Tucked away on Liechtensteinstrasse in Vienna’s 9th district, away from the chaos and crowds of the more populated tourist zones, is an unassuming, near-missable cocktail bar. The sensory overload begins as soon as the heavy front door is pushed open, when dim lighting and leather armchairs clue you in on the ambiance in the sitting room, which eventually leads to the sophisticated bar area at The Sign.
The Sign was founded a few years go by Kan Zuo, who first came to Austria at age 14. After years of working at a Chinese restaurant, Zuo, then 22, found himself intrigued by mixology and decided to rent out a restaurant space (where The Sign is currently located. Fast-forward just a few years, and the bar has numerous awards and recognitions—including the title of Austria’s Best Cocktail Bar two years in a row.
Vienna has long been known for their exceptional white wines, sudsy beers and centuries-old café culture. But—until lately—Austria’s capital city was lacking in the craft cocktail department. Pops, clinks, and incessant shaking create an almost laboratory-like feel at The Sign, where over 100 creations are prepared by skillful mixologists.
Fresh ingredients and consistent creativity reign supreme. Presentation is also key (and perhaps one of the bar’s most captivating qualities). Bird cages, mini aquariums and baby bottles are just a few of Zuo’s chosen vessels for serving drinks, many of which he brings back from his personal travels. To complete the full sensory takeover, Zuo serves many of his drinks with a curated bite-sized snack. Think fun-sized chocolates with sherry-based creations, toasted marshmallows with tiki drinks and mini bags of popcorn with buttered whiskey sours.
Despite the high caliber of the drinks and talent, pretension is far from welcome within the bar’s walls. Through it all, Zuo maintains a friendly and welcoming ambiance to ensure that all levels of cocktail drinkers feel at home, making it a must-visit on a trip to Vienna.