Take a look inside
1856 - 1860
The young architect Heinrich von Ferstel builds the opulent Palais with its fantastic Venetian-cum-Florentine-cum-Trecento architecture, inspired from his long journey through Italy. “The Ferstel” was the most fashionable building in Vienna.
The Vienna Stock Exchange rents the ground floor, todays Café Central. And the Austrian-Hungarian national Bank is based at Palais Ferstel.
For the first time Gustav & Hermann Pach open the former “Börsecafé” in the stock exchange at the Café Central in the Palais Ferstel – at the time the most modern building in Vienna, formerly used as a bank and stock exchange building.
the café has cult status. The regular guests – among them grand literary figures, poets and thinkers – call themselves “Centralists”, after the café. Because if they had not just been with us, then they were on their way. The meeting place for intellectual Vienna.
The café becomes a café-restaurant. It now has an arcaded courtyard, a columned hall, a ladies’ salon and a games room.
Newly redecorated Café Central celebrates its 50th anniversary.
The dark days cast their shadows on the Central. The Café has to change into a “coffee house” as a consequence of the National Socialist Aryanisation. And many of the regular guests lose their second home or even their lives during the Second World War.
The curtain falls: the Central has to close for four decades. It becomes an archive and storage area in the heavily damaged Palais Ferstel.
The Viennese basketball community moves into the poorly renovated Palais. Hoops are now shot daily in the “Herrengasse Hall”.
Die Österreichische Realitäten-AG (ÖRAG) übernimmt das Gebäude.
1970 - 1980
The decade of the new beginning: the greatly faded splendour of the Palais Ferstel is restored by a careful revitalization by the Austrian Real Estate AG. Office spaces were expanded, ballrooms and the shopping mall restored.
1981 - 1983
The arcade courtyard is also revitalized and in the meantime the Café Central opens its doors. The ORF’s (Austrian Broadcasting Company’s) well-known cultural and discussion programme “Café Central” is then broadcast from here.
Together with the large Ferstel Hall above, the Café is refurbished in the final stages of the renovation. In 1986 the Central re-opens in the magnificent columned hall.
The Karl Wlaschek Private Foundation takes over the Palais Ferstel with the Café Central and establishes the Palais Events Veranstaltungen limited company to run the properties. Later the company also manages the Wiener Börsensäle (Vienna Stock Exchange Halls) and the Palais Daun-Kinsky.
The arcade courtyard reopens for coffeehouse guests and groups.
Palais Events becomes part of the Austrian Travel Group.
A first record year: The Central welcomes 380 000 guests.
The Café Central is rebuilt – a central showcase greets guests with its tempting patisserie.
480 000 people now visit the Café Central in Vienna annually.
Café Central is celebrating its 140th anniversary. With an “open mic” young literati and poets are coming back on stage. Tradition and modernity are going hand in hand.