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Café Palmhof, “The coffee house of music, dance and light”

Nov 17, 2020 | JMW News

When Otto and Karl Pollak took over the coffee house near the Westbahnhof at Äußere Mariahilfer Straße 135 in 1919, a further concert café complemented Vienna’s rich amusement and entertainment scene.

The coffee house newly acquired by the Pollak brothers had space for around 350 people and a permit to hold musical and oratorical presentations.

Through clever marketing strategies, Otto Pollak managed to generate publicity for his coffee house again and again. The “Neue Freie Presse” reported on November 10, 1926: “A distinctive celebration recently took place at Café Palmhof on Mariahilfer Straße. In the presence of Johann Strauss’ widow, Adele Strauss, a Johann Strauss bust molded by Professor Wilhelm Hejda  and cast in bronze by Josef Meindl was unveiled. The gala was attended by representatives of the federal government, the City of Vienna, the district council, the Austrian Association of Concert Venue Owners, the Presidium of the Coffee Brewers’ Association, the Austrian Musicians’ Association, the Band Conductors’ Association, the International Artist Organization and numerous actors.”

Café Palmhof provided the proper setting for an open-minded public interested in architectural and artistic modernism.

“Das interessante Blatt” from March 1927 writes: “The modernly furnished Café Palmhof is one of Vienna’s most beautiful establishments. The splendid appearance and the dignified comfort of the restaurant create a comfortable, cozy stay for guests, which is further enhanced by the accomplished performances of an artistically high-quality band.”

Otto Pollak nonetheless had his Café Palmhof completely refurbished in order to offer a glamorous setting, especially for jazz and the dance-loving audience.

The “Neues Wiener Tagblatt” reported euphorically in August 1930 about “a new entertainment center in the west of Vienna.” “Cafe Palmhof was converted according to the plans of the architects Schöppler and Kornfeld, based on the most modern principles. They have created a truly metropolitan venue that brings adornment to Vienna. Flooded with luster and light, the splendidly furnished spaces offer such an intimate ambience that they guarantee a snug, genuinely cozy Viennese stay. The old, good reputation of the established Café Palmhof, where all the good Viennese spirits have always been at home, will be refortified and it will all the more constitute the slogan of the just-commencing season here with the sounds of the excellent Santinelli band, which alternately presents Wienerlieder and jazz music on Vienna’s most beautiful parquet, where dance is revered.”