Warsaw cafes two centuries ago
DE EN PL WCAG 2.1
Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanów

Passage to knowledge

Museum of King Jan III’s Palace at Wilanów

Warsaw cafes two centuries ago Anna Kalinowska
spotkanie.JPG

Among invaluable information found in the columns by Gerard Maurycy Witkowski from “Gazeta Warszawska”, we can run across some information about the localization of the most popular Warsaw cafés form two hundred years ago, and precious comments on their customers.

The cafés were visited before noon. The first such place in Warsaw was founded by Henryk Duval in 1724. In 1792 there were as many as 101. The most famous café, visited by entire Warsaw society, was Wiejska Kawa in Wiejska Street in Ujazdów – the most popular route of country rides - belonging to the widow Nybertowa. The locale was situated in a wooden house resembling an aristocratic manor house and operated at least from 1779, enjoying great popularity among all inhabitants of Warsaw and visitors from other towns and villages, especially on winter afternoons and evenings. Naturally, the most clients visited the café during festive seasons. “ There is no coachman or sledge man who would not know the way to Kawa Miejska, who would not hope to earn some money driving to Kawa Miejska. They would take their customers without asking the way” as can be read in the text of our columnist. The courtyard was crowded with vehicles “on the doorstep, a few poor living of mercy, show the visitors the entrance to Kawa, where perhaps they had never had a drink before”. Seven rooms, with large flowered windows, contained a few dozen tables, sofas and chairs, bird cages, and an old clavichord.

The good an long. There were a lot of young people, and whole families, one could meet artists, aristocrats, common clerks and couples trying to avoid recognition. Gerard Maurycy Witkowski pays particular attention to evidently rare mixture of different societies: “In this collection of different classes there were ones accepted by aristocracy, and many others which for some vague reasons were excluded from the circle of higher class. The Countess who answered my remarks with more understanding than I could expect, said that she understands very well that in every public place the stress should not be put on avoiding mixing different classes but rather on pleasant appearance and polite behaviour”.

Witkowski also describes some other places like The one belonging to Mr. Lourse - “a room for reading all sorts of periodical magazines, playing cards, conversations, in educated and polite company”.

Another popular summer salon Bagatela in Ujazdowskie Avenue, was situated in a spacious beautiful garden full of attractions. There were swings, attractive toys and games for children and young ones, there were gymnastic games, puppet shows, and fireworks. One could enjoy the beautiful rustic countryside towards Wilanów. On one occasion they even presented a sea-lion in a pond, but the animal was too scared by the crowd, music and the noise of fireworks, to perform the commands of its keeper. Another popular café was Kawa Królewska opposite the Army Barracks in Ujazdów.

In one of his columns, Witowski recalls the Gebel's cake shop, where one could play bowling or billiard. There were very few confectioneries in Warsaw, and due to high prices of sugar, they were places aimed for the more wealthy clientèle, and foreigners.

d diligent ho long. There were a lot of young people, and whole families, one could meet artists, aristocrats, common clerks and couples trying to avoid recognition. Gerard Maurycy Witkowski pays particular attention to evidently rare mixture of different societies: “In this collection of different classes there were ones accepted by aristocracy, and many others which for some vague reasons were excluded from the circle of higher class. The Countess who answered my remarks with more understanding than I could expect, said that she understands very well that in every public place the stress should not be put on avoiding mixing different classes but rather on pleasant appearance and polite behaviour”.

Witkowski also describes some other places like The one belonging to Mr. Lourse - “a room for reading all sorts of periodical magazines, playing cards, conversations, in educated and polite company”.

Another popular summer salon Bagatela in Ujazdowskie Avenue, was situated in a spacious beautiful garden full of attractions. There were swings, attractive toys and games for children and young ones, there were gymnastic games, puppet shows, and fireworks. One could enjoy the beautiful rustic countryside towards Wilanów. On one occasion they even presented a sea-lion in a pond, but the animal was too scared by the crowd, music and the noise of fireworks, to perform the commands of its keeper. Another popular café was Kawa Królewska opposite the Army Barracks in Ujazdów.

In one of his columns, Witowski recalls the Gebel's cake shop, where one could play bowling or billiard. There were very few confectioneries in Warsaw, and due to high prices of sugar, they were places aimed for the more wealthy clientèle, and foreigners.

stess served the guests, with the help of a few pretty girls, so the time of being served was sometimes

We would like to inform that for the purpose of optimisation of content available on our website and its customisation according to your needs, we use information stored by means of cookies on the Users' end devices. You can control cookies by means of your Internet browser settings. Further use of our website without change of the browser settings means that you accept the use of cookies. For more information on cookies used by us and to feel comfortable about this subject, please familiarise yourselves with our Privacy Policy.

✓ I understand