Coffee House Coffee break!
Located opposite the Presidency College on College Street, Kolkata, the Coﬀee House has been for a long time an iconic hangout and a renowned meeting place for intellectuals and students belonging to the University of Calcutta. The prestige of the Coﬀee House increased with regular visitors such as Satyajit Ray, Amartya Sen, Mrinal Sen, Buddhadev Bose, Gautam Ghosh and Aparna Sen. And its historical signiﬁcance became more marked as being the popular rendezvous of innumerable versatile people, from its inception to date. Scholars, editors, artists and writers like Ritwik Ghatak, Narayan Gangopadhyay, Sunil Gangopadhyay, Sanjeev Chattopadhyay, Samaresh Majumdar, Subhas Mukhopadhyay and Shakti Chattopadhyay have been just a few among the patrons of this cafe.
The history of the Coﬀee House at College Street can be traced to Albert Hall, which was founded in April 1876 and was used by students as far back as those times for political meetings. In the early days, notable citizens, including Rabindranath Tagore and Subhas Chandra Bose, were frequent visitors to the place. Later, the Coﬀee Board decided to start a coﬀee joint from the Albert Hall in 1942. Notable citizens were frequent visitors to the place. In 1947, the Central Government changed the name of the place to Coﬀee House.
In 1958, the management decided to shut down the Coﬀee House, but it was re-opened the same year, after professors of Presidency College and Calcutta University rushed oﬀ a special petition to the government to save the heritage place. The prestige of the Coﬀee House increased with regular visitors who later became celebrities.
In the early 1960s, the Coﬀee House became the intellectual battleground of the famous hungry generation literary and cultural movement. The celebrated poets, Malay Roy Choudhury and Samir Roychoudhury, who pioneered the movement, were arrested from here and prosecuted for their radical lectures. Several literary magazines owe their origin to the inspiration from the adda sessions here.
Even today, the Coﬀee House is famous for its adda sessions and as the breeding place of several political and cultural personalities and movements. Many people come here just for the sake of adda. Several talented and illustrious persons of Kolkataʼs cultural world actually started becoming well-known through the people they used to meet regularly at this place. May the legacy continue for years to come!