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Photo: Heribert Corn
When Georg Aichmayr opened his Shabu Kafe in Rotensterngasse in 2002, the legendary Wanda Kuchwalek, the “Wilde Wanda”, who was the only pimp in Vienna, was still alive. During the 1970s and 1980s, the woman, feared for her brutality, went about her business in the “Café Kärnten”, as the later Shabu was called at the time. But that's history, in 2004 Kuchwalek died as a minimum pensioner, and the Shabu is also a thing of the past, moved this spring to Automat Welt on Volkertmarkt.
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Three weeks ago something new opened up here and you almost have the feeling that a kind of exorcism had taken place: the walls were scraped off, the furnishings - mostly recycled in the Shabu - disposed of, the bar moved to another location, walls broken through. Apart from the unspeakable brick floor there is now nothing left of the wicked woman's wicked headquarters, the dark past seems to have been erased, and last but not least, the restaurant was even given the name of one of the protagonists from the successful children's book "Friends": Franz von Hahn .
That’s the end of the harmlessness anyway, and in fact Lukas Amann and Viktor Gruber, two young men from Vorarlberg who have waited in the Futuregarden and its branch New Bar in recent years, simply opened a completely new place where a few others were there beforehand.
A very puristic bar, one has to say, whose furnishings essentially consist of a cast concrete bar, lots of filigree rod-shaped lightbulb lamps - which apparently flash, flash and sparkle in response to the bass from the loudspeakers - from the gloomy end times -Music and just as abundant cigarette smoke. Very nihilistic.
Okay, and that should be in line with the spirit of the times, because Franz von Hahn is well attended, as Viktor Gruber is also somewhat surprised to discover, "by former Shabu people, by Futuregarden people and by friends". The offer is rather meager, a couple of gins, a couple of rums, a couple of vodkas, a couple of schnapps, a couple of whiskeys, including three from the island of Islay, the well-known smoky-peaty Lagavulin and the two rarer Kilchoman (very salty , peaty) and Cask Islay. And because it somehow fits the bar, no sophisticated designer cocktails, but all-time party hits like Cuba Libre and Whiskey-Cola.
But there will be a little more coming soon, says Gruber. And if it works, there should also be a club called Johnny Mauser, "and when we're old, an Gasthaus Dicker Waldemar". These are the other two main characters in this children's book ...
A new, both atmospheric and culinary consistently puristic bar that is not only popular with smokers.
Franz von Hahn
2., Rotensterng. 8th
Tel. 0650/884 50 65
Mon – Fri 6–2 p.m., Sat 7–2 p.m.
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