Traditional cafes still standing tall despite passage of time

KUWAIT: While many people in Kuwait choose to have their coffee and leisure beverages at high-end cafes and malls, there are some who prefer the comfort of a traditional cafe, which still stands tall despite the passage of time. Historically, traditional cafes were considered as hangouts for merchants and dhow captains; however, these places became more inclusive, allowing people from all walks of life to attend and have a good time.

“Traditional cafes were and still are simple and up to the point, providing clients with Arabic coffee and tea,” heritage researcher Mohammad Jamal said. He indicated that by the early 1900s, traditional cafes started to offer cold beverages to customers.

Other than drinks, such cafes provided their own entertainment with music played on phonographs, in addition to card and traditional board games. Jamal noted that most traditional cafes were situated near the old sea ports and the merchants market with the oldest one being cafe ‘Bu Nashi’, a Kuwaiti citizen with roots in Hassa region in modern day Saudi Arabia. Other similar cafes began to sprout all over Kuwaitis since 1920s with several of them providing new services and brands of coffees and teas for clients, said Jamal. Traditional cafes in Kuwait were sometimes the focal point for serious upheavals, said Jamal who pointed out that Suleiman Al-Shimaimri cafe, established in 1978, was the target of a terror attack in July 1985. The attack, aimed at creating disunity in Kuwait, failed to achieve its goal due to the solidarity of the Kuwaiti people, affirmed Jamal.

Cafe owner Suleiman Al-Shimaimri died during the assault, noted Jamal. Meanwhile, the heritage researcher indicated that modern cafes with a traditional feel have been established since the mid-1990s up to the early 2000s, a sign that no matter how much time passes, such facilities will remain as a stable of Kuwaiti culture and traditions. – KUNA

This article was published on 01/01/2018