The Viennese cafe is so iconic that it’s on the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list. But many Viennese cafes are perhaps too famous. They’re too crowded, too commercial, or too close to touristy areas. We’ve compiled a list of the best Vienna cafes, according to locals. Many of them are hidden gems, where you can sit and sip your coffee without feeling overwhelmed by other people. Some are more crowded, but only because the coffee is out of this world.
1. Cafe Schopenhauer
This is a pretty quintessential Viennese cafe—classic decor, pristinely dressed servers, and a sophisticated atmosphere. Somewhat surprisingly, it has a very reasonably priced menu. You can get a soup and an entree for lunch for only €7.30.
2. Cafe Weimar
Cafe Weimar has a live piano player every day and plenty of outdoor seating for the warm months. Unlike at many other Viennese cafes, the wait staff here is known for being friendly. Cafe Weimar is also right across the street from the WUK concert hall, so you can have a nice cup of coffee before or after you see a performance.
3. Coffee Pirates
At Coffee Pirates, it really is all about the coffee. They offer different varieties which come from many different countries, and they roast all their coffee themselves. They also have a brunch menu. The atmosphere is hip and modern. You’ll see a lot of young people because it’s right next to the University of Vienna campus.
4. Cafe Monika
This is a great place to go if you want to spend time with the regular common folk of Vienna. Cafe Monika is located in the city’s 20th district—which is predominantly working class—at the bottom of a large apartment building. You will always find customers from the community talking animatedly and playing cards. Even if you’re not a social butterfly, this cafe is a prime people-watching location.
5. The Language Cafe
The Language Cafe is not really a business, but rather a community organization effort. And it’s not about the coffee—it’s about the languages. Every night that the language cafe is open, native speakers of various languages will volunteer to facilitate conversations in their native tongues. It’s a perfect place for people learning a new language to get some practice. There’s no fee to enter, and you can get food and drinks in exchange for a donation.
6. Cafe Z
Cafe Z is a mix of modern and retro. It’s located in Vienna’s up-and-coming 15th district, and has updated its look and its menu to attract a younger crowd. It has a beautiful little garden where you can enjoy your coffee and pastries during the warm months. It’s also well-known for its delicious cakes.
CaffèCouture is the place to go for coffee connoisseurs. They serve high-quality brews and allow you to pay whatever you think the coffee is worth, but according to reviews, you’ll never feel compelled to pay less than the going rate. It’s small, so you may not be able to find a seat, but the quality of the coffee merits a visit on its own. Sometimes this cafe even hosts coffee tasting events.
8. Espresso Hobby
Espresso Hobby is set up more like a bar than a coffeehouse. The coffee is delicious, but the main selling point is the atmosphere. This cafe actually still has its original furnishings from the 50s. It’s cozy, welcoming, and great for visiting at night.
9. Café Jelinek
This cafe is like a living antique. It looks like it’s never been renovated as long as it’s been open, so it’s a great place to visit if you want to travel back in time. Hanging on the walls are black and white pictures of (somewhat) famous regular customers. You won’t find any tourists here, though, so be mindful that the wait staff may not be accustomed to English speakers.
10. Zum Konstantineck
Zum Konstantineck is part cafe, part snack bar, all outdoors. It isn’t open very much in the winter, but during the warm months it’s a great place to relax, chat, and observe the passers-by. It’s right by a park and surrounded by plenty of trees, which you can watch change color in the fall.
Sometimes you have to go off the beaten path in order to have the best travel experience. Visit a few of these cafes, and you can say that you’ve truly experienced Vienna.
Featured photo courtesy: Katri Niemi/Flickr