Vienna’s Coffee Culture

Four things to know about Vienna’s fabled Kaffeehäuser:

Seat Yourself

In most places, you don’t have to wait to be seated; just claim the best vacant table, and don’t be surprised if new arrivals start hovering around your spot as you prepare to leave.

Expect Disgruntled Charm

The waiters tend to be Grantlers (disgruntled), and it has nothing to do with your being a tourist. It’s “their thing,” as one local explained to me, and if you take it with a sense of humor, it won’t taint your experience.

Stay for Lunch

The Kaffeehäuser are wonderful places for trying traditional Viennese cuisine: Hawelka is famous for its Buchteln (sweet dumplings filled with jam); there are fabulous sausages (Würstl) served at the Landtmann and Café Diglas serves hearty homemade soups.


The bill will not materialize unless you ask for it. This is one of the great joys about the Kaffeehäuser: you can linger for hours over a single espresso with a book or the newspaper, and no one will disturb you until you’re ready to leave.

Published onFebruary 4, 2014

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