Where does the name come from?
Many people associate the name Messerschmidt with German World War II fighter planes but our café pays homage to the artist that had a large impact on Slovakia’s capital. F.X. Messerschmidt (*1783), one of the most important and famous Baroque sculptors of his time, spent the last six years of his life in Bratislava, formerly Prešporok. He lived directly in what is now the SNP Square, and worked on his masterpieces in a studio located in a neighbourhood called Vydrica where he created his most famous work – The Character Heads. Today, his art is worth millions. In 2005, the Louvre museum in Paris paid USD4.8 million for a single character head at a Sotheby’s auction.
In our café, we have replicas of several of the heads he sculpted, and we put a lot of energy into letting every visitor know that Bratislava is, among other things, the city of F.X. Messerschmidt.
Is the café located directly at the site where he lived?
No. Messerschmidt actually lived on the site of the former V-Club, currently the Kunsthalle Hall of Arts. The artistic spirit of this place is evident by traces left behind by the famous sculpture of Empress Maria Theresa. Later, the legendary V-Club was founded here, and currently, the space continues to celebrate art through the Kunsthalle Hall. In many ways, SNP Square is the heart of Bratislava: the 1989 Velvet Revolution took place in the square and we have dedicated a lot of space to it in our café. We have even rerated the November 17 Museum.
A museum in a café?
Yes. The exposition of the November 17 Museum has been put together by the Nation’s Memory Institute, and is widely visited. Large groups of tourists visit the museum and discover that history is still very much alive here. In fact, right under the Museum are the relics of a boiler room that was used as a meeting spot by dissidents and 1989 revolutionaries like Ján Budaj during the Communist Era. Admission to the Museum is free.
Our café is a popular hangout for the older generation while Old-Town locals love to drink our excellent espressos. After the Writers’ House was closed, many writers found solace and inspiration in our café. Our regular guests include the recently-deceased Mr. Anton Srholec, who regularly met with members of the Union of Anti-fascist Fighters here. F.X. Messerschmidt Café is not a place for hipster products or creative cheesecakes.
We focus instead on old-time classics like the classical espresso which Senior-pass holders can enjoy at a reduced price. At our café, Turkish coffee is a must, and we bake our own classical cream cakes, krémeš, chestnut tunnels, chestnut mousse, and Bratislava rolls. We also keep tradition alive by serving Devín currant wine made in Víno Mrázik Devín, a crowd favourite among visitors.
The excellent quality of our coffee is confirmed not only by our faithful customers but the success of our baristas at coffee-making contests. This year, our baristas participated in the semi-finals of the Slovak coffee-making Championship and came home with two bronze cups in Latte Art preparation.
Recently, however, you became famous not only for coffee; you also make your own ice-cream.
Two years ago, we attempted a new feat and started making our own ice cream. It was a difficult endeavour but every year, our sales increase, and we have more and more satisfied clients. Our fruit ice cream is chock-full of fruit while our milk ice cream is made the old-fashioned way with milk, cream, and sugar. Our small ice cream window faces the SNP Square and is bursting with flavour. Securing fresh and seasonal ice cream every day is a rewarding yet demanding process so “hats off!” to all Bratislava ice cream vendors who have brought good-quality gelato to the streets of this city.
Should you come to SNP Square at any time of the year, be sure to visit the F.X. Messerschmidt Café. You will enjoy excellent coffee in an authentic environment, taste the true Bratislava roll, learn something about F.X. Messerschmidt, and in the summer months, bask in the sun on our outdoor terrace while sipping on some delicious affogato.