Sidewalk café
© WienTourismus / Peter Rigaud

The loveliest sidewalk cafés

When tables and chairs are carried out in front of a coffee house or beisl in Vienna, then summer is just around the corner. The typically Viennese sidewalk cafés are set up on the first warm sunny days in spring. Officially, the season runs from March 1 to November 30.

The sidewalk café is a Viennese specialty and is not just a dining garden. What makes them special is that they are located on public land. Mostly on a square, in a pedestrian zone, on the sidewalk, or in a parking space – but always in the immediate vicinity of the actual establishment, of course. In total, there are around 3,500 sidewalk cafés in Vienna.

The Viennese enjoy the good weather in the sidewalk café. Flower boxes and large plants replace the garden fence, parasols provide cool shade. And, of course, seeing and being seen plays a big role. Those walking by think about taking a short break. Those already sitting there observe the passers-by.

The first "official" Viennese sidewalk café was opened by Johann Jakob "Gianni" Taroni. In 1750, he was granted permission to place tables and chairs in front of his establishment on Graben in the city center. The term probably also originates with this 'Schanigarten' pioneer. Jean or Schani is the Viennese abbreviation of Taroni's first name, Johann. Others derive the word from the request to the waiter's assistant, who used often to be called over with the name "Jean" or "Schani": "Schani, carry the garden out".

Picturesque squares

Naturally, the most beautiful sidewalk cafés are to be found in public squares. On the picturesque St.-Ulrichs-Platz, for example. A Baroque church, cobblestone pavement, the square surrounded by old houses, right in the middle of it the sidewalk cafés of the trendy restaurants Ulrich and Erich, great food and good drinks – this is how Mediterranean flair is created.

The atmosphere on the idyllic Piaristenplatz is similar. Guests can sit here under shady trees with a view of the Baroque Piarist Church. The coziest restaurant is Il Sestante, where the Italian cuisine makes the Italian attitude towards life perfect.

A romantic atmosphere is in the air in the little lanes of the Spittelberg Biedermeier district. Typical Viennese cuisine is served in the lovely sidewalk café of the restaurant Witwe Bolte, while vegetarian cuisine is brought to the table in the pretty Tian Bistro.

Those who like to sit in a classic sidewalk café should stop by 3 Hacken. In the smallest of spaces, lots of plants create a cozy ambience and privacy from the outside. So the good Viennese cuisine can be enjoyed undisturbed. Also prettily framed with plants is the sidewalk café of the restaurant Skopik & Lohn, which offers a mix of Viennese and French cuisine.

The city-end of Praterstrasse has developed into one of the most beautiful sidewalk café areas in Vienna. Wide sidewalks lined with trees that provide shade, little traffic, but instead a few inviting sidewalk cafés. Right next door to Café Ansari and its Georgian cuisine is the sidewalk café of Mochi, where the Japanese food is stunningly good. At Ramasuri, guests sit on colorful chairs outdoors with a view of the Nestroy memorial.

On one of Vienna's oldest squares – the slightly tucked-away Schulhof – lies the sidewalk café of the restaurant Zum Finsteren Stern. Here as well, the sidewalk café is surrounded by a church, old buildings, cobblestone pavement, and trees.

Tips on hidden guest gardens

Ulrich

St.-Ulrichs-Platz 1, 1070 Wien
  • Opening times

    • Mo - Th, 07:30 - 01:00
    • Fr, 07:30 - 02:00
    • Sa, 09:00 - 02:00
    • on holidays - Su, 09:00 - 01:00
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Erich

Neustiftgasse 27, 1070 Wien
  • Opening times

    • Su - We, 09:00 - 01:00
    • Th - Sa, 09:00 - 02:00
    • on holidays, 09:00 - 01:00
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Il Sestante

Piaristengasse 50, 1080 Wien
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Witwe Bolte

Gutenberggasse 13, 1070 Wien
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Tian Bistro on Spittelberg

Schrankgasse 4, 1070 Wien
  • Opening times

    • Mo, 17:30 - 22:00
    • Tu - Fr, 12:00 - 22:00
    • Sa - Su, 10:00 - 22:00
    • kitchen hours differ - check website
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Zu den 3 Hacken

Singerstraße 28, 1010 Wien
  • Opening times

    • Mo - Sa, 11:00 - 00:00
    • on holidays, 11:30 - 23:00
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Café Ansari

Praterstraße 15, 1020 Wien
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Ramasuri

Praterstraße 19, 1020 Wien
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Zum finsteren Stern

Schulhof 8, 1010 Wien
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