Sips and Stories: 5 Cafés Inspired by Fictional Worlds

At these shops, characters and universes come to life over coffee.

BY VASILEIA FANARIOTI
SENIOR ONLINE CORRESPONDENT

Picture yourself sipping a cappuccino in a café straight out of your favorite novel or movie. From Tolkien’s Middle-earth to the wizarding world of Harry Potter, there’s an exciting crop of coffee shops inspired by fiction, offering customers a chance to get their caffeine fix in the most unique of settings. 

Themed menus at these shops feature concoctions named after beloved characters or pivotal plot points, making the experience a playful nod to the narratives we all know and love. Plus it’s also a great way for a coffee shop to differentiate itself from the competition.

In this article, we’ll delve into the captivating synergy between coffee and popular culture, showcasing five one-of-a-kind coffee shops that have brought the magic of fiction to life.

A statue of Alice inside the cafe.
The Curious Café is a truly whimsical experience, featuring Alice in Wonderland-inspired décor. Photo courtesy of The Curious Cafe.

The Curious Café

A bit over a year ago, the Curious Cafe and Gift Shop, an Alice in Wonderland-themed establishment, launched on Main Street in Nottingham, United Kingdom. Since its opening in summer 2022, it has captured the heart of the community, becoming a beloved gathering place for locals.

Drawing inspiration from Lewis Carroll’s whimsical world, the café is thoughtfully adorned with an abundance of Mad Hatter hats, enchanting Alice illustrations, and a charming cake stand displaying delightful knitted afternoon tea creations.

Run by Learning in Fun Environment (LIFE), a community interest company, the café offers employment opportunities to individuals in Nottinghamshire ages 19 and older who have learning difficulties or disabilities. 

Apart from coffee and tea, visitors can enjoy an array of offerings such as freshly baked treats, ice cream, cakes, as well as soups and a variety of sandwiches. Furthermore, a feature known as the “coffee and kindness“ board enables patrons to pre-purchase a coffee for someone else, spreading goodwill and a sense of community.

A goblet of fire drink with flames.
Named after the fourth book in the Harry Potter series, the Goblet of Fire aims to bewitch customers’ taste buds. Photo courtesy of Platform 1094.

Platform 1094

No list of fiction-themed cafés would be complete without a nod to the enchanting world of Harry Potter. Enter Platform 1094, a café in Singapore where Potterheads can immerse themselves in the magic of the wizarding world. With decor and menu items inspired by the beloved series, Platform 1094 virtually transports you to Hogwarts. 

Warm lighting, wood-paneled walls, tabletop candles, and an enchanting ceiling candelabra create an ambiance that exudes magical vibes. Platform 1094 also offers oversized props that include a witch’s hat and an array of magic wands, making it the perfect setting for whimsical photo opportunities.

Aside from coffee, the menu boasts a range of Western-inspired dishes, artisan desserts, confections and house-made drinks. One drink, the Goblet of Fire, truly steals the spotlight, featuring a mix of Blue Curacao liqueur, Bacardi 151, and lime juice, all elegantly presented in a flaming goblet. If you are in Singapore and in the mood to escape reality for a little while, this would be a magical choice.

A barista in a yellow hazmat suit pours coffee into a beaker.
Coffee meets chemistry at Walter’s Coffee in Istanbul, Turkey, where the iconic world of Breaking Bad comes to life. Photo courtesy of Walter’s Coffee.

Walter’s Coffee

Walter’s Coffee, a Breaking Bad-themed café and roastery located in Istanbul, Turkey, re-creates the ambiance of the iconic TV series with great success. From the iconic yellow HAZMAT suits to the unmistakable clear blue glass candy produced on baking sheets, and the stylized periodic table painted on the wall, every detail is thoughtfully executed to transport patrons into the captivating world of Walter White.

According to their website, the reason Walter’s Coffee employs laboratory-themed equipment is to show their devotion to the art of coffee science. The coffee menu is written in periodic table-style terminology, the staff serves coffee in laboratory-style beakers, and Walter White’s face can be found on their pancakes.

A few food menu items are named after characters from the show, like “Walter’s breakfast.” Whether you’re looking for freshly roasted coffee, food, or an immersive Breaking Bad experience, Walter’s Coffee has it all.

A replica of Treebeard from LOTR.
Treebeard, the beloved character from the Lord of the Rings series, comes to life at Cap Cap, the enchanting fairytale café in Athens, Greece. Photo courtesy of Cap Cap.

Cap Cap

Cap Cap, a café nestled in the heart of Athens, Greece, effortlessly embodies the enchantment of a sweet fairytale. Ever since its emergence in April 2012, the shop has effortlessly captivated visitors with a world steeped in magic and fantasy. Guided by owner Dimitris Mergoupis’ visionary spirit, Cap Cap brings the enchanting realms of fairy tales to life, evoking a sense of wonder and delight.

The enchantment of Lord of the Rings, the charm of Mary Poppins, the allure of Harry Potter, and the magic of Alice in Wonderland meld together in this captivating and whimsical journey into beloved stories. Throughout the year, Cap Cap hosts a range of events and activities that bring these magical stories to life, with impressive decorations and menu items.

The menu is a veritable feast of delights. They offer everything from delicious hot and cold drinks and dishes to tasty snacks. Among the most popular choices are butterbeer, the Prince Charming burger, and the chocolate frog mudpies. There are also plenty of vegetarian and vegan options, so everyone can enjoy the feast.

Inside the set of Central Perk from the show Friends.
From the Warner Bros. set all the way to Boston, the iconic Central Perk café brings Friends nostalgia to life. Photo by Ilse Orsel via Unsplash.

Central Perk

So far, our list of magical experiences has focused on the world of literature and film. But TV fans will be happy with this final entry: a new Central Perk café to get your Friends fix. The café, inspired by the hit sitcom, has announced its first ever location in Boston, set to open later this fall.

In Central Perk you’ll discover a menu of options like Joey’s meatball sandwich, Mama’s Little Bakery’s cheesecake, Rachel’s side salad, and a lot more, based on recommendations from Top Chef judge Tom Colicchio. The drink selection includes offerings like Princess Consuela’s banana mocha blend and Chandler’s creamy chocolate milk cold foam, accompanied by a selection of beer, wine, and cordials.

In the show, Central Perk was always a place of warmth and community, where people could come together to catch up over coffee. Now fans can experience the café for themselves, with all sorts of impressive decorations and menu items. A good enough reason to visit Boston!

Uniting Forces

All these cafés are a testament to the power of storytelling. They bring fans from all walks of life together to share in the magic, warmth, and sense of community that can be found in a well-crafted narrative. So, the next time you’re in search of a cup of coffee and a touch of enchantment, consider stepping into one of these remarkable establishments, where the line between fiction and reality beautifully blurs.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Vasileia Fanarioti (she/her) is a senior online correspondent for Barista Magazine and a freelance copywriter and editor with a primary focus on the coffee niche. She has also been a volunteer copywriter for the I’M NOT A BARISTA NPO, providing content to help educate people about baristas and their work. You can follow her adventures at thewanderingbean.net.

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