Did you know that phil was once named Earl? Did you also know that phil wouldn’t exist if books didn’t. And we don’t want to imagine a Vienna (or a world) without either. phil’s owner gave us these fun facts.
phil is an original. Just like the guy who created it. Chris, the creator of phil tells about when he came up with the idea to open the now veteran cafe-bookstore. It was on a bus somewhere in Laos.
he didn’t have a choice.
However it came to be, If you like that feeling you get when you open a new book, or when you hear some lyrics packed with truth that gives you goose bumps up your neck, you’ll feel at home in phil. It has a laidback affect coupled with that feeling of endless possibilites you have when in the presence of books.
This café-bookshop gets its name from the tail end of the word, Bibliophile (translation: somebody who loves books). Sitting on the oddball vintage furniture (which is coincidentally for sale) underneath the bookshelves filled with books, filled with words, always gives us a buzz – as if the words on the pages radiate throughout the room.
The coffee is pumped out of a Italian machine manufactured in 1963, and there’s homecake that deserves a bow – especially the vegan carrot cake. It’s made by Mama Lucia in a room under your feet. That’s right, there’s a baker in the basement at phil.
The breakfasts (served 9am–4pm), listed in the menu next to literary quotes that provoke a smile, are original and made up of quality ingredients, form the Italophile breakfast, to the Philgood breakfast which involves muesli, yoghurt and falafel. Our favourite quote in the menu is from Baudelaire:
The rest of the food menu is made up of snacks, like a Bobotoast for 5.30€ and some cold antipasti kind of stuff. While the majority of the menu is dedicated to the drinks. As for the originals in there, try the Cho (a real deal Italian hot chocolate), and if it’s past midday, opt for the Cho Guevara (the Cho with a dash of rum thrown in).
Laptops and students spring up Monday to Friday here, as it makes for a perfect spot to study, write or read. But over the week, the WIFI is switched off in hope that the laptop lurkers take a day off and the atmosphere returns to a time when we weren’t spending hours a day swiping and scrolling screens.
Charming small details are peppered throughout the place – in the menu and out. And like the book and the DVD collection, it’s obviously been put together by somebody who has a taste for the good stuff. There’s also quirks, like the single cigarettes you can buy from the bar (it’s a non-smoking cafe, nevertheless).
Like we said, you can buy the chair you’re sitting on in phil, or the lamp your reading next to, and you can be guaranteed that if you come here with the intention to buy a book and disappear into a couch with it and a coffee, you won’t be disappointed.
What’s in a loveable cafe is always a riddle we like to try and work out when we are out visiting the many places in this city. But we think Chris, phils’ creator, says it best: ‘they can phil the love!’
We love a good word play, and we phil plenty of love for phil.