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Lord of the Kaffeehaus

Almost as iconic as the Austrian Kaffeehäuser (coffee houses) themselves are their waiters. If you have achieved a certain standing at a Kaffeehaus because of generous tips or repeat visits, you may be awarded a title.

Café Central Vienna © WTV Popp&Hackner
The typical Kaffeehaus waiter is the antithesis of the chirpy, ever-smiling staff of today's service industries. Usually male, middle-aged, wearing a tuxedo and familiar with the titles, political views and favourite hot drinks of the regulars, the Kaffeehaus waiter is a creature of habit – as well as a pernickety selector of favourites. Because here, in a unique reversal of roles, it is the customer who has to win over the waiter, not vice versa.

Until the customer is accepted as worthy, the waiter may display various degrees of grumpiness, irritation and sarcasm. This is not rudeness, but an integral part of the Kaffeehaus culture that is often referred to as 'Viennese charm'. If you visit Lord of the Kaffehaus more than once, you have achieved a certain standing at a Kaffeehaus. Through generous tips and reciprocating the waiter's attitude, you may also be awarded a title such as doctor (Herr / Frau Doktor) or privy councillor (Herr / Frau Geheimrat), and be addressed as such henceforth. The highest ranking regulars are greeted with a reverential 'The usual, professor?'

Coffee Houses in Vienna
Café Sacher Wien
Café Imperial
Café Hofburg

Coffee Houses in Salzburg

Café Sacher Salzburg
Café Tomaselli
Café Bazar

Coffee Houses in Innsbruck

Café Sacher Innsbruck
Café Central
Café Konditorei Mundig

Coffee Houses in Graz
Café Sacher Graz