Vienna Sights


Café Central Review

Part of the Palais Ferstel complex, the Café Central is one of Vienna's more famous cafés, its full authenticity blemished only by complete restoration in recent years. In its prime (before World War I), the café was "home" to some of the most famous literary figures of the day, who dined, socialized, worked, and even received mail here. The denizens of the Central favored political argument; indeed, their heated discussions became so well known that in October 1917, when Austria's foreign secretary was informed of the outbreak of the Russian Revolution, he dismissed the report with a facetious reference to a well-known local Marxist, the chess-loving (and presumably harmless) "Herr Bronstein from the Café Central." The remark was to become famous all over Austria, for Herr Bronstein had disappeared and was about to resurface in Russia bearing a new name: Leon Trotsky. Today things are a good deal more yuppified: the overpriced coffee now comes with a little chocolate biscuit, and the pianist is more likely to play Sinatra ballads than Strauss. But you can linger as long as you like over a single cup of coffee and a newspaper from the huge international selection provided.

Updated: 03-10-2012

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