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Indian Coffee House, Kolkata | Timeless Adda!

Written by Poorna & Brinda

Indian Coffee House. Or just Coffee House. A venerable institution wherever it is in India. More so in Kolkata. It is an iconic place.

What can we write about this place which is not already written about! You don’t go there for Coffee but conversation. You don’t go there to sip coffee but to meet up with friends. Coffee is an excuse here. We had similar place in Bangalore few years back. Tt was a pleasure to eat bread toast with a cup of filter coffee. That was much before boring Coffee days mushroomed in the city. Fortunately, some places still retain the old world charm of a typical coffee-house. None can beat the one in Calcutta.

Amitava Sarkar, the venerable Concierge in Oberoi told us many stories of Indian Coffee House. How Amarya Sen whenever he comes to Kolkata makes it a point to take his gang of pals to the place. How you can always bump into some well known author or a poet or artist or a budding revolutionary in this place!

The location is apt. College street. The hub of books and students. Just opposite, on the other side of the road is another iconic institution of the country, The Presidency college. Very close by is another  celebrated institution – Kolkata University. We were trifle disappointed to see the coffee house located on first floor as we always thought it to be on ground floor. An old building, the few flight of stairs take you to place. As we climb steps, we get a hint on what is in store. Graffitis and bills of various activities are pasted on the side wall. Then there is a mural too.

Indian Coffee House Kolkata

Poorna in front of the entrance…..

Indian Coffee House Kolkata

The graffiti……..

Indian Coffee House Kolkata

Indian Coffee House Kolkata

The mural…

We enter the place. A huge hall with tables neatly arranged in rows. We notice the high ceiling which keeps the place cool to some extent. Rickety fans hung by long columns rotate gently. Under the fan we find groups of people – young, middle aged, old – sitting around the table engaged in heated conversation with coffee in one hand and Cigarrate in the other.Indians being garrulous, this place is made for us! Of course there are couples in cupid too!

Indian Coffee House Kolkata

The main hall. They also serve on first floor if there is rush.

Indian Coffee House Kolkata

Notice the high ceiling. Not sure whose picture in the centre. Looked like that of Rabindranath Tagore

We order coffee and pakoras. Poorna walks up to the first floor to explore. He clicks from the first floor for a panoramic view.

Indian Coffee House Kolkata

The waiters in these Coffee houses wear a traditional uniform with a headgear. We ask them to pose for us.

Indian Coffee House Kolkata

Waiters in typical Indian Coffee House uniform

We walk around the place and notice lovely paintings hung on the wall. This painting says it all.

Indian Coffee House Kolkata

This painting depicts the spirit of Coffee house!

Then of course, the Grafitti board. Voice of Kolkata! Anyone can scribble….

Indian Coffee House Kolkata

What do you want to write today?

While coming out we noticed this board at the entrance on first floor. How true! Go in and smoke and sip. Not here!

Indian Coffee House Kolkata

The board at the entrance of the coffee house on first floor!

We bid good bye. The ambience and the history is what makes this place important. You may be lucky to bump into your favourite icon on any day when you are here.

Sit, talk and feel it. No one will ask you to get out from here!

When you are in Kolkata next, don’t miss going to Indian Coffee house aka Kolkata Coffee house!

Postscript – Being coffee lovers and being Coffee workers initiative, we expected to get some good coffee like we still get in Bangalore Coffee house located in Coffee Board headquarters. Bit disappointed. But the experience is memorable.

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About the author

Poorna & Brinda

We are Brinda and Poorna from Bengaluru, the “Silicon city” or “Garden city” of India.

We travel together. We caught the travel bug 20 years back. On our honey moon, we traveled over the sea, in the train, by bus and in an aircraft! Our adventures probably started in that year. It continues, ever since.

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