The café/bistro is a central aspect in Siegfried Kracauer’s, Joseph Roth’s and Hermann Kesten’s self-assertion towards modernity. A self-promotion as a café writer is explicit in Kesten’s Dichter im Café and in Roth’s Im Bistro nach Mitternacht. The café/bistro becomes a refuge for the German Exilliteratur. In the other three Roth-texts and in Kracauer’s texts the myth of the literature café cultivated by Marc Augé is destroyed. The café is no longer a positive symbol of joie de vivre. The disillusionment over the city and the café marked by uniformity, anonymity and a lack of history forms the leitmotif of Roth’s and Kracauer’s texts. The café is a part of the modern city but no longer functions as home or refuge. A more negative image of the café/bistro is painted in the analysed texts, than expressed in Augé’s book Éloge du bistrot parisien.