Vienna is a stylish metropolis rich with music and culture, and at the heart if it all is the world-famous Hotel Sacher.
Conveniently located on the southern tip of the Ringstraße, it stands directly opposite the impressive State Opera House, where it has presided over the arts district since 1876. After experiencing an awe-inspiring performance of Handel's Messiah at the nearby Musikverein, our small group ventured to Blaue Bar at the Hotel Sacher Vien for some post-theater libations.
The Hotel Sacher is a luxurious establishment steeped in history, yet contemporarily regarded as a posh location for aristocrats, actors, royalty, and the rich and the famous. One step inside the door and you're transported back to a more glamorous time. You can easily imagine men in tuxedos, cigar smoke encircling their heads, sidling up to stately women in sweeping gowns of sequin and chiffon, their hair perfectly coiffed and lips a deep ruby red. This grand venue has played host to notables such as Queen Elizabeth II, Grace Kelly, and John F. Kennedy, amongst a slew of others. Fortunately, the Hotel Sacher has managed to retain its allure, and the guests still dress to the nines and conduct themselves like royalty.
The majestic, gilded interior of this luxury hotel would be fitting in one of the local Hapsburg palaces, and yet the design itself is a wonderfully creative visual experience that utilizes color-blocking. There's the ravishingly red lobby and 'Rote Bar' restaurant, the elegant, emerald 2-time Toques award-winning Restaurant Anna Sacher and the intimate sapphire-and-gold Blaue Bar, all equally impressive and brimming with crystals, finery and velvety wall coverings.
Our group vesture consisted of cocktail dresses and sport coats, so we blended appropriately with the guests of the hotel. The six of us were seated at the bar itself, literally illuminated in blue, where a friendly and informative bartender procured for us a varied menu of local wines, creative cocktails and desserts, among which was the venerable Sacher-Torte (Yes, the Hotel Sacher is credited for inventing the chocolate torte cake).
Jenny and I ordered our usual drink: a white wine. This particular varietal was a Grüner Veltliner, which hailed from a Viennese vineyard and displayed dry tones reminiscent of a mild chardonnay. (Vienna seems to be one of the few world capitals with vineyards within its city limits). The wine was perfectly refreshing. Joe ordered a gin martini called The Gibson, featuring frozen cippolini onions in lieu of ice cubes, and Nick relished a vodka tonic with lemon, followed by a local Austrian beer, Ottakringer. Kristal ordered a Bloody Mary and Amber settled on dessert. The evening hours quickly ticked by, unnoticed by us, contentedly enveloped in the romantic midnight-blue surroundings.
No visit here could be complete without sampling the world-famous Sacher-Torte, so we were quite eager to partake of it before our departure. Created for Prince Metternich by Franz Sacher in 1832, this tasty confection consists of two layers of semi-sweet chocolate sponge cake, a layer of apricot jam and dark chocolate icing. It is served with unsweetened whipped cream for a little moisture and topped with a chocolate medallion bearing the establishment's name. The cake was a deliciously decadent and satisfying end to our evening, and as essential to a Viennese culinary experience as a streudel or wienerschnitzel.
While our visit was strictly limited to the Blaue Bar, the hotel offers other 5-star luxury amenities and services. Whether you're making Vienna your destination or just passing through on a European tour, do not miss the chance for a drink inside the delightful Hotel Sacher.
Rates: Room rates range from 340€ - 5,000€ a night in high season. (Source: www.sacher.com/en-hotel-sacher-vienna.htm)
Check it out: If you venture to the powder room, don't forget to inspect the wall of photographs showing all the famous guests throughout the years.
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