Fascinating Story

Vienna’s Eden Bar is a legendary institution in the Austrian capital and has a fascinating history.

The Beginning - 1911

The house was built in 1911 by architect Rudolf Erdös in the style of late Viennese Secessionism and was home to a military casino in the early years. In the days of the monarchy, it was customary for officers from the crown lands to make a stopover in the imperial capital and residence. There were few amenities in the barracks accommodation.

The Golden 1920s

The City Bar was first mentioned as a business in 1916 and a few years later the opera singer Emmy Stein bought the bar and renamed it into Eden Bar. Born as Emma Anna Steininger, she was a permanent member of the Theater an der Wien and latterly also of the Burgtheater.

The Eden soon became a meeting place for high society, with live music, house balls and champagne. The bar’s glamour reached its first peak in the golden Twenties.

The War - 1940

The next few years were to draw on this, first during the Ständestaat and then at the beginning of the Second World War. In 1941, the Eden was confiscated by the German Reich. After the war, Emmy Stein fights to get her bar back. When she finally gets it back, however, she has to admit to herself that she has become too old to run the bar. It is time to put the Eden in new hands. Emmy Stein finally comes to an agreement with Gabor Kenézy.

The Second Heyday - 1950s

Under his leadership, Eden is experiencing its second bloom. Singer Liane Augustin and her trio were an attraction and crowd puller. Later, the then unknown pianist Joe Zawinul joined them.

In the Kenézy era, the Eden Bar became international, and Heinz Werner Schimanko later became a virtuoso at playing this keyboard of celebrities. Guests from the worlds of film, literature and music such as Billy Wilder, Ella Fitzgerald, Orson Wells and Mischa Elman immortalized themselves in the guest book in the 1950s.

Romy Schneider was here, Alain Delon with her. Later, Jack Lemmon, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Liz Taylor, Anita Ekberg, the Shah of Persia, José Carreras and star photographer Helmut Newton, to name a few.

Schimanko era - 1970s

Heinz Werner Schimanko entered the Eden for the first time at the age of nineteen. He had parked his rickety VW around the corner to avoid being recognized as the poor army soldier he was back then. He scraped together all his money to order a bottle of wine for himself and his companion. At the time, he swore to himself: “This bar will be mine one day! A bar where it’s a privilege to be a guest!”

Half a decade later, he kept his promise and officially took over the Eden in 1978. Even then, Heinz Werner Schimanko was no stranger to Vienna’s nightlife. For a number of years, he had successfully run the Moulin Rouge in Vienna, an intoxicating mixture of entertainment venue and variety theater, where scantily clad dancers sometimes led leopards on a leash.

His giant-like stature, the twirly beard, the white dinner jacket, the bald head – anyone who crossed Schimanko’s path never forgot him for the rest of their lives. He made Eden an international brand and Vienna’s trendy bar long before there was even a “scene” in Vienna.

From 2005 until today

Today the Eden is run by the second Schimanko generation, Michaela Schimanko and Heinz Rüdiger Schimanko.

We look forward to your visit!

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