Cafe Frauenhuber

In May 1775 Emperor Joseph II had opened Vienna’s Augarten to the public. He dedicated this beautiful place “to all people”, for their amusement, so dance halls, dining and billiard rooms, refreshment places were established, and restaurateur Ignaz Jahn was put in charge as traiteur. Ignaz Jahn had been appointed Imperial Caterer for Schonbrunn Palace in 1772. In 1775 he started running a restaurant in the Augarten (it was said that nowhere in the world you could drink any better coffee than at Jahn’s, in the Augarten), and later opened a Concert Hall adjacent to his other restaurant, in the main part of the city (now Himmelpfortgasse 6), a Concert Hall which would turn into a performance venue for famous musicians and composers in the years to come: among them, Wolfgang Amadé Mozart and Ludwig van Beethoven. 

Mozart’s arrangement of Handel’s “Acis and Galatea” was performed at Jahn’s Hall in November 1788. His last appearance in public is said to have been the one of 4 March 1791. The first public performance of his “Requiem” would take place at Jahn’s Hall on 2 January 1793 – a benefit concert on behalf of his widow, Constanze, organized by Gottfried van Swieten in support of Mozart’s wife and sons. 

If we look for Jahns Traiteurie today, on Himmelpfortgasse, we will find Café Frauenhuber – presumably Vienna’s oldest coffee house! 

The coffeehouse changed names for a few times since 1824, then settled for Café Frauenhuber in 1891. In this building, two centuries ago guests were treated with musical entertainment by Mozart and Beethoven! Could any name have been more suitable for this street than “Heaven’s Gate” (Himmelpfort)? 

And yes, the waiter did address me with “gnädige Frau“, like I had read on the Welcome page of Café Frauenhuber

I recall the quiet time spent at this coffeehouse, savoring a hot chocolate in its intimate, refined, charming atmosphere, then outside, on the street, letting my eyes explore all the details of the building and its surroundings… It was late in the evening, and few people were passing by, and there was so much peace, like time had stood still, and you felt you could just close your eyes and start walking in Mozart’s footsteps… on the same street… on a 4th of March 1791… 

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