Viennese coffee houses to display UNESCO logos

Vienna’s world-famous coffee house culture was added to the UNESCO Intangible Cultural Heritage list in 2011. And now a list is being drawn up to decide which coffeehouses will be entitled to display the coveted logo.

The first batch of Viennese cafés are set to put their logos up in November 2013, showing the rest of the world that they are at the vanguard of coffeehouse culture.

The UNESCO logo can be displayed at the entrance or on the menu as a sticker, or as a graphic element on the coffeehouse website.

With the finishing touches still to be added to the list, an expert committee is currently assessing which cafés will make the final cut. Fixed entries are old favourites such as Hawelka, Landtmann and Prückel in the historic city centre, as well as a number of lesser known gems such as Café Goldegg in the fourth district or Café Sperlhof in the second district. “It’s not possible to rate a coffeehouse as you would a hotel,” explained Maximilian Platzer, head of the Viennese Coffeehouse Owners’ Club, “you have to see it in its own context as a separate microcosm.”

The criteria booklet used by the Viennese Coffeehouse Owners’ Club in its selection process outlines a range of different features such as furnishings (e.g. traditional marble-topped coffeehouse tables, bentwood chairs and large chandeliers), menus and service (e.g. glass of tap water served with every cup of coffee, breakfasts, waiters’ attire), as well as details such as newspapers and magazine, live piano music, or billiard tables. According to Mr Platzer, none of the establishments is expected to fulfil every last one of the criteria; around 80 per cent should be enough to make it onto the list. In all, around 100 Viennese coffeehouses will be given the honour of displaying the UNESCO logo.