Cafe Sperl is one of the most charming of the old coffee houses of Vienna, Austria. Tucked away in the 6th District of Vienna, it feels far away from the more touristy hustle and bustle of Vienna’s first district and Ringstrasse while only being a 5-minute walk away.
The interior is very much of the classic Viennese coffee house of old, presenting a slightly faded charm with soaring ornate plaster ceilings, velvet curtains, dark stained wood, antique brass, and glass chandeliers and a more traditional approach to service. As a visitor you are encouraged to linger over your coffee, read its huge selections of newspapers, people watch or gossip.
Coffee is served on a silver tray with a serviette, spoon and a free glass of water. I have been told the glass of water is a symbol of the hospitality both to lift the partons spirits and to indicate the customer is welcome to linger as long as they want over their coffee. Coffee has long been considered one of the great delights of Vienna, along with wiener schnitzel and torte and continues to be well celebrated in the traditional coffee house. Coffee styles include the “Melange” which the Viennese equivalent of the “flat white” or white coffee, the “Kleiner Brauner” which is a short black, and a Schwarzer, being more of a long black. Also served are ice coffees, hot and iced chocolate, an assortment of teas, various cakes and strudels including a very good Sacher-Torteand small meals.
Café Sperl has been and continues to be a place students, writers, artists, politicians and everybody else can gather and enjoy one of life’s simple pleasures. The Viennese coffee house has long served as the public lounge room to the residents of Vienna and still continues this great tradition.
For me, Café Sperl is my favorite old style of coffee house. Whenever I have visitors in Vienna, this is my first stop in acquainting them with the special graces of ordering from a Viennese waiter, enjoying the space and time offered in the coffee house and how to tip correctly. From there it is an easy walking distance to other great attractions in Vienna including the Museums Quartier, The Vienna Session building and the Nachmarkt three of my other top tips for visiting Vienna. If you have caught the coffee house bug after visiting Café Sperl, other great coffee houses that come highly recommended and are just a little off the touristy path include, Café Prückel on the Ringstrasse and Cafe Hawelka in Vienna’s first district. Enjoy your coffee.