: “Beer Wreath for Ladies”: 6 bottles of beer to sample (0.1 l); the same is available for men, with six 0.2 liter bottles
Non-Alcoholic Option: Stiegl “Freibier”
Why? Because this venue is perfect for after work cocktails and food.

MACHETE BURRITO KARTELL – The Home Away From Home… on Anichstraße Street

machete

Casual and unassuming, Machete is the place to go for affordable drinks and good fun. The walls, ceiling and tables are adorned and decorated with curiosities, unsubtle nonsense winking away, such as a vintage rotary dial telephone. Unsurprisingly, this special space has its regulars, so the crowd is always good. The vibe is laid-back, the staff is friendly and strangers become family after a drink or two.

Smoking: No
Outdoor Seating: Yes, there’s an outdoor deck facing Anichstraße Street
Food: Feast on mouth-watering burritos, prepared just the way you like them.
Must-Try Drink: “Bierol Going Hazelnut”, hyperlocal craft beer from Tirol
Non-Alcoholic Option: All-natural “Fritz Kola”
Why? Because their amazing burritos are guaranteed to leave you wanting more!

360 Grad Bar – Where the Views are Sky High… on Maria-Theresien-Street

Photo Credit: 360 Grad Bar

The truth of it is, you come for the view, but good God it’s a great view, and 360-degrees at that. Up 7 floors on the town hall, if you can think of an Innsbruck icon, you can probably see it. It’s a spectacular round glass building; it’s not a huge bar, but that somewhat adds to the sense of exclusivity. When the weather’s good, grab yourself a Latte Macchiato and get outside for some fresh air. It’s a chic and loveable place and their drinks are particularly good– so it doesn’t feel like they’re relying on the sights. The views are, naturally, sky high: Enjoy uninterrupted panoramic views above the rooftops of Innsbruck and scan the horizon, from Patscherkofel and Martinswand to Nordkette Range. For that special kick, watch airplanes on the most dramatic approach to any airport in Europe. Notably in Foehn conditions, this typical Innsbruck wind that blows in across Inntal Valley and creates turbulence… Non-smokers might be disturbed for the smoke if doors are closed, but that’s part of it. Luckily, I don’t mind.

Smoking: Yes Non-Smoking Area: No
Outdoor Seating: 360-degree balcony – spaces fill up quickly in fine weather, even on winter days!
Food: No
After Work Special: The views!!! And the sunset!!!
Must-Try Drink: A wonderful white wine spritzer is a simple no-frills classic, best enjoyed outdoors on a warm summer night!
Non-Alcoholic Option: A creamy Latte Macchiato
Why? Because it’s perfect for a few late night cocktails soaking up the view, which is really wonderful.

CAFÉ SAILER – Better than You’d Expect… on Fischerhäuslweg Street

Photo Credit: Café Sailer

Truth be told, this spot might not look like much from the exterior, but sit down for a drink and you’ll be won over by the contemporary interior design, particularly in the non-smoking area. Hidden behind an ordinary looking and unassuming 1970ies housefront, Café Sailer’s cocktail offerings are nothing less than accomplished; the varied menu is packed with updated classics and signature mixes. The clientele includes business people working on their laptops and the casual chatter of regular visitors. Opt for a seat on the outdoor patio if you can. You’ll be happy to linger over a delicious toast while soaking up some evening sun. By the way, this is the best toast in town, they say. And although Café Sailer is somewhat off the heart of town (it’s located towards the airport), it is a busy and happy place. There’s free parking for guests.

Smoking: Yes Non-Smoking Area: Yes
Outdoor Seating: Yes, they even have patio heaters!
Food: Their signature dish is toast; hot dishes served all day.
Must-Try Drink: “Campari Milano” (Prosecco, Campari, cranberry syrup, fresh mint leaves)
Non-Alcoholic Option: “Exotic Cocktail” (mango, pineapple, grapefruit, orange)
Why? Because they have no television and no Wifi internet access – which makes it a conversation-friendly and communal spot!

Christina

With passion for the detail—and with a twinkle in her eye, Christina Schwemberger takes you on a journey to meet amazing people, visit interesting places, and experience all that Tirol has to offer.

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