Art work in the Mayflower

Courtesy of The Mayflower

The Most Beautiful Coffee Shops in the World

We’re dedicating our August features to architecture and design. We’ve never been more ready to check into a dreamy new hotelcity hop on the world's most beautiful subways, or relax in a design-forward coffee shop. Now, we’re excited to celebrate the shapes and structures that make our world beautiful with an inspiring story of how one historic city is prioritizing accessibility, how a Swedish cemetery teaches us important lessons about design, an examination of how climate change is impacting the future of architecture, and a look at the must-have features to put together a dream hotel.

Enjoying a cup of coffee is one of the finer pleasures in life, and a hot cup can instantly make any coffee lover’s stress depart for at least a few minutes. But when you linger over your brew in a beautiful environment, it makes the experience even better.

You don’t have to settle for comfy but unattractive ‘90s era coffeehouses, a la Central Perk, and identical Starbucks cafes across the globe. From Tokyo to Vienna, there are hundreds of aesthetically pleasing coffee shops around the world set in everything from new, modern buildings to centuries-old landmarks.

Here are the 12 most architecturally stunning and gorgeously designed coffee shops worldwide.

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Felix Roasting Company

Interior of Felix Coffee Shop

Courtesy of Felix Roasting Company

450 Park Ave S, New York, NY 10016, USA

If designer Ken Fulk is involved, you know a space will be attractive. When the first location of this mini-chain opened in 2018 on a quiet stretch of Park Avenue 12 blocks south of Grand Central, it ushered in a new era of coffee shops in New York City. Soaring ceilings, tiled wall mosaics, plush velvet seating, colorful floral wallpaper, and a rich wood circular bar in the center combine to create a café reminiscent of the opulent coffee shops in Vienna and Prague. Now, the four NYC and singular Aspen locations all have the signature light pink and teal color palette and lavish decor.

02 of 12

Merci Marcel Tiong Bahru

sitting area of Merci Marcel Tiong Bahru

Courtesy of Merci Marcel Tiong Bahru

56 Eng Hoon St, #01-68, Singapore 160056
Phone +65 6224 0113

Located in Singapore’s creative and artistic district Tiong Bahru, Merci Marcel is a bohemian-style cafe with verdant French-Balinese vibes. A lush glasshouse garden patio with exposed brick is a standout, while the interior is designed with a vivid citrus-toned palette, including a mustard checkered tile floor, pink terrazzo tables, and blond wood and gold finishes.

03 of 12

Café Central

Interior of Cafe Central

Courtesy of Cafe Central

Herrengasse 14, Innere Stadt 1010 Wien, Austria
Phone +43 1 5333763

Vienna is famous for its opulent coffeehouses, and one of the most beautiful is one of its oldest, Café Central, which opened in 1876. Located within the Palais Ferstel, a Venetian and Florentine Trecento architecture building, the facade is adorned with sculptures by Hanns Gasser, and the inside has intricate stucco colustro, sumptuous textiles, leather wallpaper, and dark wood paneling. The soaring cathedral ceilings make you feel like you’re in a museum, but the sparkling glass vitrines filled with delectable pastries and the rich coffee scent remind you you’re here to indulge. So do as Sigmund Freud once did and relish the city's ultimate people-watching and conversation venue.

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Nemesis Coffee

Interior ceiling of Nemesis Coffee

Courtesy of Nemesis Coffee

555 Great Northern Way, Vancouver, BC V5T 1E1, Canada

Walking along the 20,000-square-foot plaza next to the entrance of Emily Carr University of Art & Design’s campus in Vancouver, visitors can’t help but notice a striking red flower-shaped pavilion that is at once a work of art and an architectural marvel. Inside is the newest location of local favorite brand Nemesis Coffee. Designed by local architectural firm Perkins + Will, the sparkling red metal shingles on the petal-like exterior shimmer in the sun. The wow factor continues in its interior, with unique sails across the ceiling acting as acoustic panels illuminating the space by reflecting light. A mirrored back-of-house pod floats inside, putting the coffee roasting and commercial kitchen on display. Aside from pleasing customers, the space has received numerous awards and accolades.

Continue to 5 of 12 below.
05 of 12

The Pharmacy Coffee

Interior of Pharmacy Coffee

Courtesy of The Pharmacy Coffee

187 N Church St A, Spartanburg, SC 29306, USA
Phone +1 864-913-1010

Opened by Spartanburg favorite Little River Roasting, the Pharmacy is on the ground floor of the historic Montgomery Building, initially constructed in 1925 and on the National Register of Historic Places. The vibrant coffee shop has a contemporary design yet honors the building’s history as a 1920s-era soda pharmacy. The floors, counters, and art are inspired by Art Deco and mid-century modern themes, and the royal blue and white color palette creates a striking environment surrounding the marble-topped central horseshoe bar.

06 of 12

Tomoca Coffee La Gare

Outdoor patio of Tomoca Coffee La Gare

Courtesy of Tomoca Coffee La Gare

Wawel St, Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
Phone +251 91 172 3482

Ethiopia is the birthplace of coffee, so it stands to reason that the shops there will serve excellent brew. But that doesn’t mean the cafes there will be particularly attractive. Thankfully, Tomoca Coffee, an Addis Ababa institution with multiple locations, serves incredible coffee in lovely environments. Their most eye-catching location is at the no-longer-used La Gare train station, where they built a sleek café inside the old building in 2020. Aesthetically pleasing geometric lines complement curved arches and a minimalist white and gray palette. An outdoor patio faces old train cars that are used to host live music.

07 of 12

Al César

Av. 7 4, Amón, San José, 10101, Costa Rica
Phone +506 7075 1409

Also known as the House of Mirrors, this cafe is located in an iconic house in downtown San Jose, built at the beginning of the 20th century by the Gurdián Agüero family. In the sixties, Mireya Gurdián Agüero, daughter of the original owners, studied in Sorbonne, France, where she studied design. Upon her return, the influence of French design resulted in substantial changes to the original house. Now converted into a cafe, Al César is designed with an eclectic style furnished with restored antique items and 20th-century paintings, arched windows, and gold brass finishes. And of course, Costa Rica grows and produces its own coffee, so you know the drinks will be good.

08 of 12

The Mayflower

Interior of Mayflower

Courtesy of The Mayflower

2/303A Liverpool St, Darlinghurst NSW 2010, Australia
Phone +61 497 305 475

The original Mayflower location inside an old Art Deco-style flower shop celebrates the building’s history by collaborating with several Australian artists, designers, and florists. Inside the chic café constantly being Instagrammed, there are bold and pastel geometric art deco paintings, lavish hanging pink floristry, pastel streaked marble tables, pink velvet chairs, and yes, some pink walls. And as much as they’re known for their décor, their brunch spread is also legendary.

Continue to 9 of 12 below.
09 of 12

Connel Coffee

sitting area of Connel Coffee

Courtesy of Connel Coffee

Japan, 〒107-0052 Tokyo, Minato City, Akasaka, 7-chōme−2−21, Sōgetsu Hall, 2階
Phone +81 3-6434-0192

Japan is known for its minimalist design, and this space is a prime example. It’s inside the Sogetsu Kaikan building, designed by renowned architect Kenzo Tange in the 1970s. Located on the second floor, the coffee shop’s interiors were fashioned by the design firm Nendo and feature massive glass ceilings and windows that look out onto a leafy green forest on one side and a zen stone garden by none other than Isamu Noguchi on the other. Smooth cherrywood floors and counters increase the feeling of being among nature.

10 of 12

Coffeewerk + Press

Exterior of Coffeewerk

Courtesy of Coffeewerk + Press

4 Quay Street, Galway, Ireland
Phone +353 91 448 667

Incredibly chic and charming at the same time, this café and publishing house is located inside a 400-year-old narrow, tall white building with signature yellow accents along a cobblestone street. Inside are comfy yet stylish grey couches with cozy throw pillows, potted fig trees and other plants that provide spots of greenery, and light wood shelves filled with artfully placed books, brass sconces, and a curated selection of Japanese and Scandinavian homewares and prints.

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Caffè Florian

Oriental room at Caffè Florian

Courtesy of Caffè Florian

Address San Marco, 57, 30124 Venezia VE, Italy
Phone +39 041 520 5641

Dating back to 1720, this coffee shop is as beautiful as it is iconic. Considered the oldest café in Europe, its grand interiors recall the 18th century but with a contemporary flavor. Soft red velvet chairs and banquettes, marble-topped or wooden tables, and opulent wallpapers are the backdrops to various elegant rooms, including the Giacomo Casa painting-clad Oriental Room with the intricate inlay ceiling and the Art Noveau-style Liberty Room with its arched ceiling, hand-painted mirrors, wooden inlaid parquet floors, and Murano glass lamps.

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Exterior architecture of COAST

Courtesy of COAST

49901 CA-1, Big Sur, CA 93920, USA
Phone +1 831-667-2301

Nestled among the soaring redwoods and craggy St. Lucia Mountains slopes, this intimate cafe has panoramic views of the rugged Pacific coastline. Built inside three redwood-paneled water tanks, the cozy café features a fireplace, live edge wood coffee tables, circular windows, and a spiral staircase that leads to a rooftop terrace overlooking the ocean. There’s also an art gallery with rare fine art from local and award-winning artists to peruse between sips and bites of organic snacks.

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The Most Beautiful Coffee Shops in the World