Legacy of Sayyid Majid café

A timeless hub for tea, tradition, and community bonds

KARBALA, December 10 — The café “Sayyid Majid” in the old city of Karbala has maintained its heritage identity since its opening in the 1950s. Its customers gather throughout the day to enjoy its famous tea with its secret blend or to exchange political and social discussions in a quiet atmosphere without Domino playing or internet.

The café is one of the oldest in Karbala, renowned as a meeting place for employees, politicians, and intellectuals. The café has received certificates of appreciation and awards from organizations and forums both within and outside Karbala, being recognized as one of Iraq’s significant heritage cafés.

Ahmed Majid – Owner of the Café to Network 964:

“My father, Sayyid Majid, founded the café in 1954. Initially, it was a small tea stall (known as ‘jirdaq’) after he left his job in one of the cafes at that time. With the help of my grandfather to my mother, who bought a 150-square-meter land in the Shousha area and gifted it to my father, he built a house for the family and the current café with an area of 50 square meters.

At first, Sayyid Majid sold tea, lemonade, soft drinks like Pepsi, Cola, and Mission, as well as hookah. After his passing, I took over the management of the café.

The café was a meeting place for garage drivers and travelers. After the removal of the Najaf garage in the 1980s, customers included educators, intellectuals, lawyers, employees, department heads, and other high-ranking officials.

In addition to its regular function, Sayyid Majid Café became a venue for political and cultural discussions, business deals, and also served as a relaxation spot. It is a daily workplace for many regulars.

We only offer tea and lemonade, without hookah, tables, or background music. The café is offline, meaning it doesn’t provide internet service, distinguishing it from most cafés.

Our customers span across generations, including fathers, sons, and grandsons. The café is known for holding mourning councils for every deceased regular, reflecting the strong friendships formed.

Seven workers are employed in the café, working two shifts. The first shift is from 6 am to 12 pm, with a 4-hour break, followed by the evening shift from 4 pm to midnight.

We use a secret blend to make our tea, a recipe that we’ve been offering to customers for decades. The total number of tea cups and the quantity of teapots consumed daily cannot be precisely counted, but the café consumes 5 kilograms of tea daily.”