- Ricarda Reininger
The coffeehouse has had an important historical role in shaping Viennese culture, acting as key meeting places for important writers, artists, musicians and philosophers. Vienna’s coffee culture has had a very high status around the world, but there are not just traditional institutions in the city. Recently, there has been a visible change, and a lot of young and progressive coffeehouses have come into existence. Both the old and the new are worth to visit. Take a look at the best cafés and coffeehouses in Vienna.
The oldest café on the Ringstrasse
The oldest café on the Ringstrasse (ring road) in Vienna is Café Schwarzenberg. Unusually for the Austrian capital, literary figures and artists were not traditionally amongst the regular guests. From the beginning, the regulars were a lot of business men, which is still the case today, although it is now a popular place for tourists too. It offers not just excellent desserts and hot drinks, but also typical Austrian dishes for lunch and dinner. You could order for a starter a liver dumpling soup, for the main dish Tafelspitz (prime boiled beef) and for the round up an apple strudel as last course.
Price: fine dining
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 7.30am-12pm; Sat-Sun 8.30am-12pm
Watch out for: taste the several variations of coffees and hot chocolates
Kärntner Ring 17, Vienna, Austria, +43 1 512 89 98
Already, on the first taken step into Café Europa, you will be hooked. It is quite a big place, but has a relaxing and very welcoming effect on everybody. It is an all-in-one restaurant, bar and coffeehouse, and offers warm food the whole night. It is the perfect café for people who want to read the newspaper and enjoy their coffee, for people who want to have a good lunch or dinner, and for people who want to drink a beer or two and have an exciting night.
Price: fine dining
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 9am-5am
Watch out for: delicious brunch on the weekend
Zollergasse 8, Vienna, Austria, +43 1 526 33 83
Perfect place for playing board games
Café Sperlhof has had an eventful history, with a lot of changes of its owners. It opened in 1923, and was a meeting place for Jewish artists. Everything changed with the Second World War, and since 1986 the café has been under new ownership. It is located in the second district of Vienna, very close to the Augarten. The unique thing about Café Sperlhof is the countless number of board games, which are stacked in several towers. Also popular among guests are the variety of magazines, the table with free used books, the billiards table and the table football.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 4pm-1.30am
Watch out for: towers of board games
Große Sperlgasse 41, Vienna, Austria, +43 1 214 58 64
Historic café with an eventful past
Café Central opened its doors in 1876 and was built in the style late romantic historicism, which combines the architecture of old buildings with new elements. Famous historical figures, such as Leo Trotsky, Arthur Schnitzler, Sigmund Freud and Hugo von Hofmannsthal, were amongst their regular guests, and the café still profits from the reputation of its literary branded past. After the Second World War, Café Central was closed for about four decades, but it was renovated to open again in 1986. It has lost nothing of its originality, charm and special style and still spoils their guests with traditional Austrian dishes.
Price: fine dining
Opening hours: Mon-Sat 7.30am-10pm; Sun 10am-10pm
Watch out for: live piano music daily 5pm-10pm
Herrengasse 14, Vienna, Austria, +43 1 533 37 63 26
Industrial chic café
It is furnished in an industrial style, with raw brick walls, grey floors of concrete, and simple seating. But nevertheless, the ambiance is very comfortable and unique. Not just the interior is worth seeing, also the offered dishes are worth tasting. Zweitbester just uses organic vegetables, regional products like fish, beef and pork, and bread from the organic bakery. Guests can choose between the daily created menu and the fixed menu, and also on the weekends enjoy the sustainable and tasty brunch until 2pm.
Opening hours: Mon-Sun 11am-2am
Watch out for: daily fresh created menu and weekend brunch
Heumühlgasse 2, Vienna, Austria, +43 1 945 93 86
Pure Living Bakery
Café with homely atmosphere
Pure Living Bakery is a very cosy place, and guests fall in love with it immediately. It is a very friendly café with a homely atmosphere and its own bakery. The style of the interior and the offered dishes are influenced by the US. And very recommendable are the home made tarts and cookies, which are made from produce of the best quality. Also, coffee lovers will get their money’s worth. All coffees at Pure Living Bakery are prepared with high attention to detail and a true enjoyment of the creative process. And for all who want to learn how to make it themselves, they offer a workshop.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 9.30am-8pm; Sat-Sun 10am-8pm
Watch out for: lovely prepared coffee, delicious cakes and cookies
Kaffee Alt Wien
Extraordinary café in the city center
You can say Kaffee Alt Wien is already an institution in Vienna’s coffee culture. It is located in the city center, and was founded by the Viennese café entrepreneur Leopold Hawelka in 1936. Today, it is not just a café. It is like a mixture of coffeehouse and tavern. Guests can enjoy one of the coffee specialities or have a tasty typical Austrian dish for dinner and stay the whole night. The very extraordinary thing, which attracts students, artists and tourists in the same way, is the interior. The walls are full of posters and the lighting is dimmed. This causes this cosy atmosphere of Kaffee Alt Wien.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 10am-6pm; Sat 10am-4pm
Watch out for: have a look at the innumerable posters on the wall to find out something about the cultural life of Vienna
Bäckerstrasse 9, Vienna, Austria, +43 1 512 52 22
A real insider tip for Vienna
Das Moped is located very close to the Rochusmarkt, which is one of the best markets in Vienna. On the first step into the café, it seems as if you are transported back to the 1950s. But if you are going further, through the other rooms, you will really get surprised by the furthest room, which feels like the world of the 1960s, with its psychedelic wallpapers, tables and seats. But it is not just the furnishing that are extraordinary and worth seeing, also the offered food and drinks are well prepared and special in Vienna.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 11am-2am; Sat 7pm-2am; Sun 5pm-12pm
Watch out for: their special events
Salmgasse 23, Vienna, Austria, +43 1 966 11 44
Small coffee bar with own roasting house
Kaffeefabrik‘s concept that is very special in Vienna. It is an all-in-one coffeebar and roasting house. It is a very small place, where you feel welcome at the very first moment, and personal contact is created immediately. The offered coffee is for the most part from organic cooperatives and fair trade producers. There you will find a regularly changing range of coffees, which are just served with organic milk and also with lactose free milk, if so desired. Also, guests can order homemade tea, hot chocolate, juices, cakes and tarts.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 8am-6pm; Sat 11am-5pm
Watch out for: driving ‘coffeeshop’ at markets, festivals, partys and other events
Favoritenstraße 4-6, Vienna, Austria, +43 1 660 178 90 92
Comfortable café in the 50s style
Espresso opened its doors in 2004, and was totally renovated to appear in the style of the 1950s. It is a relaxed place to enjoy one of the several breakfast variations, which can be combined with, for example, eggs from an organic farmer. But guests also have the possibility to eat a tasty dinner, lunch or their delicious homemade desserts, such as the cakes. If the weather is fine, there is also an area to sit outside and relax while eating and drinking.
Opening hours: Mon-Fri 7.30am-1pm; Sat-Sun 10am-1pm
Watch out for: the organic products, which can be added to your breakfast
Burggasse 57, Vienna, Austria, +43 676 596 16 45
By Ricarda Reininger