Café Central is a traditional Viennese café located at Herrengasse 14 in the Innere Stadt first district of Vienna, Austria. The café occupies the ground floor of the former Bank and Stockmarket Building, today called the Palais Ferstel after its architect Heinrich von Ferstel.
The café was opened in 1876, and in the late 19th century it became a key meeting place of the Viennese intellectual scene. Key regulars included: Peter Altenberg, Theodor Herzl, Alfred Adler, Egon Friedell, Hugo von Hofmannsthal, Anton Kuh, Adolf Loos, Leo Perutz, Alfred Polgar and Leon Trotsky. In January 1913 alone, Josip Broz Tito, Sigmund Freud, Adolf Hitler, Vladimir Lenin, and Leon Trotsky (the latter two being regulars) were patrons of the establishment.
Until 1938 the café was called the "Chess school" (Die Schachhochschule) because of the presence of many chess players.
A well known story is that when Victor Adler objected to Count Berchtold, foreign minister of Austria-Hungary, that war would provoke revolution in Russia, even if not in the Habsburg monarchy, he replied: "And who will lead this revolution? Perhaps Mr. Bronstein (Leon Trotsky) sitting over there at the Cafe Central?"
The café closed at the end of World War II. In 1975, the Palais Ferstel was renovated and the Central was newly opened, however in a different part of the building. In 1986, it was fully renovated once again.
Today it is both a tourist spot and a popular café marked by its place in literary history.
Cafe Central in Vienna interior near entrance with statue of Peter Altenberg
- Marboe, Ernst Wolfgang (1989). Café Central. Vienna: Verlag Müller. ISBN 9783900784065.
- Hoffman, Edward (1994). The Drive for Self: Alfred Adler and the founding of Individual Psychology. Reading, MA: Addison Wesley, pp. 52, 77, 85-86, 101
- Thunder at Twilight: Vienna 1913/1914 , Frederic Morton.
- A. J. P. Taylor, in The Struggle for Mastery in Europe 1848-1918 (1980)
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