Julie Andrews takes a coffee break from hosting From Vienna: The New Year’s Celebration 2015 in Café Griensteidl, right beside Vienna’s Imperial Palace. The original Café Griensteidl opened in 1847 and closed in 1897 to make way for new construction. This incarnation opened in 1990 with classic Viennese design and furnishings.
The centuries-old tradition of coffee houses in Vienna make a Kaffeehaus (coffee house) a place where waiters serve coffee, pastries and meals to guests who sit with their coffee. No one comes to a Kaffeehaus in hopes of rushing away with a take-out cup.
Andrews explains, “For the Viennese, their favorite café has become a second living room, where they not only drink their beverages but also read, write, play cards, and chat with friends. The newspaper, a glass of water, the marble tabletop, perhaps some apple strudel, and a menu full of endless possibilities of coffee all play an important role in café culture.”
A typical coffee house has been described as “a place where time and space are consumed, but only the coffee is found on the bill.”
Austria so values its coffee-house tradition that it has named “Viennese Coffee House Culture” as part of its country’s features belonging in UNESCO’s Intangible Cultural Heritage inventory.