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
- See also:
A local review
(The main entrance)
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 and parquet flooring?
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.
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, consider it a living museum for the 1950s, with its olive-green sofas and perforated lampshades on brass and bamboo stands.
The location 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.
(Café Prückel not long after it first opened in a photo published by Verlag bzw. k. u. k. Universitätsbuchhandlung R. Lechner (Wilh. Müller); Wien Museum Inv.-Nr. 79000/10723; excerpt reproduced with permission under the terms of the CC0 licence)
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 a restored Jugendstil ceiling decorated with golden foliage.
My coffee was excellent, the service a touch more friendly than in the very traditionalist of traditional cafés (a waiter once talked with me about the weather…be still my beating English heart). 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.
Café Prückel makes its own contribution to this local flair, serving as a host for exhibitions, lectures, and music: an in-house theatre in the basement offers regular readings, plays and other performances.
The place certainly had more of a lived-in dynamism than many of its ilk, with fewer hushed voices and an authenticity born of various tribes of local customers.
You might come across smartly-attired folk grabbing breakfast before work, professorial types reading the papers, or a young student couple arguing over an exhibition. Many tables were reserved on my first visit, even on a cold January weekday morning.
(Photo courtesy of Café Prückel and © AchimBieniek.com)
I’ve returned several times now for working breakfasts with a colleague, making use of the outdoor seating in warmer seasons. I usually go for the basic Wiener Frühstück (fresh rolls, soft-boiled egg, and a melange coffee).
Incidentally, the street on one side (Wollzeile) takes you right into the very centre. Wander up it to discover a few more culinary delights that include:
- L. Heiner (at No.9): a Café-Konditorei that dates back to the days of the Austrian Empire
- Öfferl (at No.31): a popular organic bakery
- Café Diglas (at No.10): another coffee house with a long tradition and one-time haunt of the composer, Franz Lehár
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