The first coffee shop on public record dates back to 1475 and was located in Istanbul. However, the idea of coffeehouses is said to have started in the Middle East. Coffee was normally taken black until Europeans decided to add cream to it. Pastries and treats started to be paired with coffee. In 1949, the first espresso machine was invented by Gaggia – a company from Italy that makes coffee, cappuccino and espresso machine. Following this trend of a modern age, the coffee house started.
Cafes are a spinoff of classical coffee houses. They added on to the typical coffee house and diner experience. Coffee shops and cafes are a central part of modern life. Most, if not all cities have some version of the two. The beverages are often served with foods influenced by tradition and culture. The menus and preparation techniques vary from one place to the next. As a result, each coffee shop provides a unique experience from taste to visual aesthetics. Cafes are meeting places and cultural landmarks that spark some great ideas and inventions such as – movies, books, TV shows, screenplays and business deals.
As travel has become easier, people have been flocking to countries all around the world to take in the sights and immerse themselves in culture. For people who frequent cafes, finding unique, charming places is one the exciting points in their trip. Some people like grandiose, fancy, spectacular cafes that resemble a king’s throne room, others go for simple, clean, classic and cozy designs. The appearance of a café like any food venue plays an important role in the entire experience. If the décor is ugly, old, rundown or otherwise unappealing to the eyes, chances are the food and drink will taste terrible. Check out this list for some of the coziest cafes around the world.
25 NoCenco Café - Vihn, Vietnam
Designed by Vo Trong Nghia Architects(https://www.dezeen.com/tag/vo-trong-nghia/), the Noceno café in Vihn Vietnam, has an intricate spiral of bamboo structures that swirl from ceiling to floor. It has large open windows that offer a view of the city, river, forest and historical buildings. The bamboo designs of the columns give a tropical, outdoor vibe that no doubt has patrons feeling like they are in a paradise within a paradise. The building is on the top floor of a seven-story building made of concrete – so it is sturdy. The bamboo features merely camouflage the hard columns and ceiling. The large open space, filled with light streaming in from the large windows and doors makes this café with a view, a must see for tourist who visits the area.
24 Pastel Rita - Montreal, Canada
This café has a colour blocking palate that is quite pleasing to the eye. The green, pink and gold of its interior work really well to complement each other in a way you might not have thought of. The colours of the walls alternate between pink and gold while metal fixings, counter and bar chairs are a dark shade of green. There is a booth in the back that is a mesmerizing shade of pastel pink. There is a lot of natural light filtering in through the expansive and meticulously placed glass windows. Another great feature is that it is quite spacious – a feature lacking in many cafes. The atmosphere in the café is best described as warm, relaxing and enticing. You can not only enjoy your coffee but marvel at the beautiful paint job.
23 Caffè Gambrinus - Naples, Italy
The Café Gambrinus was founded in 1860 and has been going strong ever since. It is a very historic café located in close proximity to the Royal Palace of Naples. One of the café’s strongest point is the multitude of paintings from artists such as Gaetano Esposito and Vincenzo Irolli. The food served is top of the line and plays into the sophisticated atmosphere. There are beautiful croissants and cakes and coffee served in beautiful china cups. The décor has a marbled, bright and decorative interior. There are outdoor tables that offer a few of the busy but beautiful piazza.
22 Café SimSim - Jeju Island, South Korea
Café SimSim’s interior features many wooden accents. Logs designed as benches surround a long wooden garden table that is firmly secured in a bed of soil. There are plants all over the room and circular sawings of small, large and long tree stumps everywhere you turn. The café is also decorated with ornate golden light fixtures, shelves with books and chic seating areas. If you happen to visit but do not want to sit at the garden table there are many seating options for you including, tables with metal chairs and cushy couches at glass tables. The café pulls off the outdoor chic theme very effortlessly.
21 Mahika Mano - Tokyo, Japan
Mahika Mano is a hammock themed café in Tokyo, Japan. You can even purchase a hammock while you are there as it also serves as a showroom with the latest hammock designs. Hammocks are comfy but you need to have good balance if you intend to cozy up in one of these with a latte in hand. There are tables in front of each hammock. One hammock can seat 2 – 3 people if they sit upright. If you want one all to yourself all the better! So it has a bit of practicality to it. The wooden floors and beams add a “homey” feel to the place. You will feel like you are relaxing in your loft and chilling with friends.
20 Friends Themed Café - Toronto, Canada
There is a Friend’s themed café in Toronto called Central Café. The décor and design come very close to that of the Central Perk coffee shop where the cast of friends entertained us with their shenanigans. It has a brown three seater couch as the focal point, Persian style rug, armchairs on either side of the sofa. While it is not an exact replica and no Gunther, the café is still the place to go if you are an avid fan of the show. If you happen to be in Toronto or plan to visit, it’s worth checking out.
19 Alma de Café - San José, Costa Rica
The Alma de Café in San Jose Costa Rico is the perfect place to sip cappuccino and imagine what it must have been like in the 1920s. The theme of this café is inspired by the 19th century. It was built seven years ago and features patriotic ceiling frescoes, velvet drapes, ornate chandeliers and bars that look like a church altar. The beautiful artwork covering the walls and the painted ceiling makes it a feast for the eyes as well. The café is in the main lobby of the neo-baroque National Theatre and often stays open late at night to serve patrons leaving late performances.
18 Café Américain - Amsterdam, Netherlands
The leaded stained glass windows and Tiffany lamps inside this 1920’s inspired café are combined with low lighting, dark wood floors and geometric décor. These elements give the space a luxurious but warm, inviting feel. The café is part of the Amsterdam hotel and is one of the first places that guests visit while waiting for their reservations. The chefs who work at the café are renowned in their field. Some of the dishes served are a bouillabaisse, Gazpacho, Prawn cocktail, Vitello tomato and steak tartare. The bar has an impressive menu with drinks that are perfect from morning to night.
17 La Marelle Café & Boutique - Bahgdad Street, Singapore
To say that this café is colourful would be an understatement. The walls are pink, purple, blue, white and covered in fun illustrative designs of clouds and rains. There are beautiful light fixtures that resemble large paper lanterns hanging from the ceiling. The ceiling above the counter and art display area have a creative design of colourful, mystical garden. The room is bright and is the perfect place for a creative person to hang out. It does appeal to children as well – so it is a place where families will most certainly feel comfortable. There are paint sets and games for interested patrons to try as well. Once you are in this café you will feel like you have entered another universe and the outside world will cease to exist.
16 Fresh Fruits Lab - Kembangan, Singapore
The Fresh Fruit lab is known for fruity lattes with natural and artificial flavours. These lattes include butterfly pea flower latte, green tea latte and sweet potato latte. The desserts are gorgeous and one can only imagine that the taste is equally appealing. The menu features burgers, baked salmon, breakfast items and a kids menu. The décor is fun and creative. The walls are covered in paintings of fruits, some tables are decorated with flowers, stuffed unicorns, test tubes with colourful liquid inside and some unique knick-knacks such as a ceramic flower decorated serviette box. There is a corner of the café with a chalk-drawn periodic table and lab equipment. This café is chemistry lab meets carnival, meets café and art shop.
15 Aunty Peg’s Café – Melbourne, Australia
This café is housed in a large warehouse decorated with chic carpets, hardwood floors, tables and sofa chairs. It is owned by the owner of the Proud Mary Coffe brand. A section of the café acts as a showroom of sorts where people can get a behind the scenes glimpse into the coffee making process. There is also a coffee bar, event space, retail shop, bakery and barista training center. At the front of the café, there is a wall shelf with coffee paraphernalia and an area showcasing coffee flavours guests can try before they buy. This café is a one-stop shop for coffee lovers everywhere.
14 Café Leila – Tbilisi, Georgia
Café Leila is housed in a building built in the ’70s by students from the Tbilisi State Academy of Arts. The ceiling is decorated with stars, each table has a different look and the live music is calming. The wall art is illustrations of people in ancient traditional garb placed between intricately carved wall designs. The cafe says specializes in healthy Georgian foods at affordable prices. The café is famous for its lemonades and compotes as well as a few other drinks. The room is comfortable and surrounded by culture, you will definitely feel the spirit of Tbilisi in this place.
13 Shinise Cafe & Bistro - George Town, Penang
Located in George Town, Penang, this café has live music, hearty food, coffee and baked goods. It’s a vintage café in a prewar building. The menu is inspired by western dishes complimented with local flavours. Some items on the menu are Mushroom Carbonara pasta, Malaysian Rendang chicken and salmon. There is a section of the café where handwritten, notes, postcards and photos are hung on display for all to see. There are shelves filled with books and antique pieces. The tables and ceiling beams are made of wood and the chairs are made of wicker. The walls are draped in hanging vines that gives the room an outdoorsy feel.
12 Konditori Ritorno - Stockholm, Sweden
This 50’s retro café in Stockholm, Sweden features dark wood tables, yellow walls and red carpets. The vibe here is best described as funky and relaxed. The café attracts people from all age groups and is popular with elderly regulars who actually remember what the 50s were like. The décor is not quite uniform but everything ties into the other. The floral chairs are red, yellow and white but they complement the red walls and some yellow chairs. If you are not drawn to the décor the free filter coffee refills are a great incentive to giving this place a try.
11 Ovaltine Cafe - Vancouver, Canada
Built in 1942, the Ovaltine Café has a distinct vintage feel to it. The neon lights give outside the café are absolutely cool and can serve as a backdrop for some pretty interesting photos. Inside, you will find smooth red vinyl stools drilled into the floor, along Formica bar and high walled wooden booths. An interesting fact about the café was featured in The X-Files and Supernatural. If you are a fan of either show, you have to at least go there to say you’ve been on a set location for your favourite show. There is a vintage machine that prepares the Ovaltine shake – a staple drink of the restaurant.
10 Cat Café Macskakávézó - Budapest, Hungary
Cat Café Macskakávézó opened in 2014 in Budapest. There is an entrance fee for customers who want to cuddle with some of the cutest kittens known to man. You can sip on a coffee, tea or spritzer as you bite into a slice of cake and hug a temporary pet. There are also board games to challenge your mind. The décor is nothing fancy, just some run of the mill chairs and tables – but who cares about that when there are cats and board games? The space is open and inviting with two stories and all the space the kitties need to play.
9 Blómasetrið Kaffi Kyrrð - Borgarnes, Iceland
This location has a guest house - Blómasetrið and a café - Kaffi Kyrrð all in one building. The coffee shop is also a gift shop where people can pick up little trinkets to decorate their home or serve as a souvenir. The atmosphere in the café is tranquil and calm. There is an outdoor patio as well that gives a good view of the street. The town of Borgarnes is described as a hidden treasure chest so it’s fair to say that the coffee shop and guest house are diamonds in that box. The guest house is frequented by tourists but people living in the small town love the coffee shop.
8 Caffe Al Bicerin - Turin, Italy
Another addition to the historic cafes on this list is the Caffe Al Bicerin located in Turin, Italy. It is one of the must-see sites in Turin. The café was built in 1763 – if those walls could talk, imagine the stories they would tell! The décor is made up of dark varnished wood, marble-topped tables with tall red candles that create a warm setting. The highlights of this place are the cozy atmosphere, friendly, reliable staff and the Bicerin. Bicerin is a hot chocolate beverage with a shot of espresso. It is rich, tantalizing and creamy – a perfect drink on a chilly day.
7 Tomoca – Addis Ababa, Ethiopia
This coffee shop is located in the heart of Ethiopia’s capital city and it makes coffee sourced locally from the highlands. There is no seating so patrons stand and sip their beverages while taking in the African-themed décor, vintage furnishings, maps and ornaments. People can also buy coffee that is ground up in-store and packaged in neat take away bags. The coffee shop prides itself on being a star attraction in the city that people are drawn to because of the friendly Aurora, love and respect in the place. It aims to keep the Ethiopian culture of togetherness while enjoying coffee.
6 Bistrot du Peintre - Paris, France
This is a café –bistro that was built in 1902 in La Bastille – one of the oldest suburbs in Paris. It has changed names a few times – from Au Carrefour to La Palette Bastille. The current name has been in existence since 1993. There is a lot of history in the café itself as well as the surrounding areas. In addition to the beautifully decorated indoors of the café, there is an expansive outdoor dining area as well. The cuisine is very affordable so you won’t have to break the bank just to eat here. The menu includes poached egg and red wine, steak tarte and salads. There is also an upstairs area that is quite spacious warm and cozy.
5 Fazil Bey – Istanbul, Turkey
This coffee house, located in Istanbul Turkey, has been around since 1923 and offers some aromatic traditional coffee. The coffee beans are grounded and roasted in the café using antique machines. The prices are relatively affordable and the coffee drinking experience is phenomenal. At the counter, you will find bags of coffee beans piled neatly in a corner beside the machines. The paintings on the wall are reminiscent of the past and pieces of Turkey’s rich history. The tables and chairs inside are small but fine for a coffee shop. The large circular light fixtures emit warm yellow light. It’s not too cluttered, the décor is just perfect.
4 Alice’s Tea Cup - New York City, USA
Alice’s Tea Cup is a whimsical, magically delightful coffee shop in New York City. It was founded in 2001 by two sisters Haley and Lauren Fox who wanted to provide an unforgettable experience while enjoying their scones and coffee. They wanted to create a tea room that was not in any way typical or cliché. The menu is diverse and appeals to every age and complements the teas being served. It’s a quiet place with many return customers. It feels like home with cute and endearing photos that both children and adults can appreciate. The cakes, teas and scones are the highlights of the menu. There are over 140 teas from around the world available. The Alice tea is black vanilla tea with rose and rosehip. If you bring children, they can get sprinkled in glitter – adults who are kids at heart can enjoy as well.
3 Milano Café – Vancouver, Canada
The Milano Café in Vancouver first opened its doors in 1984. The owner brought his decades of knowledge on brewing coffee the Italy way. The current owners were his apprentices so all the knowledge and technique is still present in the way things are done today. The décor is a simple modern style with not much furniture inside. The seating areas have stools placed in front of a long bench. The café is great for hanging out with friends in a chill environment with sort of a minimalist vibe. There is just enough wall art present to make it interesting but not so much that it is overbearing.
2 Bone China Café - Cornwall, England
Bone China is described by its owners as a vintage-inspired eatery. The space’s décor reflects their passion for all things vintage and elegant. The décor is rustic but modern and books are all over this café. The beautiful décor and delicate china give you a café experience that is best described as a fancy tea time with your neighbour. It is situated in Cornwall, UK. The menu includes cakes, puddings, Serrano cooked hams, smoked salmon, burgers and sloppy Joes. There is something for everyone. Each chair and table in the establishment is different than the next. It’s not tacky at all – this design feature is a perfect fit for the theme of the café.
1 Café La Biela - Buenos Aires, Argentina
Café La Biela is a traditional café in the Recoleta district of Buenos Aires Argentina that has been around since the 19th century. It was popular with politicians, writers, artists and media celebrities back in the day and it has not lost its appeal. In 1999, it was declared as a place of cultural interest by the city of Buenos Aires. There are photos of the building’s rich and colourful past on the walls. The décor is mainly wood with flowing curtains hanging in front of the windows. There are memorabilia such as lamps, horns and race cars decorating the space as well.