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Monday, 26 September 2011

The Third Drink...

When in Vienna, what do you do if you like a cocktail and are possessed with – or, most likely, by – a vivid imagination? Well, one of the best spots is the American Bar, just off Karntner Strasse.

The lady, being a cosmopolitan sort, generally plumps for a Cosmo. And to savour one outside this 1908 bar, designed by the Brno-born architect Adolf Loos in the art nouveau style – or jugendstil, as they term it locally –  was, she attested, "Just perfect."
In place of the common burnt slice of orange peel. the barman plonked a similarly charred chunk of lemon zest. 

Ahhh, delicious ... and that's just the Cosmopolitan.

Another fine spot in Vienna is the Imperial Hotel, which backs on to the square containing the fabulous Golden Saal of the Musikverein, famous internationally for its New Year's Day concerts.
At the Imperial's cocktail bar, I sipped a well-crafted Old-Fashioned, made with a very decent bourbon while a pianist with a lovely, insouciant touch asked for requests. The Time Goes By very nicely there.
But ...! What if your vivid imagination takes a turn for the worse and you begin to hear noises off?

Oh no – it's that zither tune by Anton Karas. Once you've heard it you can't get it out of your head.
And who's that character skulking in the shadows in Josef Platz, scene of the fake death of one Harry Lime? It must be the Third Man, surely. Looking for his third drink, most likely.

Was it all a mirage? And why did we wake up in London? 
Ach, es ist sehr unheimlich, nicht wahr?