Vienna is world-famous for its elegant coffeehouses, some of which opened their doors over a century ago. Its historic coffeehouses were even given UNESCO World Heritage status recently. It also now counts a new crop of next-generation coffee places that take their beans—and handcrafted brews—very seriously. These are some of the best places for coffee in the Austrian capital, from old-world cafes to creative contemporary roasters.
Before you head off for a cup, here are a few quick notes on typical Viennese coffee drinks you're likely to see on the menus. A Schwartzer (which means "black" is an espresso, while a Verlängerter is an Americano. Be careful: Mocca is another common word for "espresso," not for a mocha. A Brauner is an espresso served with cream on the side. Make sure to try the famous Viennese Melange, similar to a cappuccino but with a dense middle layer of steamed milk.
Our favorite traditional coffeehouse in the capital, Prückel is a Viennese institution, first opening in 1904. An old-school charm persists in the spacious dining rooms here, redecorated in a mid-20th century style. You'll enter to the hum of conversation, the rustling of newspapers being read, the clanking of silverware and plates, and the sight of traditionally dressed servers darting from one section to the next, heavy trays of coffee and cake in hand. On a sunny day, it's bright and cheerful, and on a rainy or frigid one, it's a cozy haven.
All of the traditional coffees are brewed to near-perfection here, from the latté to the double espresso with cream—and a slice of cake or pastry best accompanies them. But if you’re in the mood for a cold treat, try the Spezial Prückel Eiskaffee, an iced americano with vanilla and coffee ice cream and whipped cream.
This iconic Viennese coffeehouse is deeply traditional and steeped in history—and yet it manages to attract young generations of artists, writers, publishers and other intellectual types, who crowd tables and debate politics or philosophy. It opened its doors in 1876, housed in the 19th-century Palais Furstel, a mansion whose design is modeled on Venetian medieval archotecture. It boasts a long roster of famous former patrons, from Sigmund Freud to Leon Trotsky.
Come for coffee and a thick slice of cake or strudel, preferably on a chilly or rainy afternoon. The Melange coffee is particularly excellent here; for a treat, try the "Salon Einspanner," a double espresso served in a and the long menu of special. Sit back and admire the Central's impressive decorative vaults, tall pillars, and ornate chandeliers. It's hard not to feel a bit grandiose here.
This specialty coffee roaster has two shops and cafés around Vienna, which have become popular with university students and professionals looking for an excellent brew and a place to chat or work. Bright, airy, and modern, this is one of the best contemporary spots in the capital to try a flat white or a cold brew.
Jonas Reindl is serious about the quality of its beans, which are sourced from Nicaragua, Peru, Ethiopia, and other locations, and selected by owner Philip Feyer. The newer location on Westbahnstrasse is also a roastery, where beans are hand-roasted on the spot for maximum flavor and intensity.
Wondering how to navigate the sprawling menu? The double-shot flat white, iced cappuccino, and cold brew are all reputed to be delicious.
Another local favorite amid the city's traditional places for coffee, cake, and conversation, Café Hawelka opened in 1939, only a year before the outbreak of World War II. There's a ghostly sort of history lurking in the walls of the large, dimly lit dining room, whose worn, bohemian furnishings have barely changed since the café first opened.
A preferred haunt among artists and writers, figures including Austrian actor Oscar Werner and American artist Andy Warhol have often loafed and lurked at the charmingly shambolic cafe on Dorotheergasse. This is an ideal spot for a rainy afternoon over a book or newspaper, sipping one of the café's house specialties alongside a serving of Buchteln, a sweet filled roll made from the original co-owner Josefine Hawelka's recipe.
Pelican Coffee Company
Another of the best new places in town for a top-rate brew, the Pelican Coffee Company is, charmingly enough, situated on the Pelikangasse, a quiet street a few minutes northwest of the Rathaus (city hall). It's gained a following among serious coffee devotees in the capital for its futuristic coffee drinks, including the Nitro cold brew, which is served from a tap like beer for a smooth, aerated quality.
The light, airy interiors are usually crowded, so try to go in the early morning to grab a seat and enjoy a coffee and pastry before you head out for a day of sightseeing. Pelican sources its beans from the local Sussmand roasters, and standard drinks such as espressos, flat whites, and filter coffees are all reported by visitors to be excellent.
One of the oldest Viennese coffeehouses, Café Landtmann dates to 1876 and remains a vibrant, coveted place to convene, dine, chatter, and think in the capital. Students, journalists, politicians, and tourists all throng on the popular café, whose deep-wood furniture and paneled walls, heavy velvet curtains, and white tablecloths offer you a portal of sorts into old Vienna.
Situated in close reach of the city hall and the Imperial Palace, this is a great place to stop for coffee and cake between seeing the main sights and attractions in central Vienna. Try a steaming Melange accompanied by a slice of chocolate cake, or the "Maria Theresa": double espresso with Cointreau, whipped cream, and orange zest.
Located in the area known as the Leopoldstadt, not far from the sprawling Prater park complex, the Balthasar Kaffee Bar is yet another contemporary cafe whose specialty coffees are coveted by anyone serious about a good brew. A reviewer on the website Beanhunter called it "an excellent example of the new coffee scene in Vienna," and you'll rarely find empty tables inside the white and blue-toned cafe, much less on the cheerful terrace area outside.
Try the cold brew, Aeropress, or V60 filter coffee or iced espresso to really appreciate the quality of the single-origin beans, or order a flat white or cappuccino for a strong but balanced treat.
A favorite haunt of both Austrian psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud and Andy Warhol (though obviously not at the same time), Café Korb is a legendary address nearby St. Stephen’s Cathedral. Like the Café Pruckel, it opened in 1904 but was redesigned during the 1960s, giving it a mid-century feel. You can still admire black-and-white photos showing the cafe's earlier guises, though.
The dining room here is smaller than those at some of the other traditional coffeehouses around the capital, but that gives it an intimate feel that can be welcome on cold or rainy days. In addition to a full range of excellent traditional coffees and specialty drinks, Korb is also lauded for its buttery, flaky house apple strudel, so don't hesitate to tuck into a slice. It also serves a full menu of typical Austrian dishes, making it a good choice for lunch, followed by coffee and dessert.