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Twelve Brilliant Café Scenes, Tasty Like Simply Grand

a plate of food on a table

We’re a Cincinnati café. We focus on serving breakfast and lunch food during the weekdays. We don’t have specialty coffees or fancy pastries. But we’re still a café and we love all cafes. We also live the movies.

In no particular order, but near and dear to all of our hearts, our favorite café scenes on film:

1. The café scene from The Great Escape

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8uY9DV1NBco

As James Coburn reads his paper, he sits right next to a table full of German soldiers, as the Resistance prepares to make its move. It’s a great little twist of tension in this 1963 classic.

2. Harry, Ron, and Hermione at the café in London

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fYlF_TfzrR8

It’s at 1:50 in this scene that the three friends find themselves sitting in a late-night café. As they strategize, things take a turn for the dangerous, while the waitress remains blissfully unaware.

This scene is from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.

3. Clint Eastwood getting coffee in Sudden Impact

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qoXDzsuqXFg

Sugar. Lots and LOTS of sugar.

4. Peter and MJ duck a car in Spider-Man 2

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m8Jm9_iR6cg

In one of those slow-motion scenes that plays out as deliciously precise – ala the “bullet time” scenes in The Matrix – Tobey Maguire and Kirsten Dunst narrowly avoid getting flattened by a flipping sedan.

5. Marty tells Goldie Wilson he will be the mayor in Back to the Future

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=95_DB6GgLQs

“Gimme a Tab.” “I can’t give you a tab unless you order something!” It’s a pivotal scene, capped off by the great Goldie giving George McFly a pep talk.

6. Inception’s Parisian café with Ellen Page and Leo DiCaprio

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ldn4JkJsBsE

“We’re dreaming?” Things go crazy at the café as DiCaprio’s character explains their lucid, shared dream. It’s a marvel of special effects and choreographed chaos.

7. When Harry Met Sally’s re-enacted euphoria

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lNEX0fbGePg

When Rob Reiner followed up This Is Spinal Tap with this romantic comedy, it was this scene that stood out. Meg Ryan proves her point with a certain, uh, aplomb.

8. Pulp Fiction’s restaurant scene with Jules and Vincent eating breakfast

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NzncQbBkFCM

In this profanity-laden scene, Jules explains that “I just don’t dig on swine, that’s all.” In a script full of entertaining dialogue, this is many people’s favorite back-and-forth.

9. Four Weddings and a Funeral as Carrie reveals her “list”

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eeXePDLKsmU

10. Coffee and Cigarettes as Bill Murray meets GZA and RZA from the Wu-Tang Clan

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H6EZkIaJcCI

In this 1994 rom-com, we hear the endearing music fade in at 0:48, which is a classic rom-com directing move if we’ve ever seen one.

11. Amelie fawning over Nino and his espresso

https://vimeo.com/6480300

It’s a delightful scene, in which Audrey Tautou’s Audrey peeks over Nino’s shoulder as he enjoys his espresso. Remember on Cincinnati’s local news, when Ira Joe Fisher would write his weather forecasts backwards? This scene always reminds me of Ira Joe.

12. Annie Hall’s finale

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FdjUOYLBwd0

As he bids farewell to Diane Keaton’s Annie, they have lunch at a café in Manhattan, as a montage of their time together flutters past.

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All tremendous film scenes, each in its own right. Now, dear Cincinnati neighbor, it is time to create your own café scenes.

Here at Simply Grand Café in downtown Cincinnati, a mere two blocks away from Fountain Square, we offer the perfect location for your next scene. It could be a love story. It could be a comedy. We request that it does not involve flipping cars or exploding shop windows. An interview, perhaps. A first date. A reunion with old friends.

Whatever your scene may involve, we here at Simply Grand Café would be honored to set the backdrop for your conversational glory.