Minquan W Station on Taipei’s MRT system is not immediately associated with cool cafés. It also boasts around 6 different exits so finding the petite Café Wien set back from the main road on a subdued lane of Fushan St was a bit of a fluke by navigational error.
This petite enclave of calm is pretty much a hobby set up by Kim Li, a local by way of China and Hong Kong, his mother still lives in the latter. His new business opened in December 2011 and its soothing pale green walls are suffused by late afternoon sunlight glowing amber. Intriguingly, these walls are broken by photographs of surf and sand – not really what one might associate with Vienna or coffee. They are merely the current and temporary exhibition. It’s then I learn that the café is not named because of Viennese café culture, merely because the three shareholders happened to meet there. Likewise the soothing pale green walls are attributed to another small café they found in the Austrian capital.
A bookcase holds CDs, books and magazines a plenty. Their subject matter is not too surprising: arts, architecture and travel. The kind of music one expects to hear in such a place is breathing through rare blue speakers imported from Japan, in this case cool jazz. There are many other quirky items for those who care to inspect – an unsuspecting rust red 1960s tanning device sits at the end of the counter. Futuristic for its time, it looks like a toasted sandwich maker.
It’s been a lovely evening with my host and owner Kim and the sun and the golden light it cast onto these café walls has gone leaving the red lanterns of the small temple opposite and the night dancers to take over as exhibitors for the night.
Cafe Wien is open from 1pm to 10pm, 7 days a week.
Lane 41 Fushan St