RIYADH: With its retro furnishings, decor, coffee, posters, and food, Riyadh’s Seventies Cafe is a blast from the past.
For many residents, the cafe recalls memories, nostalgic emotions flooding back as soon as they sit down for a cup of tea or soda pop.
“We wanted to relive the 70s a bit and serve the community something exciting and new,” said Bandar Al-Quraishi, founder of the Seventies Cafe.
On why he chose the 70s era as his theme, Al-Quraishi said: “I love everything about the 70s: the music, the clothes, everything. It was a great historical era. It was when the Kingdom saw an acceleration in urbanization and made major steps toward the Saudization of its oil and other industries.”
The new venue is decked out entirely in vintage items from the 70s and has been causing quite the stir since opening in the Al-Nakheel district.
“People’s response has been great!” Al-Quraishi said. “There are many local coffee shops scattered around our area, so one of the comments we’ve most frequently received is how nice it is to have such a unique cafe. Everyone loved the decor and the nostalgic feelings it inspired.”
He noted that, in the beginning, the idea of the cafe was to target the elderly, the retired, and those who were seeking calm and comfort. To his surprise, the venue attracted many different age groups.
Retro TVs, radios, photos of old actors and musicians, and posters of figures ranging from the late King Khalid bin Abdulaziz to Egyptian singer Umm Kalthum decorate the interior, all part of Al-Quraishi’s efforts to have his cafe stand out.
“The aim was to create a unique, authentic and sustainable atmosphere through simple decor, high-quality products, and fair prices,” he said. “I was inspired by the old Riyadh period, and I wanted my cafe to serve as a museum for all to enjoy.”
One of its regular customers, Faris Al-Aqeel, head of Riyadh’s classical cars league, said that a walk through the old door of this cafe lands customers back in the 70s, offering a genuine vintage experience.
“It is so great to see smiles on the faces of those who lived during that era as soon as they enter,” he said. “You can tell that everything here reminds them of the good old days.”
Speaking to Arab News, Saudi author Ali Saeed, a regular patron of the cafe, said that it is one of his favorites in the capital.
“I always recommend it to people who come to Riyadh. The last guest I brought here was Iraqi novelist, poet, screenwriter and documentary filmmaker Ahmed Saadawi, who won the 2014 International Prize for Arabic Fiction for his novel ‘Frankenstein in Baghdad.’”