Vienna - The Acceptable Face of Coffee

Don't worry, we're not going to be contrary and go all coffee on you. Tea is our national drink and, as traditionalists, we will defend it to the last teapot. (We were cheered to hear that the dreadful Starbucks failed with their tea bar concept, by the way. Excellent news for the independent tea houses and rooms of Britain.) However, when in Vienna...

The Viennese equivalent of a pint of black and tan
Vienna is a café society. The café is their pub and coffee is their pint of 'black and tan'. If you're lucky to visit Vienna, do wander around and seek out a favourite café. I have my list of favourite Viennese cafés from previous visits. I continue to ask around to see if I have missed any hidden gems, but I always return to my three. You can be smartly dressed in these and not feel out of place, which is important.

Café Sperl 1880

Café Sperl is the most formal of my picks and probably my favourite because of this. A nice, quiet café. People speak in hushed tones. It's not a place to pull out a mobile phone and start taking selfies, talk in a loud voice and generally act like an ill-mannered ass.
Don't mess with it
Café Sperl is notable for the unchanged interior, which includes a piano (sometimes played) and carom billiards tables. I hope the interior is protected from destruction as it has a kind of magic. Start messing with it, remove one thing, update another and it might be lost forever. Manfred Staub (pictured below) has been the proprietor of Café Sperl for fifty years. Succession is planned within his family, thankfully, so one is optimistic that the café's timeless charm stays intact. This would be good news for the regulars, many of whom have been seeking out the same table and the same view to enjoy the same coffee and strudel in Café Sperl for decades. And, like us, they don't like change.

Café Prückel 1903

Café Prückel has a 1950s utilitarian feel inside, with modernist touches. Less touristy because of its location, which is out of centre but easily walkable.

The house special is Prückel Cream — a mocha with whipped cream. You see a lot of whipped cream in central Europe.

Café Central 1876

Café Central is perhaps the most famous of the three; certainly the largest and with one of the nicest interiors. Cavernous with cathedral-like vaulted ceilings, the Café is well known for being the meeting place for famous and infamous 20th century thinkers. It's best to try and look cerebral as you sip your coffee. You might want to place an academic text on your table to help achieve the effect.

The Viennese coffee manufacturer Julius Meinl, founded in 1862, is a supplier to Café Central and an ambassador for Viennese coffeehouse culture. Julius Meinl were the first industrial coffee roasters and one of the first Austrian companies to have a trademark — the famous boy wearing a fez. You will see the logo on cups and sachets of sugar all through the region. Italian designer Matteo Thun developed the latest incarnation of the logo.

Fifth-generation Thomas Meinl explains a little about the company in the video below (at around the 0:46 mark).


  1. good choice.

  2. Hi and greetings from Graz. Nice post. You don't include Cafe Hawelka?

    1. Hawelka is okay, but a bit shabby. Last time I visited the staff were indifferent to the point of rudeness. I slapped a gentle ban on it. Tweedy

  3. For something more substantial, visit 'Ristorante Firenze Enoteca' on Singerstrasse right beside the Stephansdom for one of your best Italian cuisine encounters...
    ~ Silbo

    1. Thanks Silbo. Well located. Best wishes, Tweedy

  4. The Prückel's interior doesn't suit my taste and the Café Central is a bit touristy (well, while in Vienna I'm a tourist, too!) . My favorite is the Café Frauenhuber in Himmelspfortengasse.

    1. Looking good, Anon. I will give it a go next time I'm thee. Hoping for some good strudel. Best wishes, Tweedy


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