You’ve just arrived in this great city, and you fancy experiencing the nightlife. Where do you head? Well, Prague is jammed with bars and clubs to suit most tastes, and if you know where to look (some are very well hidden) you can find some very unique gems.
From a classic Parisian bar, with a twist; to a hidden underground vault; to a fifties lounge; and a club straight out of a Terry Gilliam movie, Prague has it all.
Ok, let’s get started on our bar crawl.
We’ll begin with a drink in a classy little bar. Tucked away, just off the busy Wenceslas Square, inside the Lucerna arcade is a small bar called Kavovarna. With Parisian style cafe seating outside, but still undercover (thanks to its location inside a stylish arcade), black and white Hollywood imagery on the walls, an occasional Zaz soundtrack, and a carved life-size monk, this place whispers charm. And with a huge range of drinks available, including a tasty selection of non-alcoholic cocktails, there is no excuse not to pop in for a first tipple.
This bar and club, may be very well known, and popular with tourists, but I still think it has retained a unique feel. Even before you enter the bar, you are faced with window displays of odd objects – remember the mutated toys from the film ’Toy Story’, you get the idea. Inside the quirky theme continues, with ships’ figureheads and American signage set against deep red walls. Though there are two floors of clubs beneath the bar, for me, personally the bar is the main attraction, as it’s a great place to meet fellow travellers and locals. Plus the barstaff are very friendly.
Thanks to the barmaid Tereza for letting me sketch her.
You could easily be forgiven for walking straight past this bar, as its entrance is well hidden. Just a short distance away from the Národní Trida metro stop, in the direction of the river, stands a small doorway, which after 8pm opens to reveal an unlit stairway. With minimal signage, and no lighting, this entrance is barely noticeable. For those willing to venture down the pitch dark stairs, a quirky underground, vaulted bar awaits. That’s if they don’t accidently stumble across the giant resident Irish wolf hound, who sports a Mohican, and has been known to rest at the foot of the stairway.
With amazing live music, a unique bar area (massive plaster rabbit head, hangman’s noose), and drinks served in jars, this place has a Bohemian student feel. So, why not follow the rabbit down its hole, well here the rabbit is a massive dog, but there are still plenty of drinks and strangeness at the other end.
Standing at the foot of the Petrin hill, on the other side of the river, this small but quirky bar is almost an art gallery that serves drinks. As you sup your pint, you gradually take in the strange decor – from giant metal sea monsters that flow out of the walls, to crawling metal insect-like creatures. And then there is the twisted metal and carved wooden furniture, which remind me a little of Salvador Dali’s melting clocks.
If you fancy something that appeals a little bit more to your inner-hipster, if you have one, or can admit to one, then the Malkovich Bar is for you. The first thing that you’ll probably notice you when you enter this small cocktail bar, especially if you’re of a certain age, is the authentic 1950s,60s and 70s furniture, which can conjure up nostalgic memories. The whole place feels like someone’s lounge. After a few drinks you could begin to feel like you’ve been invited back to a house party, which just happens to be on the set of a period drama. With a warm atmosphere and quirky visuals (art wall paper, Christmas lights, and a porcelain stag’s head), not too mention great occasional live music, this bar is worth a trip to the expat suburb of Zizkov.
This club is located a little way from the centre of the city. It is also very popular with tourists. That being said, it is still unique enough to warrant a look. This is especially true during the warm summer evenings when the multilevel beer garden (constructed around metal, mechanical artwork) comes to life. Seemingly inspired by Terry Gilliam’s film ’Brazil’, this warren of metal caverns and flashing lights appears to have almost become a right of passage for travellers drifting through this city.
Ok, so the bar crawl has finally come to an end. You’ve travelled all over this amazing city, visiting some of the most unique bars and clubs it has to offer. By now the sun should be peering bleary-eyed over the horizon.
Already planning the next night out? Remember, Prague has loads of hidden gems; so why not seek out some of your own.
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