Majestic Café Porto

AntoniusJ / Public domain

Majestic Café Porto is arguably one of the most visually beautiful cafes in the world. Dating back to 1921, this café is found on Santa Catarina Street on the main pedestrian walkway in the city.

When it was first opened, it was known as Elite café. From the time of its inauguration it was immensely popular, and everyone who came to see the Porto’s architectural landscape would pop past the café for a drink.

The architecture of Café Majestic itself is breathtaking. The leather upholstery and varnished wood is accompanied with plaster-decorated ceilings and Flemish mirrors that seem to go on forever. The marble/ metal combination stuns the senses. This large café has always been known not only for its delicious food, but for its exquisite features. The Art Nouveau decoration is courtesy of the talented architect, João Queiroz.

Like many other historic café, Majestic Café Porto acted as a meeting point for writers, philosophers and intellectuals. At the time, café’s where the fathering spots for the elite of society to swap ideas over a cup of coffee or five.

JaimeMSilva / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/4.0)

Among the more well-known visitors to have frequented the café Majestic Porto is pilot aviator and Admiral Gago Coutinho, who never entered the café without a beautiful woman at his side. One such guest who he accompanied to the café to show of its beauty was none other than famous actress Beatriz Costa.

Other influential figures of Porto that became regulars are José Régio, Teixeira de Pascoaes and Leonardo Coimbra, all who established the café as the place to be for a heated debate.

However, time took its toll on the café over the years, as it tends to do, and years of neglect turned Café Majestic into a dilapidated building, despite the café being declared a “Public Interest Building.”

But things took a turn when 71 years after it was first opened, it underwent construction and was returned to its glamorous self and returned to being one of the jewels of Porto in 1994.

mmmmngai@rogers.com / CC BY-SA (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)

Today, the café is still one of the most well-known cafes in Europe. Visitors can expect to encounter an art exhibition, attend a cultural event, or even appear on the set of a TV show as it is often used as the backdrop for scenes!

Despite Majestic café’s reconstruction, the old charm remains and as you enter, you feel obliged to behave in a certain way that is fitting for the glamour and sophistication of such a place. The aura truly embodies the story of Porto itself.

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