Founded in 1911, this is a relatively new café by Prague standards. Still, it has one of the richest histories in the city, as it was a favourite of everybody from Kafka to Max Brod. Brod was a very close friend of Kafka and had instructions to burn every single manuscript Kafka had ever written upon his death. Brod broke his promise and published them instead, making Kafka into the legend he is today. Tucked away in an unassuming street in Old Town, the café was restored to its original glory in the 1990s using furniture, photographs and artistic details from the time.
Café Slavia is a perfect example of what is known locally as a “Prague grand café”, technically, an Art Deco space with glass windows, imposing crystal chandeliers and lots of mirrors. Slavia used to be the meeting place for anti-communist dissidents several decades ago (Czechia’s current president was a regular here as well). Because of its location right across the street from the National Theater, this cafe is now popular not only with theatre-goers, but also with the artists that perform there. There are great views of the river if you get the right table.
Art & Food
This special restaurant is a somewhat strange mix of fine dining and art gallery that, actually, makes perfect sense once you step into the building. Offering dishes based on traditional Czech recipes (modernised to look like small pieces of art on the plate), Art & Food also houses an extensive collection of paintings by Czech artists. From 7–10pm every night of the week, you can catch live performances by local musicians.
When it comes to street art, Prague is one of the most exciting cities in Europe. Part of that is thanks to the work of Czech sculptor David Černý. Černý is well known for his tongue-in-cheek giant art which you’ll be able to find all around Prague.
One famous example is the statue of St Wenceslas riding an upside-down (dead) horse. Found inside the Lucerna shopping passage, the statue is a joke based on the other famous St Wenceslas statue standing in front of the National Museum.
Cerny is also famous for his statues of giant crawling babies, which can be found at Kampa Park and crawling up the TV tower in the Žižkov neighbourhood, and the animated sculpture of a giant head inspired by Kafka’s The Metamorphosis.
When walking around Prague, look up. There are many works of art hanging from buildings, power lines and bridges.