Eating out for many is regarded as a leisure activity, embracing the consumption of food, drink and place. In contrast to the ubiquitous and homogenous branded coffee shops and cafes found in most cities are examples from earlier eras, which offer consumers a degree of differentiation. They represent a culinary legacy and heritage by association with time and place. Cafes are utilised in the two case study examples, Deller’s Café, Exeter, United Kingdom, and Café Kranzler, Berlin, Germany, as social spaces, and in the context of tourism, attractions. The appeal of social spaces with an historical legacy is presented as the basis for further social research opportunities. These, it is proposed present a way of looking at the past to learn about the present.