Cafés are an everyday part of city living and in Vienna in particular they are at the heart of city life. Around 1900, a visit to a Viennese café was a spectacular experience, newspapers were displayed on custom-made stands, waiters wore tailcoats and ceilings were decorated with elaborate chandeliers.
Today’s coffeehouse business is booming as more and more people seek a place to rest, work, eat or socialize in busy cities. Looking at how cafés were an essential part of Viennese life raises interesting questions about how we live and socialize in the modern city today. The Viennese café was a monument to the fruitful wasting of time: an idea that has much to offer today’s time-starved city-dwellers.
In Vienna there were cafés for everyone: artists, intellectuals, the respectable bourgeoisie and the not-so-respectable. People gathered in cafés to chat, eat, read, work, play, gamble and discuss. The café provided a place where the rigid social hierarchies of the day could be relaxed a little. The fluid character of this social space stimulated the minds whose intellectual and creative achievements made such a dramatic contribution to the development of European modernity at this time. Complete your trip to Vienna with a visit to a coffeehouse, sample one of the dozens of different specialty coffees and enjoy Viennese pastries and cakes.
To find a cafe in the old city of Vienna click here.