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The Warsaw Voice » Culture » June 11, 2008
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Taste of Bygone Elegance
June 11, 2008 By Magda Kuszewska   
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Vienna 100 ago: this sums up Café Bristol. Located on the Bristol Hotel's ground floor, it boasts interior design and a menu invoking the Viennese café tradition. The elegant, spacious interior with wooden furniture and huge panes of glass in the windows draws attention. The hotel's location on Warsaw's so-called Royal Route next to the Old Town makes it a spot often visited by foreign tourists. And, as it is close to the presidential palace, politicians frequently drop in as well.

Looking down from the walls are historical black-and-white photos: politician and famous pianist Ignacy Paderewski, the hotel's founder; Nobel Prize-winning scientist Maria Skłodowska-Curie; composer Karol Szymanowski; and painter Pablo Picasso. Café Bristol opened in the fall of 1901, initially taking up the basement and second floor.

A sign on the door informed patrons it was open every day until 2 a.m. Today, unfortunately, Café Bristol closes quite early, at 8 p.m. That's a major downside. Some guests may also find the lack of air conditioning a problem, but others are sure to appreciate the ambiance.

The café's assets include an atmosphere seldom to be found at other establishments in Warsaw, its slow rhythm, the aroma of freshly ground coffee, and a wide selection of goodies from the hotel bakery (tiramisu, mousse, ice cream, pastries, cakes). The menu includes light meals like salads and sandwiches as well as alcoholic beverages. Warsaw high society enjoys coming here for breakfast (priced from zl.39).

Café Bristol is a gem, standing out from café chains where guests grab their paper cups and move on.

Café Bristol, 42/44 Krakowskie Przedmieście St., open 8 a.m.-8 p.m.
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