Commit these names to memory:
Saint Wenceslas, patron saint of the Czechs (Svatý Václav) – this “good king” of Christmas-carol fame was not a king at all, but a wise, benevolent Duke of Bohemia. After being assassinated by his power-hungry brother in 935, Wenceslas became of symbol of Czech nationalism. His is the statue at the top of aptly named Wenceslas Square (Vaclavske namesti). Finished a disappointing 17th in the Top 100 Czechs of all time.*
Charles IV, Holy Roman Emperor (r. 1355 – 1378) – “Karel” in Czech, this famous King was the son of John the Blind of Luxembourg. Thus, at one point in time, both the Czech and Luxembourg lands were united under one leader. But Charles’ dominion didn’t end there. At its peak, his empire stretched all of mordern Germany, the Low Countries, Austria, and Italy. He made Prague capital of this vast empire. These were the city’s Golden Years. Bridges, churches, a university (oldest in central Europe), and entire city districts were built under Karel’s supervision. As such, many of these places are named after him, most famously the Charles Bridge (Karluv Most). A large statue of him commands the square by the entrance to the bridge, on the Old Town (right) side of the river. Voted #1 in the Top 100 Czechs of all time.*
Jan Hus, religious reformer – burned at the stake for heresy in 1415, his statue in Old Town Square captures the Czech people’s resilience and determination that Mr. Hus has come to represent. Described a bit m0re below. #7 in the Top 100.*
Tomáš Garrigue Masaryk (TGM), first President of Czechoslovakia, and instrumental to the formation of the state in 1918. He stands in the square just outside the gates of Prague Castle, overlooking the capital of the country to which he devoted his entire life. TGM was voted #2 among all-time Czechs.* (seen here with President Obama during his visit in 2009…I’m in that picture somewhere)
David Černý, artist – if you stumble across a bizarre statue on your tour, it’s almost assuredly a piece from Černý. The large spaceship-looking TV Tower which rises out of the hill-top district of Žižkov (a great place for nightlife…see below) appears from afar to have giant goosebumps. Looking closely and you’ll see that they’re actually enormous babies crawling vertically up the tower. Černý’s works are certainly controversial, especially when he placed poor old St. Wenceslas atop an updside-d0wn dead horse suspended from the ceiling, but generally speaking no one seems to make too much of an uproar. Cerny was scandalously left off the Top 100 Czechs.*
The Good Soldier Švejk – Writer Jaroslav Hasek’s fictitious soldier of the First World War embodies so much of the Czech character, I fear I cannot do Svejk (pronounced Shvake, rhymes with brake) nor the Czechs proper justice. Svejk is conscripted into the Austrian Army during WWI, when the Czech lands were part of the Austro-Hungarian empire. Having no desire fight, he goes about feigning idiocy and incompetence and repeatedly manages to avoid the front lines by frustrating military authority and exposing its own stupidity, all the while enjoying the more simple and aesthetic qualities of life, like having pivos and singing folk songs with friends. Full of mirth, a touch absurd, ironic, displaying passive resistance against a stronger yet unfounded authority and neighboring power, and possessing a cleverness that blurs the lines between imbecile and crafty intellectual, the antihero Svejk does well to express the history, character, humor, mindset, and soul of the Czech nation. Look for his picture painted on the outside of pubs. It’s usually, but not without exceptions, an indication that you’ve come to the right place for a pivo and true Czech culture. Due to a technicality (he was never “born on, lived on, or in any way acted on the soil of [the Czech lands]”), Svejk was ineligible for the Top 100 Czechs, which brings me to my last persona:
Jara Cimrman – as one of the greatest Czech playwrights, poets, composers, teachers, travellers, philosophers, inventors, detectives and sportsmen of the 19th and early 20th century, Cimrman was the odds-on favorite to take the coveted top billing in the *2005 competition conducted by a Czech media outlet to determine the Top 100 Czechs of All-Time*. Indeed, he jumped out to a huge early lead and seemed assured of the #1 spot. But he was unjustly denied when the TV network running the competition ruled him ineligible over a minor detail – that he never actually existed. From an article in the New York Times:
Other countries with similar contests using the BBC format have elected war heroes or great statesmen: Winston Churchill was chosen in Britain, Nelson Mandela in South Africa, Konrad Adenauer in Germany. That Czechs preferred a fictional character is perhaps fitting in a country that elected a playwright, Vaclav Havel, as its president and that has produced such masters of the absurd as Franz Kafka and Milan Kundera. But why would Czechs look up to a man who, real or not, managed to blow every opportunity to become famous in his fictional lifetime? Why admire a bungler – a brilliant bungler, but a bungler nonetheless – who missed becoming the first person to reach the North Pole by a mere 7 meters, or 23 feet?
Like Svejk, Cimrman expresses the humor, passive resistance, and skepticism of authority which Czechs have resorted to throughout their long history of being controlled by foreign powers. But the results of this flawed contest to name the Top 100 Czechs expresses even more about their people. Read the full article for an insightful, intelligent, and humorous commentary on the culture, values, mindset, and political climate of the Czech Republic.
OLD TOWN SQUARE (Staroměstské náměstí)
(click on images to enlarge!!!)
The central marketplace for over a millennium. Nowhere will you find a clearer illustration of Prague’s appealing mix of architectural styles, which makes the city so unique and, in my opinion, “the most picturesque city” in all of Europe. The statue in the center of the square is Jan Hus, a Czech religious reformer who, a full century before Martin Luther, rejected the Catholic practices being decreed in Rome and was promptly burned at the stake as a heretic in 1415. Hus has been used as a rallying cry for every Czech political movement since, from nationalism to communism to democracy.
Now then, stand in the center of the square and follow this quick 360 degree journey through the history of architecture. I’ll spare you the historical details (you can find them in a guide book) and just give you the basic architectural info. First, find the blockish, brown building with a triangular roof to the left of the massive twin-steepled church. This stout, sturdy building is the oldest on the square, in early Gothic style (circa 1300), with a robust form which was so typical of the preceding Romanesque style. Moving right, we see the massive, late-Gothic Tyn Church (for the sake of argument, let’s say from the 1400’s) with its soaring twin steeples. Note the Renaissance, Italianate gabled houses in front of the church, in a much later style (1500-1600’s).
A row of former burgher houses line the next side of the square. Of note is a facade painted by 20th century art noveau artist Mikulas Ales.
The third side of the square is dominated by another Gothic giant, the Old Town Hall (early 1300s). On one side of this building you’ll find the Astronomical Clock, where on the top of every hour a procession of saints comes out and salutes the crowd. To explain this clock would require a few paragraphs, so I’ll just say that it’s 500 years old and never fails to draw a crowd. Watch it do its thing.
Back on the square, the pink building to the right of the massive town hall tower has a very obvious jagged edge on the right side. In WWII, a bomb hit this building, which at the time stretched the entire width of the square, and the city decided to leave it as is. It’s a visual reminder of the war; but it also serves to remind us that, this being the only building seriously damaged, Prague was the only city in central Europe to escape devastation in the last century’s wars.
Continue swiveling until you come to the white, green-domed St. Nicholas Church. In the Baroque style of the 1600-1700’s, it is more flowing, curvaceous, moving, elegant and ‘living’ than the ominous and imposing Gothic buildings. The Baroque style was the architectural vehicle of the counter-reformation, whose leaders sought to show off the wealth, power, wonder, and glory of the church. Thus, the ostentatious and sumptuous style of the period’s Catholic churches. To the right of St. Nicholas is the most expensive street in the city, Paris Street (Pařížská), a tree-lined boulevard with all the top name stores (Gucci and all that) and full of wonderful art nouveau facades. This early 20th century style was nouveau or “new” because it was not influenced by Rome. It rejects form and is highly decorative. Look up at the buildings on Paris Street and you’ll see for yourself how “new” this style truly was.
One last swivel until you come back to the first side of the square to find the large, pink building – the Kinsky Palace. The facade is rococo, which can be best expressed as baroque on steroids. This palace looks very similar to the one in Trier, right Business students?
OK. Armed with this knowledge, you should be able to identify Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque, Rococo, and Art Nouveau styles which abound throughout the entire city. There are a few things you can do on the square, aside from looking at the buildings:
- watch the clock do its thing – try to listen in on a tour guide explaining the clock’s details, symbolism, and mechanics;
- peek your head inside St. Nicholas to view its grand interior;
- take a tour of the Old Town Hall and/or climb the bell tower for a great view (buy a combo pass which gets you into other towers and buildings in the city!);
- stop for a beer, if you don’t mind paying 5x normal price. It might be worth it for the people-watching and scenery, but don’t stay for long – and whatever you do, don’t order food…you’ll pay obscene prices!
DINING AROUND OLD TOWN SQUARE:
Breakfast: Bohemia Bagel is an expat and study-abroad student favorite. Legit bagels and good breakfasts. Also a location close to where Charles Bridge meets the west (left) side of the river. See the website. http://www.bohemiabagel.cz/locations.php#oldtown
The Czech pub: U Zlatého tygra (By the Golden Tiger). All things considered, you won’t find a better Prague pub than this. Right in the heart of the touristy area, yet miraculously still as local and traditional as they come. If this place is good enough for Bill Clinton, it’s good enough for you (btw, that’s first Czech President Vaclav Havel and famed writer Bohumil Hrabal next to Slick Willy). If you’re in a group of more than 3-4, don’t even bother going in…you won’t find a place. Only by dumb luck, or if you enter as the door opens, will a group of 3-4 find seats in this perpetually full pub. http://www.uzlatehotygra.cz/uvod_e.htm
Other places near Old Town Square are listed in the NIGHTLIFE section below.
JOSEFOV (Jewish Quarter)
PRAGUE CASTLE and CASTLE QUARTER (Hradčany)
LITTLE QUARTER (Malá Strana)
CHARLES BRIDGE (Karlův most)
NEW TOWN and NARODNI STREET (Nové Město)
WENCESLAS SQUARE (Václavské náměstí)
MUNICIPAL HOUSE (Obecní dům) in náměstí Republiky
MORE TO COME, STAY TUNED!
For those of you who just arrived, a great breakfast place is here:
If I don’t get anything up before 10 and people are wondering what to do/see first, I always recommend going to the castle straightaway. You have to see it and it takes time, so get ‘er done early and then make your way to Strahov Monastery for a view and a brew, then head downhill.
Food & Drink
Ask for “pivo, prosim!” The Czech Republic consumes more beer per capita than any other country in the world…yes, including Germany. Per capita consumption is around 80 gallons a year. Do the math and find out what that means for an average male aged 20-30 and get back to me. Beer has a long history in the Czech Republic, and I won’t bore you with the details. The basic thing you need to know is that the beer type ‘pilsner’ comes from the Czech beer by the same name. Pilsner is the German name for a town in the Czech Republic, Plzeň. In 1842, the fine people in Plzeň created a new type of lager, a type of beer which the Germans had been and still are known for. New and improved, in my humble opinion. Typical pilsner beers are more hoppy and fruitier than lagers. It’s almost like a cross between a heavy lager (think Hofbrauhaus) and an ale (think Sierra Nevada). Most Czech beers are bitter — and don’t let some American marketing firm pushing slightly fermented water fool you, bitter beers are delicious. As the Czechs say, beer should be as bitter as horseradish. Some Czech beers are sweet, like Budvar (more on that later). The dark beers are extremely sweet, and perhaps counter-intuitively, are the preferred choice of women more so than men.
As in Lux, you’ll see the brand name of beers advertised on the outside of pubs. Traditionally, pubs are under contract with a brewery, and can only sell their brand of beer. The Czechs are perfectly fine with that. As the Czech proverb goes, one pub, one beer, one woman a night. It’s fun to pick pubs based on the choice of beer. The brands that you must try are the Pilsner Urquell (the original) and Budvar, AKA Budweiser. “Budweis” is the German name for a town in the Czech Republic where they originally brewed the golden nectar. Thus, a beer from Budweis is a Budweiser (just like a man or donut from Berlin is a Berliner). In 1876, Adolphus Busch named his new “Bohemian-style”* lager Budweiser , after having visited the Czech-German town. In this century, there’s been a long string of legal disputes over the naming rights; the Czech Budweiser has the upper hand everywhere but North America.
*(N.B. Bohemia is the name of the region encompassing the western Czech Republic. It’s an actual place, not just a euphemism for students living on Western campus;) )
Another important thing to know: Pilsner (or Budvar, etc) is not the same at every pub. Certain pubs have non-pasteurized beer straight from the brewery, which is much, much better. Also, if a place is lazy about cleaning its taps or doesn’t have the right set-up, the beer isn’t as fresh. I’ve directed you to some good places below.
My favorite Czech beer not named Pilsner is Svijany. If you come across this difficult-to-find brand, why not stop and give it a try. It has a very distinct taste – bitter and wonderfully hoppy, with a great aftertaste. There are several pubs in Zizkov selling it, and one pub in the nearby district of Vinohrady which deserves a mention here, because it’s possibly my favorite pub in the city:
Medusa – small cafe, old comfortable furniture, on a quiet, tree-lined street. Bring a book, grab a Svijany, and stay a while. http://prague.tv/prague/dining/restaurants-cafes/kavarna-meduza:2362
While I’m at it, another favorite is U Parašutistů on Resslova street. Not only does it have, hands down, the best Pilsner for your buck in the city, but it’s also got history. “By the Parachuters” pub is next door to the church where, in 1942, a group of Czech patriots who had just murdered the brutal Nazi Reichprotektor Reinhard Heydrich, hid out while Nazi forces were closing in on them. The Parachuters ultimately took their own lives. You can see all sorts of memorabilia honoring these men on the walls of the pub.
- wine (vino) – the Czechs make very good white wine.
- Absinthe – not the same stuff Van Gogh was drinking when he chopped his ear off. Missing the hallucinogenic ingredient, wormwood, which created this drink’s lore. Nevertheless, it’s something like 150 proof, so one too many shots of these and you’ll definitely be seeing something. Pozor! (be careful!)
- Becherovka – an herbal liquor which tastes like a particular holiday. Don’t understand what I mean? Try it and you will.
- Rum – not made with sugar cane but with beet, this bargain basement shot is the local working-class favorite. Don’t expect anything that tastes like Bacardi
- Slivovice – about as traditional as it comes, this plum brandy is present at nearly any Czech social gathering.
Alright, here we go guys. I’ve prepared an anything-but-exhaustive overview of the restaurants, pubs, bars, and clubs which dot the landscape of Prague. It is true that Prague has quite the nightlife scene. BUT, you have to be smart about it. My main motivation for creating this nightlife review is two-fold: to get you guys to see the real, local, relatively inexpensive, fun places in Prague; and to steer you clear of the artificial, cheesy, touristy and often sketchy places which can be seen everywhere along the main tourist route. I’m going to be very seriously disappointed if, after all the options I’m about to give you, I hear that you went to that shite club next to Charles Bridge, purporting to be the “biggest club in Central Europe”. Karlove Lazne, as it’s called, is nothing but a tourist trap, a thief-infested, Russian mafia-run, characterless, price-gouging waste of your time and money, and has been known to claim MUDECers’ passports, cameras, and uncountable amounts of dignity. Do not even think about going there, no matter how close or convenient it is.
There are, however, a few good places close to the main sites. I’ve reviewed them in conjunction with the nearby tourist attraction. They make perfect rest-stops for lunch; it’s also fun to stop and try the many different types of pivo (beer). But don’t forget…the daylight hours is not the time to settle down at some pub for any extended period of time. Stop for an hour and keep moving. There is simply too much to see in this city not to dedicate at bare minimum five hours sightseeing each day.
Therefore, the following list is mainly intended for the hours after touring. Thus, I begin each group with a place to “Eat”. It’s followed with places to “Drink” and “Party” in the same general area. To make things easier, I’ve separated all these places by district or neighborhood of the city. The nice thing about Prague is that you can find a good mix of restaurants and clubs in just about any part of the city you happen to find yourself in. That being said, it’s best to get out of the city center to find the local, cheap, and just generally better places. With that, though, comes the warning that leaving the city center might mean a somewhat confusing way back to the hostel at the end of the night. The transportation system in Prague is actually fantastic, but to a foreigner who has only been in the city for an afternoon, Prague can be a bit discombobulating. The night trams don’t run as often, nor do they run along the same route as the day trams. So, it’s so very important that you keep a somewhat clear head and pre-plan your route back home before you head out for the night!!!!
Always, always be mindful of your things…while Prague has very low levels of violent crime, it does have a well-earned reputation of being a bastion of pickpocketers. You have to keep a close eye on your things when you’re in a pub or club, and pay particular attention to your surroundings when on the trams at night. Night Trams get very crowded and often people are packed in like sardines…which makes it easier for pickpocketers to operate. Also, I’ve seen these bastards wait until the tram stops and opens its doors, then, right before the doors close again, they rip a purse from somebody and jump off the tram as it pulls away. Be careful and mindful at all times. If your friend is, let’s say, tired, well then do take care of them.
Extra info regarding Night Trams: do NOT fall asleep on the tram; have a validated ticket (more inspectors at night); and expect a strange mix of party-goers and homeless-people on board.
Finally, remember what I said about the Roma people, better known by the derogatory term “gypsies”. They are easily detectably due to their different ethnicity (they originally come from India). Like I said, I hate to stereotype, but… Also, let me preface this once again by pointing out that Czechs (and every other nationality) actively hate, discriminate against, and segregate their Roma population, which makes it pretty darn hard for them to get off the streets. That being said, they are generally bad news, and it’s best to avoid them at all times!!! They’ve honed their craft of pickpocketing, robbing, even mugging people, so be very wary when you see them in groups (normal), and be on high alert if they’re nearby.
Now then, a few words about this list. First, there is a difference between a restaurant, pub, bar, and club. I think that’s pretty self-evident, so I won’t spell it out here. But, so you know, the pubs and restaurants under the “Eat” sections generally close around 11pm. The pubs and bars marked “Drink” stay open until 1am or later. Bars and the clubs in the “Party” sections could go until 5am.
When looking for a place to eat, it’s better to travel in groups of 4-5 or less. There are no waiting lists at restaurants; if there’s no room, you’re simply out of luck and have to move on to the next place. It would be very rare for you to walk into any of the restaurants I have listed and find two empty side-by-side tables for 4. You could make a reservation, but that would require you going to the restaurant earlier in the day and hoping they actually take reservations. It’s less of a problem to go to the beer halls or beer gardens with larger groups, and bars and clubs are, for obvious reasons, more accommodating to larger groups.
And please, for all that is good and right in this world, fight the urge to go to T.G.I. Friday’s, or the new Hard Rock Café and/or Hooters that have moved in since I left less than a year ago. (I debated not even mentioning these places, hoping nobody would find them; that’s just wishful thinking, though) Not only is Prague my little baby, but it’s also one of the most vibrant cities in the world. Don’t treat it like a strip mall in suburbia. You’ll be back to the States soon enough. If you’re absolutely craving home cooking, I’ve suggested a couple local places that do good American food, with a unique Czech twist.
So we’re clear, ‘expat’ means expatriate, or someone living abroad. When I was living in Prague, I was an American expat.
Click the links for reviews, maps, transport directions, and official websites (which will give menu prices and cover charge information). Scroll over the names for the hyperlinks. I’ve also included the web address at the end, just in case.
OK, on with the show:
ZIZKOV – Chill at a beer garden, choose among dozens of pubs, and rub elbows with in-the-know Praguers at packed bars and clubs.
Just outside the city center, Žižkov is the best area for an all-in-one nightlife experience. Good places for eating, drinking, and clubbing. Pubs on literally every corner, and prices are decent. One of the two main beer gardens is situated right on the edge of this district, and offers an unbeatable sunset view of the city and castle. This area is also the favorite haunt of expats, so don’t be surprised if you run into a bunch of Americans living in Prague and teaching English. Heck, throw out a “Do you know Tim Montgomery?” if you’d like.
The district is easy enough to reach by public transportation, but once there the best way to get around is on foot. Which is fine, since most of the places are within easy walking distance of each other. The thing that you must keep in mind at the end of night, however, is that you might have a relatively long journey back. You’ll probably have to rely on night trams, which come every 30 minutes. A few things to keep in mind: do NOT fall asleep on the tram; have a validated ticket (more inspectors at night); trams running DOWNHILL go back to the city center; and expect a strange mix of party-goers and homeless-people on board.
Beer garden, good for large groups, always full of locals and expats: Riegrovy Sady Beer Garden http://prague.tv/prague/nightlife/bars/riegrovy-sady-beer-garden
Eat: U Sadu is a fantastic pub with great ambiance and quirky decor where you can stuff your face with hearty Czech grub and have a drink. http://prague.tv/prague/dining/restaurants-czech/pivnice-u-sadu:6277
Drink: Blind Eye is a dive bar with a good crowd, mix of locals and expats, and open very late. http://prague.tv/prague/nightlife/clubs/blind-eye:954
To be honest, it’s hard to go wrong in Žižkov. These are my tried tested and true places. If you hit each one of these in one night, I can guarantee a ridiculously fun time. But other hot spots in the district are more or less on par. Just do be safe, though.
LETNA AND HOLESOVICE – Follow the nightly migration of locals out of the city center to this area, home to the best clubs in the city, and a beer garden with stunning views to boot.
The following places are spread over a large area, and are out of the city center. Like Žižkov, you’ll have to rely on public transportation both on the way there and back. Be smart, know your surroundings, and plan your route back before you go out!!!! If you manage to do that, you’ll be glad you went out of your way…these places are a can’t miss if you’re going for memorable Euro club experience, and the beer garden is an absolute must-do.
Eat: Missing American dining already? Fraktal has the best burgers in town and does full breakfast and brunch until 3:30pm on weekdays (though I do hope you’ll have already eaten breakfast and headed out exploring before 3pm!). http://prague.tv/prague/nightlife/bars/fraktal Drink: Bring your camera.
In terms of scenery, you can’t beat the Letna Beer Garden. Just across the river, it’s easier to get to than other places in this area. Day or night, you’ll have great overviews of the city and its ‘one-thousand spires’. http://www.praguebeergarden.com/pubs/post/letna-beer-garden/
Party: As one reviewer wrote, the interior of Cross Club looks ‘like someone dismembered a troop of terminators and stuck the pieces all over the walls and ceilings’. Another described it as ‘Terry Gilliam-goes-cyberpunk’. A ‘mechanical music venue’, this full-on, techno dance club has to be seen to be believed. And since in all my time in Prague I never saw it…I can only go by what everyone else says about it. Expect a cover, and MIND YOUR BELONGINGS! Unfortunately, just like the crap touristy clubs, you have to be careful and keep a constant eye on your things. This unique place is a bit further afield, so plan your way back ahead of time!!! http://prague.tv/prague/nightlife/clubs/crossclub
WENCESLAS SQUARE – At the geographical center of Prague’s nightlife you’ll find good restaurants, memorable pubs, and old dance halls, all at moderate prices if you know where to look.
For the homebodies who like to hang close to the center, there are several nice options to choose from.
Eat: A little pricier than average Czech pubs, but Bredovský Dvůr does it right. Big meals, English-friendly, modern style, Pilsner straight from the brewery. Good luck finding a table for 4, though. Go early. http://prague.tv/prague/dining/restaurants-czech/restaurace-bredovsky-dvur:990
Drink: U Pinkasů was the first place in town to serve Plzensky Prazdroj, AKA Pilsner Urquell, the original pilsner beer! It’s a touch on the pricey side, accordingly, so don’t stay long if you’re looking to save some crown. This makes for a good stop on the walking tour during the day. http://prague.tv/prague/dining/restaurants-czech/u-pinkasu-restaurant-and-beer-hall:2243
Drink: Perhaps more than any other place, U Sudu has left a deep impression on everyone I’ve taken there. Go in and keep walking back…and down! Keep going. Down again. It’s a labyrinth of underground gothic cellars, smoky bar areas, and crowds of young people, local and foreign alike. Just be careful…purses and bags are snatched here on a regular basis. Keep them within sight at all times. http://prague.tv/prague/nightlife/wine-bars/vinarna-u-sudu:2024
Party: Lucerna has long been on the Prague nightlife scene. Not the quintessential European club, it has more of an American feel, especially on 80s night. Usually at least a 100 crown entrance fee, with dance concerts on weekends. Also has an adjacent restaurant which serves up good food at reasonable prices. About as central location as you can get. Look for the massive Lucerna sign on the main street. http://prague.tv/prague/nightlife/clubs/lucerna-music-bar
Party: A mini-club, often with free entry, Zlaté Časy is more of an upscale bar, and won’t provide the full ‘club’ experience. Nevertheless, the location is ideal, it’s hard to argue with free entrance, and the prices are about average for clubs (expect to pay 2x average price/drink). http://prague.tv/prague/nightlife/bars/zlate-casy-restaurant-music-bar:8567
NEAR OLD TOWN SQUARE – A couple of good options in an otherwise overpriced, touristy area.
Eat and Drink: Catering to the Latin American Crowd, La Casa Blu has a surprisingly cheap menu (considering the area), a great Latin ambiance, good mixed drinks…and it’s entirely NON-SMOKING! A very good place. Could be tough to find a table for >4. http://prague.tv/prague/dining/latin-american/la-casa-blu1
Drink: I’ve never been here, but I know many expats frequent Chapeau Rouge. Always seemed too intense of a scene for me. It’s more of an American Bar with Czech touches. But like I said, people swear by it. http://prague.tv/prague/nightlife/clubs/chateau-lenfer
Party: Frequented by locals, expats, and tourists (next door to a major hostel) alike, Roxy promises to provide a memorable experience. I’ve never actually been inside, but I know it’s crowded and bumping every night. Expect a cover. http://prague.tv/prague/nightlife/clubs/roxy
BY NARODNI TRIDA, SOUTH OF OLD TOWN – Huge beer halls, dark medieval alleys, comfortable cafes, and chic clubs. In terms of variety and atmosphere, this is Prague at its best.
Eat: U Medvídků – A massive beer hall, this is the place to go for the best Budvar (original Budweiser) in town. Serves up quintessential Czech fare. Also consider stopping here for lunch or a refreshment on your walking tour. Even though the place is huge, tables may be hard to come by. Reservations are common, so be sure not to sit down at a table which has been reserved. http://prague.tv/prague/dining/restaurants-czech/restaurace-u-medvidku:47
Drink and Eat: Brimming with ambiance (think art nouveau meets an old living room), Velryba has a moderately-priced menu and very friendly staff. Make your way to the back where you can lounge while enjoying your drink. A favoUrite of my girlfriend! http://prague.tv/prague/dining/restaurants-czech/velryba:49
Drink: Though expensive, you almost have to go to U Fleku for the history, tradition, and atmosphere of this old, famous beer hall. They brew their own beer. It is expensive and waiters tempt you by carrying around trays of shots, so don’t stay long or you’ll be heading back to the ATM in no time. Also consider this on your walking tour http://prague.tv/prague/dining/restaurants-czech/pivovar-a-restaurace-u-fleku:2754
Party: Across the narrow alley from U Fleku, Nebe is an upscale cocktail bar open late. There’s a smallish dance floor and good music. http://prague.tv/prague/nightlife/clubs/nebe-kremencova:8017
Party: A legendary live music venue, Rock Cafe can be hit or miss. Definitely group friendly and not as claustrophobic as some late night dance halls. http://prague.tv/prague/nightlife/clubs/rock-cafe
ANDEL – Further afield, this bustling, modern square has some very good restaurants and a nearby club which provides an alternative to the keyed-up places mentioned above.
Eat: Head to Plzeňský restaurant Anděl for a very Czech restaurant whose wait staff may or may not speak English. The place hits all the marks when it comes to authentic Czech dining. www.restauraceandel.cz
Drink: Get off the main square at Andel and into the side streets, and you’ll discover a plethora of nice little pubs with good prices.
Party: At Futurum you’ll find a more relaxed atmosphere, not as intense, expensive, and techno as, say, Cross Club. That being said, expect a cover and a crowd made up almost entirely of young locals. There’s a big screen showing music videos, mostly featuring 80s and 90s music. Guaranteed to get everyone dancing. http://prague.tv/prague/nightlife/clubs/futurum-music-bar:109
– Tim Montgomery. Certain pictures are property of the author.