Loos American Bar
May 11, 2018
Officially just called the American Bar, this place should already be on the itinerary for anyone with an interest in architecture. Designed by Adolf Loos, a pioneer of modern architecture in Vienna and quite a controversial figure in his day, this small, atmospheric bar has been one of the city’s architectural centrepieces for more than a century. The interior is dark, but moodily rather than oppressively so. Mirrors have been used to create a greater sense of space and the 290 sq ft saloon gleams in the low-lighting. Its backlit walls are layered with onyx tiles while mahogany panels cover the bar counter and ceiling. Green and white marble squares turn the floor into a shining checkerboard. Though the bar doesn’t serve food, its drinks are superb. The skilled barmen can knock up a classic cocktail or several and the menu runs to six kinds of martinis, plus five kinds of Manhattans. Opened in 1908, Loos remains one of the most unusual and interesting bars in Vienna. Initially it was used as the drinking room of a private gentlemen’s club, but today it is open to all. Since Marianne Kohn took over its management in the mid-90s, a steady stream of tourists and a smart crowd of Viennese regulars and celebrities have crossed its threshold. Quentin Tarantino named a character in Kill Bill: Vol. 2 after one of the barmaids; and if imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, the recent opening of a bar in tribute in Manhattan tells you all you need to know.