Cafe Malipop

Cafe Malipop: a great Vienna cafe turns 40!

Leigh Turner
Leigh Turner

Cafe Malipop is one of the finest, weirdest and most unique cafes in a city of fine, weird and unique cafes.  Worth a visit.

Is kissing allowed in the Cafe Malipop?

How about smoking?

How about being cool and hanging out?

Clue: only one of these activities is allowed in the Cafe Malipop.

Here are eight reasons I rate the Cafe Malipop one of my great Vienna cafes (links in bold italics are to posts on this site).

Eight reasons Cafe Malipop rocks

(i) Viennese cafes, like London pubs, occasionally get “renovated” and, sometimes, ruined.  You can feel safe at the Malipop.  No renovation has taken place there since time began;

Cafe Malipop

The Malipop: how a late-night cafe should be

(ii) the 10 Ungargasse address in Vienna’s Third District is far from the tourist trail, indeed far from trails of any kind unless you study at the nearby Music University;

(iii) like the Hard Rock Cafe, the Malipop has a song about it.  Malipopwritten and crooned by legendary singer, activist and comedian Willi Resetarits (also known as Dr Kurt Ostbahn) in impenetrable Viennese dialect, opening with the lines:

Heid noch im Malipop, drink i an feanet, iss i an schbedsialdosd und rauch a smaat…

This means roughly: this evening in the Malipop I am drinking a Fernet, eating a special toast (English: a croque monsieur) and smoking a “Smart” (a cult brand of cheap cigarettes).  The song praises the Malipop – rightly – as a refuge from the hectic world outside;

(iv) the Malipop has been run since 1 March 1979 by the rather magnificent Margit Wolf.  Wolf lends the establishment immense character;

(v) according to this article (in German) Wolf has for years imposed a “Schmuseverbot” (ban on kissing) on the grounds that “it is uncommunicative and prevents mobility”.  Such a ban is of course reminiscent of the kissing ban I experienced myself in the Gmoa Keller, a few hundred metres back in 1986 (link contains picture of me at that time), imposed by the late lamented Grete Novak;

Cafe Malipop

The Malipop has many fine features

(vi) despite the song, the Malipop introduced a smoking ban long before this became law in Austria.  On my last visit to the Malipop, a gentleman attempted to light up and was told smoking was now forbidden.  Asked why, Wolf said “the time was just right to ban smoking” (“jetzt einfach gepasst, nichtraucherlokal zu werden“);

(vii) music at the Malipop is on vinyl.  It is usually excellent.  And it often comprises complete albums, with pauses when Margit turns the disc over or chooses something new.  Why should music always be continuous?  Remember: new technology and progress are two different things;

(viii) the whole place, with its small clutch of marble-and-iron tables, bar, decor, music, staff and customers, feels, quite simply, like a late-night cafe should be.  Margit Wolf has been running it for 40 years this month.  Celebrations – and visits – are in order.

Cafe Malipop in a nutshell

For: cult, cool, cafe.

Against: not your traditional Viennese cafe.

P.S. If you want to see more Vienna cafe reviews, see my Great Vienna cafes page.

P.P.S. Want something to read in the Malipop?

Take a look at my most recent books, such as “Palladium”, below.

Palladium by Leigh Turner

P.P.P.S. Thanks to die weinfreundin for help with this piece.


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4 Responses

  1. Lieber Robert Pimm! Ich lese Ihre Wiener Kaffeehaus-Beschreibungen laufend und mit großem Interesse. Wenn es Ihre Zeit erlaubt, empfehle ich, Wiener Kaffeehaus-Tradition auch in Triest zu erkunden: Triest, das (mit kleinen Unterbrechungen) 500 Jahre hindurch zu Österreich gehört hat, war Österreichs Zugang zum Meer. Über Triest kamen der Kaffee, der Kakao, der Tee und der Zucker ins Land. Das Pro-Kopf-Einkommen in Triest betrug vor dem Ersten Weltkrieg, verglichen mit dem in Wien, das Sechsfache. Reizvoll sind nicht nur das DEGLI SPECCHI und das TOMMASEO, sondern auch das SAN MARCO, ein wunderschönes Jugendstil-Kaffeehaus mit integriertem Buchgeschäft.

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