For us, Café Europa feels like a second living room, and we assume we’re not alone. This Viennese institution has been around for 33 years and has always been open to all kinds of people, which is why you might end up sitting between a business man in a suit and a dreadlocked punk. It has somehow managed to stand the test of time, without loosing a bit of its cool.
As Aaron Friesz, the owner’s son explains: “We live by the meaning of the name, Café Europa – a lot of culture in a confined space.”
Meanwhile, Café Europa can swallow a whole lot of culture and people, spread out across three large rooms – one being quiet when closed by a sliding door that looks like it belongs on the set of a Sci-Fi film, like Mad Max or Star Trek.
With a cappuccino topped by a frothy milk crown in front of us, we lean back into the well-worn leather bench seats to admire the scene that is Café Europa – the dark turquoise and yellow colour scheme, the sweeping bars, the eccentric and eclectic lighting, and the scattered marble tables surrounded by handsome chairs … and people.
Nabbing a table in the enclaves in front of the huge glass front, you’ll feel like you’re on display in a zoo for the city’s ‘insider crowd,’ the crowd that know that the Café Europa’s dedicated diehard’s drink is Averna with ice and lemon.
It’s a well-balanced mix between a classic Viennese coffeehouse and a modern restaurant/café, that suits whatever you want it to be at whatever time of day. It lives a 24/7 kind of lifestyle.
Here you can start your day off with one of their basic breakfasts (or finish your day with one: breakfast is served until 4am), stop off for a brisk business lunch, an afternoon coffee, or blend into the buzzing atmosphere – soundtracked by a solid selection of music – with friends on any night of the week. It doesn’t matter when, and if the rest of the city’s having a quiet night, there’s always people meeting at the tables of Café Europa.
It also makes as a good spot for a late midnight snack, being one of the few kitchens open in the city until the early hours. Meanwhile, their daily menu is good and reasonably priced (between 8–10 €), and the rest of the menu of drinks and dishes that dabble in all kinds of cuisine (including a tasty burger) are reasonably priced. The food rarely startles, but always acts as good comfort for your hungry stomach.
Café Europa’s roots ensure that it stands alone, untouched in another league, as trends come and go. Like anything with a timeless style, Café Europa’s popularity will live on forever.