Robert Pimm

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Zum Schwarzen Kameel: Review

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No seats.  Outrageous spectacles.  An enigmatic, four hundred-year-old name.  What is it that makes “Zum Schwarzen Kameel” stand out?

Zum Schwarzen Kameel (Bognergasse 5, 1st District) is not exactly a cafe but I have decided to include it in my famous cafe reviews it as it is something of a Viennese institution.

Some of the decorative detail in the Kameel is breath-taking – RP

Nestled in the heart of the First District close to a plethora of so-called designer shops (Prada, Louis Vuitton, Chanel et al), the Kameel is frequently packed with both tourists and well-heeled locals enjoying an eclectic blend of alcohol, open sandwiches, cakes and hot beverages.  My first impression was: “all a bit much” (or, as the Germans might say, schickimicki). My second, and conclusive, impression was: “das hat ‘wos(this place has a certain something).  Service at the standing bars (there are no tables) is excellent; the decorative details are exquisite; and the ambience has an eccentric, headlong, occasionally hysterical city flair.

Even the spelling of the name is original: it goes back to the founding of a shop on this site in 1618 by one Johan Baptist Cameel, who named it Zum Schwarzen Kameel (“camel” in German is usually “Kamel”).

Some of the staff at the Kameel make eccentricity an art form – RP

Reviews on Trip Advisor show that the Kameel is not to everyone’s taste.  It isn’t cheap, and at the time of writing smoking is still allowed.  But on balance, this is a high-concept place whose high-investment attempt to create something unique has hit the jackpot.  Worth a visit at almost any time of day.

P.S.  If you enjoy fresh, original writing, feel free to friend me on Facebook or sign up for e-mail updates (top right – see blue “click here” button).  You can explore the range of writing on this site, from novels to short stories to reviews and writing tips, via my five pleasure paths.

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