café society

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café society (plural café societies)

  1. Especially from the late-19th century through the mid-20th century in Europe and America, a culture characterized by continual socializing in bistros, coffee shops, and nightclubs, sometimes extravagantly frivolous and sometimes intensely intellectual in nature but always high-spirited.
    • 1938 Sept. 19, "Books: Caf" (book review of The Happy Island by Dawn Powell), Time (retrieved 26 May 2014):
      Manhattan café society provokes a lot of writing, most of it about as enduring as a café socialite's hangover.
    • 1988 Aug. 23, Wolfgang Saxon, "Obituary: Jerome Zerbe, 85, Photographer Of Café Society and a Columnist," New York Times (retrieved 26 May 2014):
      He was one of those who in the 1930's pioneered . . . candid shots of socialites and entertainers out-on-the-town and eager to be seen. . . . His photography became one of the elements on which café society thrived.
    • 2009 Nov. 20, John Lichfield, "Cafe society is dead, but long live the cafe," The Independent (UK) (retrieved 26 May 2014):
      [H]e realised that the free-wheeling café culture of the 1930s or the 1950s – when Jean-Paul Sartre held court in Montparnasse – had vanished. Overall, he concludes (rightly, I think) that the French café is thriving but French café society is dead.
    • 2013 Jan. 23, "Iran's morality police crack down on coffee shops: Popular hangout for Tehrani intellectuals closes," The Guardian (UK) (retrieved 26 May 2014):
      Iran's cafe society has been targeted as a fertile breeding ground for dissidents.

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