If you’ve had enough of cake and coffee in Vienna, you might like something completely different. Like, um, cake and tea.
- The Haas&Haas tea rooms follow the English tradition, but with an international flavour
- Huge, varied food menu in addition to (obviously) a lot of teas
- Afternoon teas a specialty of the house (make reservations)
- Adjacent tea shop a fine source of gifts
- See also:
Sandwiches and scones
(An alternative and elegant beverage experience)
If I told you we have a little place right in the centre of Vienna, just behind the cathedral, where you can drop in for a hot drink…you’d guess at one of the traditional coffee houses, no?
Tucked down below floor level in the shadow of the mighty Stephansdom is a little bastion of tea culture in a city awash with coffee: the Haas&Haas tea rooms, where the waiting staff hold back the tide of roasted Arabica beans with a muffin in one hand and a cucumber sandwich in the other.
As such, this is not the kind of experience normally associated with Vienna. But the Haas&Haas establishment has built an honourable little tea niche for itself.
The closeness to the cathedral becomes evident inside. Sit against the wall facing the square and you look up directly at the great Gothic giant. The room itself is relatively small and cosy with a low vaulted ceiling.
Don’t think of Haas&Haas as a place for philosophical contemplation in dark corners in the coffee house tradition, though.
We relaxed in wicker-back chairs with cushions. Fresh flowers decorated the tables, and the whole room buzzed with conversation as guests enjoyed their Darjeeling with a generous slice of gossip.
The menu offered an unexpectedly broad and comprehensive choice, whether you want breakfast, lunch, a snack…or just a hot drink (including, incidentally, coffee). Plenty of vegetarian options filled the pages.
The influence of tea-drinking regions means you can enjoy a traditional Viennese breakfast, but also try a Japanese or American one, instead (just to pluck out two of the many examples of international cuisine available).
(The location around 1906, then home to the Deutsches Haus restaurant; from a postcard produced by Verlag Reinhold Entzmann & Sohn; Wien Museum Inv.-Nr. 32217; excerpt reproduced with permission under the terms of the CC0 licence)
3pm and time for tea
Obviously, the main thing here is tea: choose from dozens of varieties.
And things take a cultural and historical turn after 3pm, when the afternoon tea delights become available (think sandwiches, scones, cakes, and Regency gentlemen enquiring after your mother’s health).
I had a cream tea with a pot of Assam and found my warm scone, mascarpone, and jam conjuring up memories of church fetes from my home county of Wiltshire in the UK.
Reflecting the international perspective of Haas&Haas, the menu featured various versions of a traditional English afternoon tea experience, but also Russian or East Frisian-flavoured alternatives.
Although we went very much out-of-season, the tables filled up fast in the afternoon. So I’d recommend making a reservation, if you plan to go.
Seating does expand in summer, with a few tables outside the front of the tea shop and even more in a lovely rear courtyard section that feels a little like taking tea in the conservatory.
That same courtyard then hosts Winter in the City through the Advent season. Enjoy hot punch and mulled wine, and warm your hands over open fires.
That rear area also reveals the inside of the Deutschordenshaus complex, where Mozart and Brahms once lived. (I’m not sure of either’s hot beverage of choice.) Another Mozart residence lies just around the corner: the Mozarthaus museum.
The Haas&Haas shop
You should probably reserve a few minutes for browsing the adjacent Haas&Haas shop, too. The store offers a refined selection of tea-related items in the very widest sense of the concept.
For example, fudge and shortbread, fruit gelées, chocolate and candied violets, jams and marmalade, tea sets…and lots and lots and lots of different teas. Not cheap, but a fine place for unique little gifts to take home with you.
How to get to Haas&Haas
First, find your way to the main entrance to Stephansdom. Walk around the south side of the grand old cathedral to find Haas&Haas at the far end.
The tea rooms have two entrances; enter via the main shop entrance on the left of the building or go through into the courtyard accessed through the door on the right (marked Teehaus).
Address: Stephansplatz 4, 1010 Vienna | Website