Last updated on May 9th, 2020
The Café Central is one of the most emblematic cafés in Vienna. It is 140 years old, making it a truly historic scene. In the building’s first twenty years, it gave home to the Austro-Hungarian Central Bank and the stock exchange of the ground floor, which then moved out in 1876, leaving space for the café to open. The café shortly became the center of Vienna’s bustling Café Culture. During the beginning of the previous century such intellectuals inhabited it like Sigmund Freud and Franz Kafka, but politicians, such as Adolf Hitler and Vladimir Lenin also visited the café. It gained the nickname “The Chess School” because it was much loved among chess players, who used the building’s first floor for their matches. Later on, the café closed after the Second World War and reopened in the 80s. Today it is a very popular place to visit in Austria’s capital. The whole building’s scale is grandiose; each floor was built prestigiously tall. The first floor has an ornate ballroom shaped like the bow of a ship. Inside you can still find the portraits of Emperor Franz Joseph I and his wife Elisabeth of Austria. The ceiling is made of many beautifully decorated vaults. It is quite a typical European café, with many small circular tables, velvet booths by the windows with simple, but yet stylish chandeliers hanging above. Its wide windows let the café fill with natural light and the visitors to comfortably view the street life of the center.