Strandbar Herrmann Review – this surreal Vienna institution is one of the best places in the city to enjoy a cold beer or two on a summer’s evening.
A beer in the hand and sand between your toes
In the city, the heat is oppressive. Yet the evening, in a deck chair under a beach umbrella, is cool. The beer in my hand is icy. All around me, hundreds of people are upending a beer or slurping a cocktail. Open water glistens nearby. What could be better than this?
The Strandbar Herrmann is a regular haunt of mine; is a unique spot in the centre of Vienna; and has charm. So here is a review.
Strandbar Herrmann – the Urania is the domed building in the background
7 great things about the Strandbar Herrmann
Seven great things about the Strandbar Herrmann:
1. It is close to town
Vienna has tons of outstanding beach bars next to the Danube, many of which I recommend, but which are a train- or bike-ride out of town. Herrmann is on the Danube Canal, which loops round from the river towards the city. You can walk there from the town centre in 15-25 minutes.
2. It’s big and bustling
OK, so I love the Kleines Cafe (click to see all my Vienna cafe reviews – links in bold italics are to other posts on this site). But when you’re having a cooling drink out of doors, a hum of contented conversation has much to recommend it. I love Munich’s beer gardens – and the rather awesome Augustiner Bräu in Salzburg – for the same reason.
3. The beer is ice-cold
To non beer-drinkers, this may sound a small issue – isn’t all beer cold? But scientific studies have shown that when the weather is hot, an ice-cold beer is approximately three thousand, two hundred and eighty-nine times better than a beer which is merely cool, or was put in the fridge only twelve minutes ago*.
4. The service is quick
Except at peak times, you can get served almost instantly at the bars or food-counters (there is no table service). This avoids frustrating German restaurant or Vienna cafe waiter-interaction situations.
5. Herrmann’s Beach Bar is… right on the water
Perfect. Refreshing to look at, and cooling.
6. The setting is magnificent
From where you sit, you can admire the Urania educational institute as the sun sets behind it. You can also see a modern insurance building whose facade is decorated with a light-show – not to everyone’s taste, but may improve after a beer or two.
7. Did I mention sand between your toes?
Even on your 93rd visit to a beach bar in a city centre, it still feels pleasing to sit in a deck-chair with sand between your toes.
Strandbar Herrmann review summary
For: see (i) – (vii) cult, cool, place to enjoy a delicious beer outdoors in the heart of Vienna. I’ll be back.
Against: only open from April to October (obviously) – so get a move on if you want to visit. Not conspicuously cheap – at the time of writing, a beer is around €4.20. Although the bottled Stiegl (from Salzburg) is excellent, I hanker after a really good beer-garden-style draught beer – but perhaps that is unfair as this is not really a beer garden.
P.S. If you want to see more Vienna cafe reviews, see my Great Vienna cafes page.
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* I am speaking here of course of continental-type beers such as the rather good Stiegl served at the Herrmann Strandbar. For British beers served in British pubs, different rules apply and cellar-cool is the perfect temperature.