Among countless Valencian cafés, one of the most exceptional is certainly Café de las Horas. Located next to the Plaza de la Virgen on Carrer del Comte d’Almodóvar, this year it will celebrate 25 years of operation. Well, let’s face it – amazing 25 years that did not leave unmoved anyone who visited it even only once. As pointed out by owners (quote):
At the time, we opted for a concept that combined the classic literary coffee of the beginning of the [20th] century, the Parisian coffee, the English tea room and the American cocktail bar, all in an extravagant neo-baroque framework.
In fact, the Café de las Horas remarkably well recreates the ambience so characteristic for the turn of the 19th century. Mixture of classic and baroque decorations (red curtains with brocades, paintings, sculptures, objects of art ….) but also furniture, chandeliers, even compositions of flowers, – all that shows deep knowledge of art (and coming with it very personal touch) of those behind Café’s concept. As the result, crossing the doors of the Cafe de las Horas you are entering another world. At first look, it seems to be frozen in the Victorian past, yet so alive, when the Café is full of guests….
For some, the interior decoration may be overwhelming, but after few moments we can realize that it has deep relevance going well beyond the aesthetics. It somehow reveals transcendental nature of time, it brings back to life almost forgotten memories of the world we heard about from our grandparents…. Interestingly, for most of us unfamiliar with the place, Café’s name translated to English (Café of the Hours) does not carry much of inspiration. The truth is (maybe better felt from the “tunes” carried by its Spanish name) that “horas” together with the whole interior – convey the message from the foggy past. In fact, they revive the colorful history and legends once upon a time popularized by the “illuminated” Medieval Book of Hours. For many visitors (not necessarily after few drinks 😊), the Café opens new dimensions to our so commercialized lives, awakens nostalgic feelings for the quickly disappearing “Savor of the Past” under an enormous pressure of challenges of today’s life.
Somehow fitting into this Victorian ambiance is the soothing music (mostly classical) played in the background. It greatly helps to cross this invisible, yet so well sensed time’s frontier….
The Café de las Horas is mostly “all-about” drinks as the only “non-liquid” forms of food available on the premises are cakes and tapas (note that “late birds” will also find breakfasts menu while on Sundays the Café also serves branches). To the joy of many, the list of drinks includes probably everything ever invented – wide selection of coffees (hot, cold, aromatized, w/alcohol… you name it), teas (black, green, red, white but also fruits, flowers, menthe… and as expected – famous Argentinian matte), fresh juices, wines in all existing colors, sangrias, vermouths, champagnes (including local cava), large choice of classic cocktails as well as an impressive list of less known alcoholic “inventions” and “mixtures”….). You can also count on the “specialité de la maison” – Agua de Valencia (1). But drinks make only one part of Café’s offer – the second one comes with its “literary” character. While there are not many periodically-scheduled cultural activities (exception: language exchange groups), touristic season is quite abundant with cultural activities (lectures, meetings of discussion clubs, musical mini-concerts, authors’ evenings, exhibitions of art etc…). The premises of the Café de las Horas are also one the favorite places for ENCUVA (Encuentros Culturales en Valencia) – local organization promoting the cultural patrimony of Valencia.
Good news – those, that do not want to fully immerse in the ambience of the past, the Café de las Horas also offers a little section on the street. It will give you chance to enjoy everything from the list of drinks at the same time keeping at least feet in the hectic ambience of the Barrio del Carmen.
Given such multinational concept, the Café creates the truly cosmopolitan environment where you will hear multitude of languages mixed with the local one (do not worry – the staff speaks English).
Well, the Café de las Horas is a magic place where the traditional café con leche or cocktail have much deeper and certainly different meaning…. And the bottom line is quite clear – there couldn’t be better location for the Café de las Horas that the historical center of Valencia, where the vibes of the past are still so much alive, even on the street.
Address: Carrer del Comte d’Almodóvar, 1, 46003 València
Opening Hours: Every day 10AM – 2 AM
Tel: 963 91 73 36