The Viennese café is an important social institution. Famous people have frequented them, writers have written famous works in them, and musicians flock to them.
The Viennese coffee house is a place to relax and to linger in elegant surroundings, a living room even for those who can't afford a very nice one. Newspapers are all around, even today, when computers have seemed to replace them in most places. For a while, Vienna's famous cafes suffered a downturn, but are now back in full swing. Tourists are a big factor. When was the last time you could say to your partner, "Hey, honey, let's go have a Sacher-Torte and some fine coffee and save a coffee house?"
Below you'll find a list of Vienna's most talked-about cafes, most associated with a famous person, from Hitler to Mozart, who frequented them. It's not a definitive list, just some of the hot spots that have captured traveler attention over the years.
Hotel Sacher Café - Stop in for what they're known for, Sacher-Torte.
Café Sperl, Gumpendorfer Straße 11, is said to be Adolph Hitler's cafe of choice; it was close to the Academy of Fine Arts Vienna that denied his admission (twice), in part because his test sketches had too few people in them. The Cafe Sperl has been around since 1880. Read an experience in Cafe Sperl: At Café Sperl
Cafe Mozart, Albertinaplatz 2, the cafe in the movie The Third Man, now quite touristy. It's been a cafe since 1794 and is now part of the Cafes der Familie Querfeld chain.
Café Frauenhuber, Himmelpfortgasse 6 - Vienna's oldest café. Mozart's favorite, touted on the website. "Mozart´s last public performance took place in our coffeehouse at March 4th, 1791." You can have breakfast or a more serious meal here.
Café Landtmann, Dr.-Karl-Lueger-Ring 4, was Sigmund Freud's preferred café; you'd be crazy not to go there. It's now part of the chain that includes the Cafe Mozart.
If you want to get off the beaten tourist track and have an iOS device like an iPad and appreciate elegantly designed and well-focused apps, you may wish to look into the Vienna Cafes app.