Café Dias, next to Panta Rhei Bookstore  ©

Café Dias, next to Panta Rhei Bookstore ©

Cafe culture is BIG in Bratislava. Believe it or not, there are articles out there which put it second only to Paris in Europe! But let’s put it this way. There are a surprising number of really quality cafes tucked away in the cobbled Old Town streets – and when the sun’s out and the outside tables emerge, along with the smell of freshly roasted beans… there really is a beautiful and very special vibe in the city.  

The tea scene is perhaps a little more underground (in a few cases very literally) – although conversely tea-drinking is a bigger part of Slovak culture. But take your time and follow your nose (and our recommendations, obviously) to some tea houses where tea is an art, perhaps almost a lifestyle choice and – beyond doubt – where some of the city’s best locales for sheer hanging-out are.

As you do explore, you’ll find that both with the cafes and the teahouses, there are two distinct types of places: the ultra-modern that could fit effortlessly into more-or-less any city and what we like to call the quintessential Slovak places. On here we do (or will) feature plenty of the former – but we’re mostly concerned with the latter, because after all you want to experience something in Slovakia you can’t experience elsewhere, right? What makes a classic found-nowhere-else SLOVAK type of joint? That’s a question that’s more difficult to answer, and one you’ll find your own answer to anyway. But for us it’s something very understated: an effortless urbane-ness that comes from Bratislava being within easy reach of a whole host of European influences, Austrian right through to Hungarian. There is dark wood, great espresso, an inordinate number of fruit and herb teas and above all unlimited linger-ability involved, though – of that we are convinced!

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