How early is too early to drink

Where Viennese drink their beer in the morning

Hardly anything is more typical of Vienna than a Beisl: the salads are always sweetened, the meat is always baked and the foreigners are always the bad guys. But sometimes you are smarter at the regulars' tables than some politicians would like.

You shouldn't be afraid of radiation or electrosmog when you visit the little pub on Linzer Straße in Vienna. Nobody here who doesn't have a Bluetooth hands-free device on their ears, not even the waiter. The bluetooth things seem to be the earrings of the modern man - or at least those who consider themselves modern or so important that they don't even have the few seconds it takes to put the phone to their ear. This morning the phones ring exactly twice during three espressos. Both times, as the rudeness of the words suggests, it must have been the wife.

It's a small group of regulars who gathered at nine in the morning. You know each other, and a visit from a stranger is almost perceived as disrupting a family reunion. He, the newcomer, is noted with as much irritation as his order for an espresso. To do this, the machine must first be switched on and preheated. The breakfast drink here is a small beer.

There is little more Austrian than a Beisl, they say. That belongs to the country like the Lipizzaner or St. Stephen's Cathedral. It says a lot that the Beisl is associated with Viennese symbols. Because nowhere else in Austria is there a “paizl”, a tavern, as the Bohemian word translates. Not in Linz, Graz and Innsbruck. There you have an inn, a coffee house, maybe even a standing bar. But you don't know a pub here.

We're not talking about the posh bars that they now call trendy bars in Vienna, such as the “Immervoll”, the “Schöne Perle” or the “Parthuhn”, where even gastro critics frequent. We're talking about those places with patina-blackened wooden walls, where the salad is always sweetened and the meat is always baked. From the petrol stations for the common people, in which, as the Viennese sociology professor Roland Girtler observed, “the unemployed, strolling students, small, sometimes bigger crooks, cardsharps, old, thrifty pensioners, women and men who enjoy drinking, tired prostitutes” stay. That pretty much hits the clientele on Linzer Straße.


The dream of winning the lottery. The Wiener Beisl is the place where you bury your dreams. Nothing is artificial, nothing glossed over, except the age of the ladies behind too thick make-up. Nobody here talks about what he wants to be, could be or would like to be. You're too busy being who you are. The highest of all dreams revolves around what you would do with a € 100 million lottery win. ("I did invite everyone for a beer," says one person.)

Nobody in the Beisl talks about the sense of the play “The Frankenstein Project” or the painfulness in Josef Winkler's prose, philosophizing about whether the 2006 Brunello was better or the 2005 one. There are exactly two types of wine here: red and white. The talks revolve around the problems with which the majority of Austrians have to struggle: the threat of unemployment, the prices in the supermarkets and the question of whether one can guarantee the children a better future than one's own present. And of course it's about politics


Non-smokers welcome. The man with a mustache leans wearily against the formica plate that is the bar. A cigarette in the corner of his mouth - the entrance door is adorned with a sticker: “We are a smoker's bar, non-smokers are welcome” - with a small beer in front of him, probably not the first one of the morning, he has more tattoos than teeth on his two arms in the mouth. “I am stupid that there is a sense of living,” he grumbles. "But they know how to do it, they are always sitting somewhere in Monaco." It's about the rich and the wealthy and the question of whether you shouldn't leave them a little more "branded" than the others with a special tax.

“It has nothing to do with envy, it's all about you making your contribution. And who pulled us into the crisis? I sicha neeed. ”Such an argument earns a nod of approval here. What others, who tend to frequent the pubs in downtown Vienna, have lost in the crisis and still live quite well, the mustache wearer does not deserve in a year. Maybe not even in ten.

And that is fertilizer on the breeding ground on which politicians like Heinz-Christian Strache grow. “Somebody has to do something. And ours. . . big party chairmen are waving away. ”He says the words“ big party chairman ”in high German to give them more weight. The "Ours" is the SPÖ, and who waves away, is Werner Faymann with the rich tax. This morning the Labor Party again loses one of its formerly loyal voters.

Other economic crises in the past have caused those who offer simple solutions and draw simple pictures of good and bad to grow big; the scapegoats on which to project one's insecurity, fear, and indefinite anger in the search for responsibility. The FPÖ is on hand with slogans such as “Occident in Christian hands”, “Our country for our children”, “Daham instead of Islam”, and calls for the “day of reckoning” in the EU elections as if it were like in the film “ Terminator 2 ”, in which the subline was apparently stolen in order to have the ultimate battle and not to elect people's representatives in a democratic process.


Major fire on the Danube Island. Someone sitting at a wooden table with a checked tablecloth and a Maggi stand actually appears to be going into battle on June 7th. “Di Auslända san a sense of living. Heast ja ka deitsch's word more. ”The other day someone asked him for directions on Mariahilfer Strasse. “I had no idea what he was talking about, but it wasn't Deitsch.” You don't feel “at home” anymore, agrees the mustache: “We are now the foreigners in our own city.” Especially on the Danube Island. Every weekend there is a barbecue so that “a major fire is a mess”.

A previously silent assessor at the table raises his voice. “Are you really going to be there for fun? You have to feed a family just like you. Besides, you chop what you did nia tuan. ”As for the grilling and mutton:“ What do you eat in Turkey? A Wiener Schnitzel. ”And also:“ What do the foreigners have with the crisis? Zagma who is better off than us. It's really the deepest when you step on the weak. ”It's quiet at the bar. Sometimes those in the pubs are significantly smarter than those who would like to have sovereignty over their regular tables.

("Die Presse", print edition, May 17, 2009)