Bright lights illuminate patrons in the shiny new Roland Café.
photo: Soňa Bellušová
It seems that finding a place to hang out with your friends will not be problem for coming winter, whether you'd like to arrange a date or stop for mixed drinks after an opera performance. Cafés differ in clientele and prices as well as personality. But each of the three has made a real effort to create a pleasant, unique atmosphere using a lot of expensive surfaces, lights, flowers and quality table settings.
Address: Ventúrska 5
Telephone: 54 43 46 61
Open: daily 12:00-24:00
Prices: $ (Cover charge for music generally 30 Sk)
English menu: No
Located just steps from the trendy area surrounding the Academy of Performing Arts, this new café can be found underground off one of Ventúrska street's courtyards. Descend past the painted saxophone on the wall to find and a cosy space occupied by a scattering of young, good-looking students enjoying live or recorded jazz. Unlike other restaurants in town which host live music, the two-room café promises live groups every evening beginning at 19:00.
Black round tables and old style lacquer chairs give the cafe a city look, as do the black and white pictures of famous jazz artists adorning the rough-hewn stone walls. Though the space is quite small, an effective, under-the-floor air-conditioning system eliminates the need to run upstairs for a breath of fresh air. Couples will find a lot of hidden dark spaces, while bigger groups can sit quite comfortably at the larger tables. If the café is packed, guests can also perch on bar chairs lining the walls.
For those who come here for the music, don't be surprised if you hear the clientele's chatting instead of clapping or shouts of "Bravo" for a good music piece. The menu includes five kinds of beer, all for about 24-70 Sk. There is also a wide offer of whisky, brandies, liqueurs and typical Slovak drinks. During the cold months, it's great to have hot whiskey for 80 Sk.
Finally, a funky, blue-lit translucent walkway makes heading to the bathroom a unique experience, suggesting a whole new euphemism ("taking the blue trail") for the personal act.
Address: Rybná brána 2
Telephone: 0903-225 344
Open: daily Sun.-Wed., 8:00-24.00, Thurs.-Sat., 8:00-1:00
English menu: No
This richly decorated new café just off the Main Square may remind you of a small, tasteful French hole-in-the-wall. Just in the centre, this place has staff members lifted from the ranks of the trendy "U Anjelov café" on Laurinská and attracts same clientele: the famous, the important, and the mobile phone dependent. But it has also quickly become a favourite among old men and teenage model hopefuls alike. What really sets this place apart is the wide range of alcoholic and non-alcoholic mixed drinks and well-selected music. Also, in case you need some extra Slovak crowns for the expensive drinks, you can use the connected Antik Change booth, open till the late night hours.
Entering the one room café, you can see in the first second who is in and who is "in". A stone floor, stone bar tables and rich dark purple walls set the scene, and a domed ceiling, big chandelier, old pictures, interesting porcelain figures and rich purple china complete the antique look. Waiters dressed in French style aprons and Renoir posters leave little doubt about the Parisian inspiration.
The menu includes all traditional drinks as well as 50 mixed drinks for 98 Sk, cocktails for 108 Sk, Moet & Candon Champagne for 2,900 Sk, and Slovak wines. Six kinds of non-alcoholic drinks are offered, such as Pussy (which means "kiss" in Slovak: it contains coconut syrup, pineapple and black-currant syrup and milk) and Banana (with banana and coconut syrup, milk and cream). Everything is elegant: when you order mineral water, it comes in a wine glass adorned with an orange slice or other fruit. They even squeeze their own fresh vegetable and fruit juices. Hot cocoa comes in a silver pitcher containing two full servings and there are eight kinds of ice coffee, as well as fresh fruit and a limited selection of salty and sweet snacks. Though the room is small and often smoky, the drink selection is great.
Address: Hlavné námestie 5
Telephone: 54 43 13 72
English menu: No
The most traditional and charming Bratislava café of years ago opened again last week with a totally different look. No more wooden floors and piano music: now the Roland Café is filled with green marble, gold statues, and bright light.
Located in the best position on the Main Square in a beautiful Secessionist style office building, the Roland Café, which has been closed for more than two years, is now primed to be the classiest café option in the city. Patrons enter a massive golden door into a shining room of expensive design. Giant flower bouquets and a golden statue of horse and man in the middle of the room may make some feel like they are on stage. Golden "mosaics" depicting women and flowers in the Austrian secessionist style can be seen on the walls. Though there is an obvious attempt to be historical in the interior, however, some guests may find the cafe's current look a bit too much like a museum cafe or railway-station.
Once inside, fine desserts and home made cakes entice from glass display cases and are quite delicious. The day and evening food menu includes small sandwiches, cakes, and Slovak style apple pie, while the drink menu focuses on Slovak wines, 80 Sk cocktails, and many styles of high quality coffee. Tea can also be enjoyed with milk, lemon or honey.
But what really sets this cafe apart is that it serves European style breakfast every morning between 8:30- 10:00. The basic Roland breakfast is a choice of Melange (creamed) coffee, tea, or hot chocolate, with three rolls, butter, jam, and honey, all for 67 Sk. The Fitness breakfast serves the same combination but includes yoghurt with fresh fruit for 77 Sk. The Deluxe Breakfast is served with Parma ham, ham and eggs (called "hemendex"), cheese and fruits for 157 Sk. Also are available are extras such as sausages for 57 Sk, croissants and hand made rolls.
Without a doubt, this café is will be a real competitor for the less-innovative neighbouring Mayer Café, which has similar prices but poorer quality food. Unfortunately, however, the new kid on the café block also suffers from the spotty politeness of its wait staff. While we were at Roland, one old man kept being asked to prove that he could really pay for his sponge cake.