With most coffee houses in Vienna you imagine travelling back to the early 1900s. Café Prückel does indeed take you on a journey through time, but stops off for a slice of cake and an espresso in the 1950s.
- Original mid-20th-century decor
- Very “local” coffee house, full of Viennese when I went
- Handy for the MAK Museum of Applied Arts and Contemporary Art
- See also: Vienna cafés
A local review
A lot of folk pointed me to Café Prückel as a classic Viennese coffee house, so I was a bit surprised on entering.
Where were all the marble tabletops?
No parquet flooring?
Upholstered armchairs as seats?
No stucco ceiling?
The waiting staff were dressed reassuringly in black tie, and the coffee came on a tray, so some of the right boxes were ticked. But my brow furrowed in confusion.
Turns out not every authentic, traditional coffee house has to look like an authentic, traditional coffee house.
(Photo courtesy of Café Prückel and © AchimBieniek.com)
First built in the early 1900s, a large portion of Café Prückel underwent a refit in 1954 at the hands of architect and interior designer, Oswald Haerdtl. And little has changed since. As such, it’s a living museum for the 1950s, with its olive green sofas and perforated lampshades on brass and bamboo stands.
It all has a touch of The Marvellous Mrs Maisel about it, particularly in the faded pink and yellow stripes of the ceiling, the tall windows, and mirrored walls. No dusky niches in Café Prückel.
If you do miss that turn-of-the-century flair, go through to the side away from the Ring boulevard. That part has more of a wood and wicker feel, with an Art Nouveau ceiling decorated in golden foliage.
My coffee (a melange) was excellent, the service a touch more friendly than in the very traditionalist of traditional cafés. The menu rivals that of a restaurant, but you can, of course, get your cakes and pastries.
The café lives in the shadow of various artistic institutions, including the Museum of Applied Arts and the University dedicated to the same topic. And Café Prückel makes its own contribution to this local flair: an in-house theatre in the basement offers regular readings, plays and other performances.
There was certainly a little bit more of a lived-in, dynamism to the place, with fewer hushed voices and an authenticity born of various tribes of local customers: businessmen grabbing breakfast before work, professorial types reading the papers, a young student couple. Many tables were reserved, even on a cold January weekday morning.
And to cap it all, the waiter talked about the weather. Be still my beating English heart.
How to get to Café Prückel
On the east side of the old town, the Prückel sits next to Stubentor, a station served by the U3 subway line, the 2 tram and the 3A and 74A buses.
Stubentor means Stuben-gate and hints at the historical function of the location – you even see part of the old city walls across the square from the coffee house.
Address: Stubenring 24, 1010 Vienna | Website
At the time of writing, open daily from 8.30am to 10pm (except Dec 24-26).