Cafes & Coffee Shops

More Of The World’s Weirdest Cafes

In the news this week, an infamous Nazi-themed cafe in Indonesia has shut down after gaining a reputation for its bizarre subject matter. The SolatenKaffee was first closed in 2013 after a backlash, before later being reopened, but now it has closed due to a lack of customer interest. Undeterred, the owner plans to open a larger premises in a more popular location. He hasn’t confirmed when or where, but we can expect this cafe to be filled with more World War II memorabilia and plenty of references to Hitler, as it has been until now.

This got us thinking about some of the other strange and sometimes sinister cafes we have seen and heard about over the years. Here is a quick run-down of some of the weirdest examples from the past and present.

Cafe de L’Enfer – This uniquely creepy cafe/nightclub has been closed since the 1950s, but it lasted much longer than many of its contemporaries (including a prison-themed venue) which peaked in popularity in late 19th century Paris. The Cafe de L’Enfer was entirely hell-themed, with a huge demonic face framing the entrance and disturbing decorations throughout.

Vampire Cafe – Experience Transylvania in the centre of Tokyo at the truly creepy Vampire Cafe, where the food and drinks are pricey but uniquely Dracula-themed. Everything from the menu to the décor is impressively spooky, making it well worth a visit.

Grand View Cafe – This cafe in Maine, USA, was shut down several years ago. People expected this to happen given that all its staff has to work topless. Unsurprisingly, many considered this inappropriate. However, the alleged reason for the 2011 closure was a simple dispute over local zoning regulations.

Molecule Water Cafe – Most people tend to enjoy hot drinks at cafes, whether that’s a standard tea, coffee or one of the countless variations on offer. Even milkshakes are common choices, but who goes to a cafe and just drinks… water? Apparently, the customers at the Molecule Cafe in New York City, which is renowned for its scientifically superior H2O.

Cat Cafes – So maybe these aren’t sinister at all, but a few years ago the concept would certainly have sounded insane. The trend seems to have originated in Japan, where people in the busiest cities rarely have space for pets in their compact homes. After letting cats roam free in cafes proved hugely popular in places like Tokyo, the concept has gradually spread around the world and there are new cat cafes popping up across the UK regularly.

Viennese Café Culture

Viennese Café Culture

In the Austrian capital of Vienna, café culture is at its peak. The selection of coffee shops on offer is wonderful, and you won’t find anywhere in the world more relaxed and charming to stop for a drink, or an entire afternoon. It’s one of the best places we have found for café enthusiasts to visit and we highly recommend you try it!

There is a saying in Vienna that while visiting a café there, you consume time and space, but all that’s listed on the bill at the end is your drink. The idea is that cafés are places to spend time thinking and talking, not just getting refreshments. Following a long day, you’re made to feel welcome and relaxed, in a calm place where you can read quietly, contemplate the big questions and discuss it all with like-minded patrons.

In fact, while doing all this to your heart’s content, you really get a sense that some of the world’s biggest historical stories may have intertwined with the rich culture around Vienna and its cafés. It’s not hard to picture some of the great thinkers of Europe finding solace in the quaint streets and coffee shops here, inspiring them to create new ideas and make big changes in the world. (more…)

The World’s Most Unique Coffee Shops

Coffee shops can be found on nearly every street corner, not just in the UK but all over the world. We just can’t get enough! But do you prefer the big brands like Starbucks and Caffe Nero, or perhaps you’re more interested in the smaller, quirky places that are a little less known? We’ve compiled a list of some of the most fabulous independent coffee shops in the world, and after looking at some of these you might be a lot keener to try something different next time.

The Vintage Emporium, LondonThe Vintage Emporium, London

This cafe in the heart of London is a truly unique experience. Not only do they serve up great coffee, the Emporium doubles as an antique shop. You can take a seat and relax surrounded by old curiosities, with many items from the Victorian era on display and almost all of the pieces available to buy. This bizarre boutique is well worth a visit.

The Grounds, Alexandria, AustraliaThe Grounds, Alexandria, Australia

Built inside the shell of a historic warehouse, The Grounds is perhaps the ultimate hipster coffee shop, featuring some incredible industrial yet cosy décor. Its lush surroundings are enhanced by a beautiful herb garden, and the coffee itself is produced with beans from all over the world in a high-tech facility right next door – you can see all the action as it happens through a glass wall from the cafe. (more…)

How seasonal branding has changed in food service

starbucks christmas cupsMany large food service brands in the UK and across the globe are known for their seasonal branding. It’s classed as a major sign that Christmas is officially approaching when the likes of McDonald’s and Starbucks roll out their annual festive menus, cup designs and promotional campaigns. Supermarkets and pretty much every other sort of retailer tend to undergo branding adjustments for major holidays, but for them it’s more a case of survival. Regardless of where they do their shopping, people still visit cafes and restaurants over the festive season, and in fact they probably do it even more so, so why do they even need to put so much effort into the colour of their cups?

In reality this trend is relatively recent, only happening over the last 10 years or so on the scale we see now. The overwhelming need for businesses to throw themselves into rebranding exercises over Christmas (and to a lesser extent, other events like Easter and Valentine’s Day) has seemingly stemmed from a wider trend for the power of nostalgia and emotion. (more…)

Unusual cafes in the UK

cereal cafesWe think it’s great that there are an increasing number of unique and interesting cafes popping up in the UK. There has been a boom in new businesses catering to different niche areas over the last few years, so here is a collection of some of our favourite ideas.

Cat cafes

This one has to be our top choice, as the idea of a cafe with added cats is simply inspired. cat cafesYou can find these in London, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Nottingham to name a few, and although they’re all completely independent each one has rave reviews. There’s nothing radical about the cafes themselves or the food and drink available, but the bonus of having friendly cats wandering around is enough to bring visitors flocking, and most of these have customers booking their slots weeks in advance (but we think it’s worth it). (more…)

The rise of cafe culture in the UK

The rise of cafe culture in the UKIn recent years, there has been rapid development of cafe culture in the United Kingdom. This has gone beyond the popular high street coffee chains that have been able to make good names for themselves. This rapid rise of café culture has been enhanced by those cafes which have been able to change and meet the specific needs of the customers, who end up spending more and more time (and money) in those cafes.

The most successful examples encourage their visitors to stay longer by creating a quality experience from start to finish. However, the food and drink available are still vitally important and many cafes have opted to cater to niche markets. For instance, you will come across a lot cafes specialising in ice cream, freshly made smoothies, coffee cocktails and many others. This is what has led to development of the café culture, not only in the UK but around the world. (more…)