pátek 12. prosince 2014


Years ago almost all the fun in Prague took place in the old town. The “happening ” cafes  and bars were in the old town. Marquise de Sade ,Gulu Gulu ,Blatouch ,La Casa Blue or Lit Caf (literární kavárna) to name just a few were all located around the Old Town square. Of course there were many other hangouts elsewhere in the city but the Old Town was the epicenter of social life .It was at a time when the city still awash with  euphoria ,money and lots of young Americans being adventurous.

 By the mid 2000’s though the café scene in Old Town had begun to die a slow death. The rents had soared, the Old Town was a tourist trap and perhaps young people wanted a different a kind of café, not dark, moody spaces furnished with attic finds from your grandmother. Prague seemed lost and wandering. One of the first places to open in a completely unusual part of the city was Shakespeare and sons. The café in the vein of its original Paris predecessor frequented by the  likes of Hemmingway,the Prague descendant opened in Krymská on the border between  Vinohrady and Vršovice. When it started about a decade ago it also catered to expats and had good coffee. It has  since gone through a number of changes and is today known as café v Lese, the first outpost of hip Berlin style in Prague. With time more cafes and other bars followed. Today Krymská and the surrounding streets are home to numerous bars, cafes and bistros which have revived the Prague café scene.

Old Prague style coffee
Image courtesy of: www.coffeehouseprague.eu

A while back I took a friend of mine for an evening out in this funky part of the city and  since then I have discovered other bars worth visiting in the vicinity.
CoffeeHouse is a good place to start your day or evening with excellent fresh coffee and enough quiet to plan your next move. It has something of the old style 90’s Prague cafes but without all the smoke and bad wine. An advantage is also the outside summer seating on the tranquil patio.

 You might want to go on to Zenit Café which is slightly beaten up but its two small rooms are a great place to have a drink and talk, the décor is “eclectic” in a new hip way and although I haven’t had coffee there the wine is good .If  you are  into something more fancy like cocktails you will head for Café V Lese, where the staff can mix a few basic cocktails as they have quite a selection of spirits. Otherwise it is the place to go for funky parties in the dugout cellar. While you might have the impression that you are going down to get some apples or potatoes  you are actually entering a club. Cafe v Lese has become so popular that patrons are asked not to be too loud when gonging outside for a smoke .

Zenit at night

Image courtesy of: https://www.facebook.com/pages/ZENIT/791244840894808?sk=photos_stream

Before clubbing though you might want to get something to eat in Café Sladkovský, where apart from drinks you can get some really good burgers and some equally tasty vegetarian stuff. Another place I recently discovered is Fusion Bistro a few streets up in Máchova .Fusion Bistro offers a number of Indonesian dishes by its Indonesian co owner and other rather delectable food. It has the same farm to table vibe of the other Prague hipster places where simplicity is key.

Fusion Bistro
Image courtesy of: http://www.javanka.cz

For some late night drinking Boudoir also known as U sta Ran is the place to go. This bar also has some great wine and outstanding coffee .The crowd tends to be mixed, gay and straight or a kind of gender bender which is evident in the unmarked bathrooms. When I took my boss and his boyfriend there , I got mixed reactions. His boyfriend referred to it as an “alternative bar”(he’s a hairdresser). Whatever you might think it also has a very nice patio in summer.

Budoir by M.d.Sade
Image by :By Chris Jalufka

There are of course other bars and establishments such as the Solution gallery housed in what used to be an antiques store that closed exactly a year ago or Strojovna where you can learn to sew  pleases your fancy. I might come back to some of the other venues in and around this street in the future. What all these cafes and businesses have in common though is an effort to establish a sense of community which is soooooo rare in Prague.