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.
Find inspiration at Hemingway Bar
Bar, Cocktail Bar, Pub Grub, $$$
Hemingway Bar is in Prague’s Old Town | Courtesy of Hemingway Bar
This award-winning cocktail lounge pays tribute to Ernest Hemingway, a writer who’s as famous for his drinking habits as he is for his work. The bar has Cuban-inspired decor with wood furnishings and leather seats, in a nod to Hemingway’s love of the island. The experienced mixologists are always happy to recommend custom-designed drinks, while the unique cocktail list is heavy on absinthe and champagne. Ernest Hemingway’s penchant for fine rum is also celebrated here, with over 200 kinds on offer.
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.
Bar Cobra is a bistro by day and a cocktail bar by night | Courtesy of Bar Cobra
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.
Pay homage to a legendary writer at Bukowski’s Bar
Cocktail Bar, Cocktails, $$$
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.
Vinograf Wine Bar in the New Town offers a selection of over 700 wines | Courtesy of Vinograf Wine Bar
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.
Bar, Wine Bar, Austrian, Hungarian, Italian, Wine, Beer, Czech, $$$
This cosy wine bar in the central municipality of Karlín focusses on natural wines from Central Europe. Hailing from the former Austro-Hungarian Empire, each wine is produced sustainably using traditional methods. The sommeliers will guide you through the many wines – all of which can be served by the glass or bottle. The wines can be paired with cured meats and cheeses. As a hallmark of authenticity, the bar owners personally vet each of the featured winemakers.
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.
Located in a pre-Hussite building dating from 1403, Restaurace U Vejvodů possesses a richly historic atmosphere that other bars in Prague can only dream of replicating. It is divided into two distinct levels – each with a unique character. On the lower level is the beer hall, awash with photographs and other memorabilia from the glory days of Czech brewing and set to the tunes of classic Bohemian folk music. The upper floor is more pub-like, with its modern music and younger crowds, and is a fine place to while away the evening. Regardless of which space you choose, try the Pilsner Urquell beer. It comes in fresh from the brewery every day, and you’ll love the price.
Perched on the roof of the communist-era shopping mall OD Kotva, the T-Anker Bar offers sublime views of Prague’s Old Town. Its large selection of local and international beers changes weekly, so there is always something new and exciting to try. Also, the bar offers a changing menu of reasonably priced dishes that are all paired, by number, to beers permanently on tap. Each beer is given a short taste description so that diners know what to expect, and in-house ‘beer sommeliers’ can help you choose the best brew based on your favourite flavours.
BeerGeek Bar offers 32 different taps of local and international craft beers | Courtesy of BeerGeek Bar
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.
Tucked away on a sidestreet in the middle of Old Town, the Aloha Wave Lounge is a tad difficult to find but is certainly worth the search. With a classic Hawaiian theme, the bar promises to be a tropical escape from the stress of the city. It serves American and Hawaiian-style food all day, but enjoying one of its speciality cocktails in the bar while listening to live music is where the fun truly begins. Try the Old Cuban, a rum-based cocktail created by New Yorker Audrey Saunders.
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.