Lonely Planet Writer

Vienna has a virtual reality bar where you can have a drink and try out VR for free

Ever fancied tearing through Vienna in a racing car? Or gunning down zombies whilst swigging on a cold beer? Now you can thanks to Vrei, the world’s first virtual reality (VR) bar which has opened in Vienna, Austria.

Vrei Virtual Reality bar, Vienna, Austria.
Vrei Virtual Reality bar, Vienna, Austria.

Serving up craft beers, coffee and pizza alongside the latest gaming technology like the Samsung GearVR, Playstation VR and HTC Vive, over 10,000 visitors have been through the doors at Lindengasse 53 and tried VR.

Vrei VR bar, Lindengrasse, Veienna, Austria.
Vrei VR bar, Lindengrasse, Veienna, Austria. Image by Vrei Facebook

Among the games and experiences on offer are a roller coaster simulator with a G-force simulation seat; four racing emulators complete with steering wheels, pedals and gears; and games like Space Pirates Trainer, Longbow and Arizona Sunshine.

Gamers at Vrei VR bar, Vienna.
Gamers at Vrei VR bar, Vienna. Image by Vrei Facebook

Speaking about its origins to Lonely Planet, founder Timon Liebau said, “We saw that the availability to test VR Devices was really rare and most of the time it lacks support, so we decided to change that by opening a place where people can get in touch with the new technology in the most comfortable way. As VR enthusiasts we want to make sure people have the best possible first time experience in VR.”

Vrei VR bar, Vienna.
Vrei VR bar, Vienna. Image by Vrei Facebook

Already attracting a number of overseas customers, Liebau added that VR technology is a lot easier to use than traditional computer consoles because it’s more intuitive and it allows users to use their hands as they would in real life. He said, “It is a completely different experience. Things that can appear boring on a screen, like a passing blue whale for example are impressive in VR.

“A current high-end headset really gives you the immersion to believe what you see is real. I feel the scaling has a lot to do with it. It will be hard to find a TV big enough to show a blue whale in full size, and even when it is 3D you still can’t go around them or look behind you.”

Many of games that Vrei offers are free to use and the owners are always on the hunt for suitable new experiences. They are also keeping one eye on the technological advances in the hope that VR will become better, more affordable, smaller and easier to set up and use. Liebau concluded, “At some point in time when we have something like daily soaps and live sports in VR, it could become more popular than TV.”