Few locations recommend themselves more for conversations on life, the universe and everything than a Viennese coffee house. So what better than one named for a great German philosopher?
- Lovely mix of the old and new
- Creative breakfast menu (in more ways than one)
- Outside the centre, so cheaper coffees in comparison
- See also:
Traditional & modern
(The small space to the left has outdoor seating in warmer times)
The 18th district (called Währing), for example, covers some of the villa-filled nobler parts of the city, but sightseeing buses rarely trouble the locals.
Währing has its attractions, though. And one is Café Schopenhauer, located at the inner edge of the district not far from the Gürtel series of roads that splits Vienna into outer and inner rings.
This coffee house lies on a corner of Schopenhauerstraße, and both take their name from the philosopher, Arthur Schopenhauer, who died in 1860.
Schopenhauerstraße apparently used to be called Wienerstraße (literally: Vienna street), which presumably felt a bit silly once the suburb of Währing became part of the city at the end of the 1800s.
Anyway, the café struck me as a perfect balance of the traditional and the new. What you might call contemporary traditional, perhaps? The Wiener Moderne updated for the 2020s. A coffee house for today’s Vienna.
For those in pursuit of historical ambience, you have interior décor that feels and looks early 1900s in style and origin (though I could be wrong): brass lamp fittings, upholstered niches, marble table tops, tall ceilings, a wooden and glass vestibule, card tables crowned in green felt, and dark herringbone parquet flooring…
One wall even had a copy of Max Kurzweil’s Woman in a Yellow Dress, which he painted in 1899. And our coffee arrived on the time-honoured silver-coloured metal tray.
(The entrance and logo)
For those in pursuit of modern ambience, you have waiting staff in ripped jeans and a t-shirt, world music playing quietly, a bar-like area, an integrated bookstore, orchids on the window pane, and plenty of sockets for your laptop or phone.
So Café Schopenhauer feels a little like Vienna in miniature. Looking forward and back. Keeping up with the times while steeped in the past. Fewer elderly gentlemen hidden behind giant newspapers and more tousled twentysomethings stooped behind a laptop.
Coffee prices, incidentally, seemed inexpensive compared to the traditional cafés of the city centre. And any breakfast menu that has a strong organic element, plenty of creativity, and items named after philosophers has my instant approval.
You might order a simple Immanuel Kant (roll or croissant with butter plus jam or honey) or push the boat out for a full stuffed pretzel croissant a la Friedrich Nietzsche.
A cappuccino is still a cappuccino, though.
The homemade cake options vary apparently, and included gluten-free and vegan choices on our visit. Gugelhupf seems to be a regular, though, and the slice that appeared on my wife’s plate was a truly generous portion.
I liked the place. Wish it was nearer my home.
How to get to Café Schopenhauer
The coffee house lies just a short walk from the subway station Währinger Straße-Volksoper (on the U6 line) and the Volksoper opera house (so feels like a solid option for a post-opera tipple).
Währinger Straße-Volksoper also has tram and bus stops. So, for example, you can travel out from the central Schottentor station on trams 40, 41 and 42 or bus 40A; the journey takes 7-8 minutes.
Address: Staudgasse 1, 1180 Vienna | Website