14 Chic and Cool Cafés Around the World
Would you travel the world in search of the perfect cup of coffee? What better excuse to visit New York, Melbourne, or Milan than a personal quest to taste the world's best brew in some of the most stylish cafés? We certainly can't think of any. So in honour of our favourite morning ritual, we found some of the chicest and coolest cafés across the globe to get your inspiration meter ticking—add these to your bucket list stat. Scroll down to see the über-hip bistros you have to visit.
Courtesy of Fondazione Prada
When Wes Anderson puts his name to something, you just know it's going to be good. The celebrated filmmaker was asked by luxury fashion house Prada to design a stylish café worthy of a movie set, and boy, did he deliver. Anderson's Bar Luce is possibly one of the most beautiful bar cafés we've ever seen, and we'd imagine dining there would feel just like being in one of his award-winning movies. Integrated within Fondazione Prada’s stunning new outpost in Milan's Largo Isarco industrial district, the interior is every bit as kitsch and quirky as you'd expect from Anderson, with pastel tones, a vaulted glass ceiling, speckled floors, and a vintage jukebox reminiscent of a 1950s diner. So who's going to Milan?
When architectural firm Four O Nine set about designing the stylish Café 27 in Beijing, the team didn't do it by halves. Using the organic menu as inspiration, they set about creating a healthy space, converting a glass building and lining the walls with cube-shaped wooden planters to purify the polluted air. "We wanted to elevate that desire for healthy food with a healthy building, thus all of the approaches we took were ecologically sensitive," architect Lukasz Kos told Dezeen. Café 27 proves that eco-friendliness can be stylish, too.
From the blush tones to the warm wood hues and that pop of blue, this German café has just the right serene and sophisticated vibe every coffee drinker loves. Architect team Ippolito Fleitz was called in to remodel the popular Café Pause that was originally intended for an art space. The striking modern design has a cosy, welcoming feel, and we only wish it could be our local café too.
We love a spot of Scandinavian design, which is why we're smitten with this bleached-out space. A hint of timber with exposed brick walls, unique industrial lighting, and whitewashed walls, all within a double-story Victorian arch, has us reaching for the credit card to book a flight to England stat. Of its Kent coastline location (hence the name), co-founder Scott Grady told Dezeen he wanted to bring "a Scandinavian sensibility to the Kent coast," and we think he nailed it.
Isn't this just about the handsomest café you've ever seen? It's literally oozing style and sophisticated glamour, right? The light-infused space was designed by Buck Studio around the expansive windows to capture as much of the natural light as possible. Now who doesn't dream of that scenario: sun-drenched coffees in style? And we're all about that insanely beautiful handmade glass lighting installation.
Courtesy of Happy Bones NYC
Manhattan isn't short on cool cafés, but a New Zealand coffee culture just upped the hip factor in Little Italy. Co-founder Luke Harwood of Happy Bones café on Broome Street is also one of the creatives behind popular fashion brand Stolen Girlfriends Club. After joining forces with Google's engineering director, Craig Nevill-Manning, and his wife, Kirsten (previously of Facebook and Google), the café quickly transformed into the local hot spot for tasty espresso, unique art publications, and retro design. We can only imagine the awesome people watching while we sip lattes at this place.
After one glance at Logomo Café in Finland, you'd be forgiven for thinking you were in an art installation, not a coffeehouse, but this is no optical illusion. German artist Tobias Rehberger decided to shake up the typical café culture and challenge the traditional interior style with an awe-inspiring display of linework that blends the walls into the floors; even the furniture is camouflaged. The stunning installation is Rehberger's second collaboration with Artek in which he creates a "visually disorienting environment." This is where you get a Bond-style coffee that's shaken, not stirred.
Part café, part bar, part florist, the extraordinary Potafiori is one of the coolest hidden jewels in trendy Milano. Jazz singer and florist Rosalba Piccini runs the café by day, serving deliciously frothy cappuccinos before it transforms into a bustling nightclub by night. The sleek, modern design lends itself to all three business ventures, with clean lines and edited décor styled within the original arches of the 20th-century interior. The Italians are just born with it.
Sightglass Coffee on 20th Street in San Francisco is the second outpost of the über-trendy Bay Area caffeine fueling station, and its décor is positively a dream. Sightglass co-founders and brothers Jared and Justin Morrison teamed up with Boor Bridges Architecture to create a naturally warm and welcoming café. The Instagram-ready location takes cues from the original Sightglass Coffee while also making design strides of its own. For example, the architects designed a custom steel, brass, and glass entrance door and one-of-a-kind holistic lighting features. “We basically designed a line of light fixtures—each subtly relating to the next while having its own story, purpose, and detail,” says designer Anand Sheth. We love the intimate, original space created by all of the custom designs.
Courtesy of Starbucks
When you think of Starbucks, an iconic, architecturally designed coffee shop isn't the image that springs to mind. We've become accustomed to our humble drive-through-style coffee houses, and that's been okay until now. Introducing the ultra-cool Starbucks in the Shinto shrine of Dazaifu, Japan. The American café company enlisted star architect Kengo Kuma to design the striking wooden interior using more than 2000 wooden batons to create the beautiful woven lattice structure. Even if you don't drink coffee, you'd be compelled to buy something from the menu just to experience this space.
The Zen-like quality of this modern teahouse is what makes this interior so special. The airy bamboo courtyard floods the magnificent open-plan space with natural light to create the perfect calming atmosphere. The ideal conditions for sipping on a matcha bowl or conducting traditional tea ceremonies.
If you’re a fan of industrial style, then you’ll love this steampunk-inspired café in Cape Town, South Africa. This eccentric space was dreamed up by Haldane Martin Design, who retrofitted the former warehouse into a turn-of-the-century bistro complete with neo-Victorian trimmings. It’s “Bauhaus meets Steampunk,” Haldane told Fast Company. With that much dedication to the design, we can only imagine the café’s passion for coffee is just as devoted. Now to convince them to set up shop here in Australia.…
This Third Wave Kiosk in Torquay, proves Aussie design is just downright cool. According to Dezeen, Tony Hobba Architects made the rusted corrugated exterior from weathered steel piles that had previously been used as flood barriers, the perfect weatherproof coating from the harsh, salty sea air. The multipurpose building is more than just a café; it also provides changing rooms and toilets for the surfers and local patrons of the popular coastline. Visitors can order a coffee at the kiosk window and take refuge on the outdoor seating with idyllic ocean views. Coffee with a coastal outlook—can't get much better than that.
Plein Air, a French atelier–inspired café and eatery located in the University of Chicago Hyde Park campus, is the result of a partnership between Soo Choi and Kevin Heisner. Sip a classic espresso and enjoy decadent open-faced sandwiches at this blissful “open air” café. We love how the design dream team juxtaposed gray-toned industrial design elements with dark walnut wood tables and clean white walls.The beautifully minimal space serves as the perfect backdrop for the revolving artist series shown throughout the year. Indulge in superb coffee, scrumptious nibbles, and daring art in this 40-seat wonder.
Have you had a coffee or tea in a super-stylish café? Does the interior design of your coffeehouse make a difference to the taste of your brew?