If you haven’t been to Prague, you should put it on your to-do list immediately. The first time Kati and I went, we drove from Vienna. We were advised that the roads are not good and it would be a long trip. Except for a small section where the road seemed to disappear, the roads were great. And the small towns that you passed through were charming and welcoming.
Once we got to Prague, we fell in love. Prague was not just the former capital of Bohemia, I had come to know Prague from such things as the INXS video Never tear us Apart and the film Mission Impossible.
The Czech capital city is a mishmash of gorgeous medieval architecture, historic buildings, and beautiful places to eat and drink.
Prague is one of Europe’s most visited cities and it is not hard to understand why. The fairy-tale-like old center and its surroundings are filled with castles, old gothic churches, wall courtyards, and cobble-stones streets. The city was mostly spared in World War Two so many of Prague’s ancient structures still stand like they did when they were built hundreds of years ago.
Kati and I happen to be there when the city center came out to watch football (soccer to us Americans) on a big screen that was erected. It seemed that the whole city was there. It was exciting, but I do not remember who won.
The city was founded in the 9th century and sits on the Vltava River and soon became the seat of empire for Bohemian Kings and emperors of the Holy Roman Empire. In the 14th century Charles IV ruled the area and Prague thrived under him with the buildings of the New Town area and the iconic Charles Bridge being named after him. When the iron curtain was lifted, Prague became a tourist hotspot and now it remains a cultural capital of central Europe alongside Vienna and Krakow.
Prague is a great place for bars and clubs so if you’re a beer drinker or someone who fancies a cocktail at night, Prague is a great place. Beer can cost as low as $2 USD for a half-liter in a pub and as low as 75 cents USD if bought in a grocery store. Beer is quite literally cheaper than water. If you’re looking to bar hop around Prague and get a taste of its eclectic nightlife, check out some of these best bars in Prague. By the way, bars and restaurants stay open quite late. Kati and I stumbled into an underground place to have a pizza about 3AM and left about 4:30AM.
Starting off the list with a local and tourist favorite the Lokál Dlouhááá is part of a chain of pubs all going by the Lokál name. Don’t let the fact that it’s a chain deter you though, this pub is a perfect place to either start off your night and pre-drink as there are a lot of clubs nearby or as a place to stop by in the afternoon and grab a drink while you eat. What makes visiting this place worth it is the interior of the pub is modeled on old school Czech pubs from the 60s and 70s so you can feel like you took a little step back in time. The beer served here is always fresh and cheap and you even indulge in some of the local liquors served by shot. Enjoy local and simple dishes and get a taste of Prague in one little pub.
U Zlatého Tygra
Known in the English crowd as the “Golden Tiger” the U Zlatého Tygra is a special place for local Czechs. Despite its location in the Old Town the place is a favorite amongst the locals and even carries a long bit of history and culture behind it. The house that once existed here was built in the 14th century and the complex as a whole is one of the oldest in the central part of Prague. Although the building has been around for a while it only became a bar and restaurant in the 1800s. The original gothic style of the old cellars remains and that’s where the current Golden Tiger remains. Not only that but the legendary old pub is commonly visited and has been visited by famous Czech luminaries in politics, culture, and art and even during the Soviet-era, the pub was known for its democratic philosophies. The Golden Tiger was regularly visited by Czech author Bohumil Hrabal and was also visited by Bill Clinton. If you visit, you might notice the benches outside. The beaches are reserved for old-time regulars that still visit daily for a pint. They’re not for tourists.
Although it might seem a little “touristy” in concept the bar is an award-winning cocktail bar that will deliver delicious mixologist-made drinks if you’re looking to get away from beer for a bit. The bar pays tribute to iconic American author Ernest Hemingway who was known for his adventures and also known for his love of drink. The bar aims to recreate a little bit of a feel of Hemingway’s Havana days with Cuban-inspired décor, wood paneling, and leather seats. The people behind the bar can whip up a custom cocktail for you or select something from their extensive absinth or rum menu.
Cash Only Bar
Located in the heart of Old Town, Cash Only Bar is a small and cozy bar that is hip and cool while also having a little bit of old-school bohemian charm. Cash Only Bar is relatively small so there isn’t always a ton of room but getting in a good way to start or even end your night of partying. Get a spot at the bar and chit chat with your fellow patrons and sip on delicious and expertly made cocktails. Cash Only Bar also serves their own hot dogs that are homemade with quality ingredients so whether you need something in your stomach to soak up the alcohol from the night or you’re looking for a snack before your night begins, order a couple of their homemade hot dogs. Their cozy interior, delicious food, and even better cocktails make a visit to Cash Only Bar a worthy spot. Also, in case you haven’t gleaned from the name, bring cash because the bar is cash only.
T-Anker is one of Prague’s best bars. If you’re looking for a taste of the city (and amazing views of it) T-Anker is your go-to. If you’re a big fan of beer T-Anker is going to be a treat for you. Located at Namesti Republiky, T-Anker’s terrace offers a panoramic view of the Old Town Square on one side and the Prague Castle on the other so make sure you bring a camera because the views are pretty stellar.
T-Anker has over 40 different types of beer available from around the world but if you’re looking to try out the best in Czech beer, they also have a rotating menu featuring solely beer from Czech microbreweries. If you can manage it try to get a spot on the terrace during the sunset you won’t regret it. T-Anker is only open until 10 pm so come early!
Located in the Old Town area, this bar is party central for rock lovers. While it’s not exactly a “traditional” place in Prague to drink it is a place to party any night of the week. The bar is underground so it is a bit dark and dingy but that only plays to its hard-rocking aesthetic. Serving up amazing cocktails, delicious beers, and an even better music playlist Harley’s is all about motorcycles, rock, and roll, and partying. The weekdays here are a little more on the relaxed side and it is more of a place where you can grab some drinks with friends and have some conversation, but on the weekends the place comes alive and the entire place, from the bar to the tabletops become a dancefloor.
Pivo a párek
Leaning on the more “traditional” side of things is the classic pub and restaurant Pivo a párek. Translating in English to literally “beer and hot dogs” the name delivers exactly what you’ll get when you’re dining here. The area is a popular spot for people looking to grab a bite and a beer as well as those looking to sit here all night with their friends and try every beer on their menu. When you get here, you’ll notice the name of several breweries with descriptions and that will serve as your guide for a menu. The weekly rotation of Czech beers makes Pivo a párek a place worth coming back to on a weekly basis. You’ll also notice that degrees, not alcohol percentage which might cause some confusion but as a quick guide, the higher the degrees, the higher the alcohol content.
The hot dog part of the name refers more to sausages and bread rather than what North Americans would consider “hot dogs”. So think more grilled sausage and doughy bun rather than a frankfurter in a hot dog bun. The place is very casual and even has an outdoor garden area where it’s not uncommon to find people smoking while they drink.
Located in what was once the swimming pool of an old army barracks, Kasarna Karlín is one of Prague’s weirdest and most entertaining spots to grab a drink and hang out. Keeping the vibes pretty casual, the Kasarna Karlín is a place that’s great to come by no matter what time of the year it is. In the summer months, there are often film screenings being shown here so you can have a pilsner while you watch movies and in the wintertime, there’s an ice skating rink where you take a few laps around and then settle into a boozy hot chocolate.
Black Angel’s Bar
Located in the Old Town square Black Angel’s Bar is a 1920s-style cocktail lounge. Located in the basement of the Hotel U Prince the bar pays homage to American-style speakeasies of the era while also tributing Czech master mixologist Aloise Krchy. Krchy was a local mixologist and true booze connoisseur who counted such people like Al Capone, Coco Chanel, and Charlie Chaplain as personal acquaintances. The bar is beautifully designed with elaborate decor and dark wood paneling with golden accents to give it the 20s vibe. In keeping with the prohibition atmosphere guests are expected to dress smartly and photography is not allowed.
Restaurace U Vejvodů
Located in a pre-Hussite building built-in 1403 there is practically no place in Prague that comes close to the tradition that Restaurace U Vejvodů brings. The deeply historic building and restaurant are real relics of the Bohemian Kingdoms of the past that other places in the city can hope to replicate. The restaurant is famous among the locals and travelers and with its two separate levels, there’s plenty of space for everyone.
The first level of the restaurant is a typical Czech beer hall complete with memorabilia, pictures, and decorations denoting the beer halls’ past and the glory days of Czech beer brewing. Enjoy traditional Czech dishes and beer while listening to traditional Bohemian folk music.
The upper floor leans more on a modern-ish pub-like atmosphere with modern music and bringing in younger crowds. It’s more of a place where you can sit and chit chat with some friends while enjoying a few beers in one of Prague’s most historic buildings. Regardless of whatever space you choose, Restaurace U Vejvodů serves Pilsner Urquell which comes in fresh from the brewery every day and will only cost you around 2$ USD for a pint.
Anonymous Shrink’s Office
You’ve probably never been psychoanalyzed for a drink before but now you can! Bringing a little mystery and intrigue to the world of cocktails, Anonymous Shrink’s Office operates on a little secrecy. First, you’ll have to ring a doorbell to get in, then if there’s space available, you’ll be led to a leather chair where you’ll be given a menu. The menu however is a series of Rorschach ink-blot tests that will determine which drink is right for you.
The last time we went to Prague, we stayed in a hotel that used to be an insurance company. The writer Franz Kafka used to work there and his office was still left as if he was still working. With that being said, Prague was far from Kafkaesque. Prague is a beautiful old city that really is one of the best destinations for drinkers. Fancy cocktail bars, old Bohemian beer halls, and modern lounges all offer a little something unique in the landscape of the city. And with prices that can’t be beaten, you won’t break the bank trying all of these delicious Czech beers.
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