Coffee nowadays is more than a wake-up drink; it is like an everyday sacred routine. Every time I hear someone admitting that he does not drink coffee I cannot help but wonder “and what is your first thought after waking up?”.
Vienna is known worldwide for her cozy traditional coffee houses and offers a great variety of unique places where coffee lovers get spoilt and learn the Austrian way to drink a coffee: reading the news, surrounded by pleasantness and tasting fresh pastry creation. Here are my best 5 picks to sense this one of a kind experience.
1. Café Kafka
is maybe the first café that comes in my mind when I am thinking about Viennese coffeehouses. Leather sofas, minimal interior and a picture of Franz Kafka is all
you’ll need to recreate a café-clone. However the atmosphere is an Austrian recipe. The café is a smoke permitted place (like most cafes in Vienna) and one must have high smoke-tolerance levels in order to appreciate the place itself.
Address: Capistrangasse 8, 1060 Wien
2. Kaffee Alt Wien,
located near Stephansplatz, was established in 1936 by Leopold Hawelka and his wife Josefine on the day after their wedding. It is included in almost every tourist guide, however it still keeps its warm atmosphere and friendly staff. One can sense its artistic vibes, since Kaffee Alt Wien has been a favorite spot of local artists though the years. In 1976, a happening by the Viennese artist Gottfried Helnwein took place in the café. There is a smoking section up front as well as a non-n smoking at the back. Visitors should definitely taste the homemade Apfelstrudel.
Address: Bäckerstraße 9, 1010 Wien
3. Kleines Kaffee.
As its name suggests, Kleines Kaffee is a tiny place, in the first district of Vienna, where one can enjoy his coffee along with his newspaper. It is located in the stone-cobbled square Franzikanerplatz. Movie lovers may recognize its green walls along with its green outdoor seating from the movie Before Sunrise with Ethan Hawke and Julie Deply. Kleines café reveals all its glory in the scene where a Palm reader predicts the future to the leading characters. It is so tiny that is hardly impossible to find a place to sit, especially in rush hours, however it totally worth’s a try even to have a walk around the neighborhood. Smoking is allowed inside the café.
Address: Franziskanerplatz 3, 1010 Wien
4. Café Sperl.
If there was a Viennese coffeehouse prototype, then for sure Café Sperl is what we are talking about. The place is like a museum, a trip back to time, and a recall of Viennese history, tradition and charm. I think, as a tourist is one of the must-to-visit cafés in Vienna and as an inhabitant is almost unacceptable to not, at least once in a lifetime, pay a visit to café Sperl. It is also an exception of the rule that wants all the coffeehouses in Vienna to be smoking areas, since it is a smoking free café.
Address: Grumpendorferstraße 11, 1060 Wien
5. Tachles, das kulturcafe
as it is self promoted, is another favorite of mine. It is located in the beautiful Karmeliterplatz.The interior is covered with posters of past events (a great retrospect of cultural events in Vienna). It is also common a silent movie to be projected on the café’s wall. It is open after 16.00, so it is a great place for an afternoon coffee or an early beer. Tachles café has a very unique atmosphere and very friendly prices. Nowadays, it is a non-smoking area. However, if the weather allows it, it is possible to enjoy a coffee along with a cigarette outdoors (Garten)
Address: Karmeliterplatz 1, 1020 Wien
A coffee lover or not these were my suggestions of some of my favorite coffeehouses in Vienna. As I am not trying to make an ode to coffee here, everyone can experience coffeehouses in a different way. Like Leanna Renne Hieber has said in her Darker Still book, “coffee first. Schemes later”. Nonetheless, you can always replace the café with you beverage of choice.