The view shown here most likely takes us back to the Café Guerbois, a legendary Parisian institution on the Grande Rue de Bagignolles (today the Avenue de Clichy). During the 1860s and 1870s, it was one of the favourite haunts of Manet and his circle. Many of the artist’s friends and fellow Impressionists, including Monet, Renoir, Sisley, Pissarro, Cézanne, Fantin-Latour, Degas, and writers such as Émile Zola, were regulars at the café, where they would often drop by to take part in lively intellectual discussions. Here Manet, with swift strokes of the pen, has captured one of those very conversations. Studies of the work have identified another possible location for its setting, ‘La Belle Polonaise de la Brasserie Reichsoffen’ (see Bailly-Herberg 1985).