Exhibition „Endless Coffee Drinking“
At the Kiek in de Kök Fortress Museum, in the Gate Tower.

The exhibition “Endless Coffee Drinking” is like a nostalgic journey into the once and still popular venues in the Old Town of Tallinn. The display in the Gate Tower introduces historical cafés, custom-made furniture for them, and the broader local coffee culture.

In Tallinn, there have been several unique cafés, bars, and restaurants furnished with one-of-a-kind, original furniture throughout the ages. These places have been where coffee was enjoyed and where people sat on furniture that cannot be found anywhere else in the world. Some of these locations have also played significant roles in cultural or even political history.

The exhibition in the Short Leg Gate Tower begins with the introduction of Tallinn’s first café, A. D. Carvallido Café, located at Raekoja plats 12 in the early 18th century. The subsequent cafés in Tallinn date from later periods, mainly representing different eras of the past century. Among them were places of diverse nature, including politically important venues (Centum Café and Restaurant), former popular spots (Mündi Bar, Neitsitorn Café, and others), or cultural cafés (Pegasus, Kloostri Ait). All of these are represented by original furniture pieces designed by renowned designers specifically for these cafés, carrying forward the history of Estonian culture and design.

The exhibition showcases furniture and details that are already part of Estonian design classics, carefully selected for this exhibition. However, it is not a conventional design exhibition. The role of the City Museum is to primarily focus on local culture and history, and the exhibited design pieces convey a broader local history. The exhibition space, located on the upper floor of the Short Leg Gate Tower, resembles several similar venues in Tallinn’s Old Town where cafés or bars were situated.

In addition to the furniture and other visual elements, sound plays a vital role in creating the ambiance of the café. The background sound design contributes to setting the mood and revealing significant cultural-historical and artistic connections, framing the journey through a century of café culture and history. The sound design for the café exhibition is created by composer Märt-Matis Lill.

The exhibition’s artist is the well-known film and theater artist Jaagup Roomet, with whom the museum has had successful collaborations in the past, such as the Sculpture Museum, the Neitsitorn Atelier Exhibition, and the restoration of the café floor with furniture from the 1980s. The exhibition’s graphics are designed by Rein Seppius.
The curators of the exhibition are art historian and curator of the Tallinn City Museum’s art collection Risto Paju, and historian and senior curator of the Tallinn City Museum Toomas Abiline. Execution: Random Solutions.


Curator tours can be booked at the address .


*The title of the exhibition, “Endless Coffee Drinking,” is borrowed from the play by writer Madis Kõiv. The story unfolds in a Tartu café, which serves as a prototype for the long-standing and beloved Werner café among the cultural and university community, spanning from the Tsarist era to the present day. Throughout the play, eras change, the governing power shifts, and wars begin and end.
However, in the café, there is a Stammgast, a regular customer, who, despite the events happening outside, seeks solace in the act of coffee drinking, finding comfort in the moment.


We thank:

Estonian History Museum, Estonian Drama Theatre, Estonian Film Institute, Cultural Endowment of Estonia, Art Museum of Estonia, Estonian National Museum, Estonian Public Broadcasting, Café Maiasmokk, Film Archives of the National Archives of Estonia, Tartu Art Museum, University of Tartu Museum

Eero Epner, Märt Helmja, Jaanus Idla, Mari Jäätma, Viljar Komp, Mae Kivilo, Andres Klemet, Ivo Kõvamees, Tiina Linna, Erge Metsoja, Külli Mihkla, Aivar Oja, Raivo Paju, Mare Ploom, Liis Pählapuu, Tatjana Vallner, Kuulo Vahter, Ene Veskaru

The exhibition is supported by the Cultural Endowment of Estonia.