six-hundred coffee-houses

The Viennese café was the quintessential meeting place of the city, a well-upholstered extension of the public sphere. As one historian of this era writes, the Viennese café ‘was an institution of a special kind…a sort of democratic club, for discussion, writing and playing cards’. There were about 600 of these coffee-houses in the imperial capital in 1900. Some Viennese conducted most of their work in cafés, often alternating between two or three favorites in a day. One businessman was said to have had his hours printed on his cards thus:

          From 2 to 4 o’clock — Café Landtmann
          From 4 to 5 o’clock — Café Rebhuhn
          From 5 to 6 o’clock — Café Herrenhof

—Richard Cockett, Vienna: How the City of Ideas Created the Modern World (Yale U Press, 2023) p 15

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