A coffeehouse or coffee shop (French/Portuguese: café; Spanish: cafetería or café; Italian: caffetteria, Polish: Kawiarnia; German: Café or Kaffeehaus, Greek: Καφενείο, Καφενές, or Καφετέρια, Turkish: Kahvehane, Catalan: cafè) is an establishment which primarily serves prepared coffee or other hot beverages. It shares some of the characteristics of a bar, and some of the characteristics of a restaurant, but it is different from a cafeteria. As the name suggests, coffeehouses focus on providing coffee and tea as well as light snacks. Many coffee houses in the Middle East, and in West Asian immigrant districts in the Western world, offer shisha (nargile in Turkish and Greek), flavored tobacco smoked through a hookah.
From a cultural standpoint, coffeehouses largely serve as centers of social interaction: the coffeehouse provides social members with a place to congregate, talk, write, read, entertain one another, or pass the time, whether individually or in small groups of 2 or 3.
In the United States, the French word for coffeehouse (café) means an informal restaurant, offering a range of hot meals.