Prague is renowned for its nightlife, with the city boasting the second-highest density of bars in the world. From traditional taverns to late-night lounges, the Czech capital has something to suit every mood and budget.
The Lokál pub chain is best known for serving premium pilsner beer out of specially treated tanks. This branch, on Dlouhá Street in the Old Town, is the largest and has an interior modelled after the Czech beer halls of the ’60s and ’70s. In addition to fresh beer and simple local dishes, customers can sample traditional liqueurs served by the shot. This pub is as ideal for a relaxed afternoon pint as it is for kicking off a night out, as there are plenty of nightclubs in the vicinity.
Located on the main avenue of the Letná neighbourhood, Bar Cobra operates as a sunlit bistro by day and a lively cocktail bar by night. The premises once belonged to a 24-hour gambling bar of the same name and has since been converted into a design-led space with broad windows, high ceilings and distressed walls. In a nod to its all-night heritage, the doors stay open until the early hours, seven days a week. Expect nightly DJ sets and a chilled but lively ambience.
The historic Golden Tiger, known locally as U Zlatého Tygra, offers an authentic Czech pub experience within the old touristic centre. In the evenings, the front benches are automatically reserved for old-time regulars, who still come daily for the fresh pilsner on tap. The pub is famous for being Czech author Bohumil Hrabal’s regular haunt, while other notable clients have included the first president of the Czech Republic, Václav Havel, and former American president Bill Clinton.
Located in the basement of the Hotel U Prince in the Old Town Square, Black Angel’s Bar serves award-winning vintage cocktails in a Prohibition-era setting. The cocktail menu pays homage to Aloise Krchy, an early-20th-century Czech bartender and master mixologist who counted Al Capone, Coco Chanel and Charlie Chaplin among his acquaintances. In keeping with the speakeasy spirit, smart-casual attire is encouraged, and hats and photography are banned.
In the heart of the Žižkov party district, this bar nurtures the same essence of underground hedonism as Charles Bukowski, the iconic writer it pays homage to. With dim lighting, a cosmopolitan crowd and zigzagging shelves stocked with curios, Bukowski’s is popular with both Prague residents and tourists. The menu is all cocktails and no food, with half-pints of locally brewed Vinohradský lager available on tap. The sociable mood is encouraged by friendly bar staff and low music.
For fine cocktails in a quaint setting away from the bustling city centre, head to Elbow Room – the more well-behaved sibling of its sister bar, Bukowski’s. It features a well-stocked bar and a trio of tables and bar stools against a backdrop of low lighting and music. Customers can also take their drinks into a second, candlelit room with more seating and murals in the style of Native American cave paintings.
Beer might get more global attention, but Czech wine production has a strong national heritage. Vinograf in the New Town offers a huge selection of over 700 wines, with many originating from the local Moravian region. Within a well-ventilated space lined with wall-to-wall bottles, customers can enjoy wine by the glass or bottle, along with a selection of Czech and international cuisine. Wine pairings are also available, with a staff of sommeliers on hand to assist you with suggestions.
This cocktail bar in the culturally vibrant Vršovice district offers stellar drinks in a convivial atmosphere. The vast open space is decorated with a well-stocked bookshelf, which takes up an entire wall, and simple wooden tables and armchairs. Customers can enjoy inventive twists on classic cocktails, with each one named after other neighbourhood bars and enterprises in the community.
Most Czech pubs tend to serve a single beer brand on draught, but this independent bar offers 32 different taps of craft beers – many of which rotate daily – along with hundreds of bottled ales. The love of craft extends to the bar’s in-house brand, Sibeeria Craft Brewery, as well as the furnishings, all of which are handcrafted by the owners. Food from the bar’s Flying Blue Monkey Kitchen includes sharing portions of chicken wings and other greasy snacks to accompany the brews.
If you value the journey over the destination, then the Hangar Bar, located in the ‘cocktail quarter’ of Dušní 9, Prague 1, is for you. Inspired by aviation from the 1940s to the ’60s, this themed bar is divided into two distinct sections. The Hangar Pilot’s Lounge is a quiet space filled with memorabilia from the glory days of Pan Am, including the body of a Clipper aircraft, and where waitresses dressed as stewardesses serve up aviation-themed drinks. The Hangar Club is dedicated to Hollywood stunt pilots, aeroplane mechanics and World War II pilots to represent the rougher side of modern aviation. Make sure you take your camera along to this Instagrammable bar.
In the trendy Old Town, El Mojito Café offers a cosy escape at the end of a long day. Natural wood accents warm the space, while Latin-style artwork and bric-a-brac scattered on the walls, ceiling and various shelves create a relaxing environment. The real stars of El Mojito Café, however, are the exotic cocktails – all artfully assembled with fresh fruit and carefully balanced blends. Take a cue from the bar’s name and start with a mojito. With over a dozen on the menu, there’s bound to be one that tickles your fancy.
Rich Francis contributed additional reporting to this article.