Bijou Bajer

bijou /ˈbiːʒuː/ Meaning “small but elegant and tasteful”

If you’re in the mood for a Cafe Bajer coffee in Pardubice you’re somewhat spoiled for choice with a selection of two cafes to choose from. The first cafe which I talked about in the previous post has a younger sibling right next to the Green Tower by The Old Square. It’s a more intimate place but no less interesting with the same attention to detail as its older companion. 

The highlight for me on being shown around was the original musical box that greets you on the way into the cafe but gives no real hint to the layperson as to its actual purpose. When Milan brought me over to see it I thought it was just a cabinet with a pretty painting on the front. But then he opened it and revealed a most fascinating creation, a music box. And it still works as Milan demonstrated when he wound up the handle and it kicked into life. I was immediately transported back to a previous time, where cafes like this would have been more like dance halls and the music played loud. Although an artificial music created by a series of points on a rotating drum it sounded far richer than some of the garbage you hear today. It even has a coin slot on the side so you could say it’s one of the first jukeboxes ever made. A fascinating addition to the impressive collection of antiques.

This particular cafe specialises in one fantastic thing…..chocolate. Their hot chocolate is……*wipes drool off floor*. It’s pretty damn good. You’ve had a crappy day in work? Life getting you down? Head straight for Cafe Bajer by the tower and order yourself one of these bad boys.

There’s some really interesting items on display in the original shelving unit including menus from now closed cafes in Pardubice as well as books on the various art styles present in the antiques and the history of Pardubice. I have one of Judith Miller’s Art Nouveau books and it was a pleasure to see it among the collection. Milan showed me one of his pieces that is actually featured in one of the books. Always nice to own a famous piece of art.

Hot Chocolate
Yes that is literally a cup full of chocolate, a cup full of cream AND a shot of Baileys. And yes it is just as amazingly delicious as it sounds.
I didn’t get to ask Milan what was in this bottle, certainly a pretty one though.
These books are more for show but above this there’s a shelf full of books on Pardubice, as well as artistic styles like Art Nouveau and Art Deco. Milan proudly showed me one of his pieces as featured in one of Judith Miller’s stunning books.
These types of self-service taps are all the rage these days but something tells me these guys were doing it before it was cool.
Cafe Bajer sign
The cabinet on the right side wall is a thing of beauty and an original to boot. IKEA who?
I wish they still made cars like this, but bigger of course.
Coat Hangar
Even the coat hanger is a thing of beauty.
I’m sure the contents of these bottles have led to many a fun story.
Now isn’t that just cosy?
Art Deco, such a great syle.
Music Box 2
The inner workings of the music box, like a whole band in one machine.
Music Box Front
I always thought this was just an ornate cupboard but nope it’s a fully operational music machine. The sound of it playing is just magical.
Music Box
Close-up detail of the drum that contains the notes of the music.
Old Pardubice photo
See that dapper chap on the left? His son still comes into the cafe and loves to tell people about his father. I love when photographs have a story to tell.
Old Photos
More nods to the past dot this column near the door.
You know you’re dealing with a vintage piano when it has candle holders on it.
Vintage advertising adorns the walls in the second cafe too.
Old fashioned typewriters, cameras and clocks. I wonder what interesting articles would have been written on the typewriter or who the camera took pictures of.
Window Seats
The window seats are a great spot to read the paper or watching the world go by.

I can’t decide which of the two Cafe Bajer’s I prefer to be honest. I think they both have similar atmospheres, both serve delicious coffee and both have fascinating history on display. I guess the only way to pick really is to flip a coin. Thing is you’ll be happy if it’s heads…….or tails.

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