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 of four 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.
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 glad 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 200 kinds on offer.
Located on the main avenue of the Letná neighbourhood, Cobra operates as a sunlit bistro by day and a lively cocktail bar by night. The space once belonged to a 24-hour gambling bar of the same name and has since been converted into a design-led interior with broad windows, high ceilings and distressed walls. In a nod to its all-night heritage, doors are open 18 hours a day, seven days a week. Expect nightly DJ sets and a chilled but lively ambience.
Located in the basement of the U Prince Hotel 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.
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 include the first president of the Czech Republic, Václav Havel, and former American president Bill Clinton.
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. Customers can enjoy wine in a well-ventilated space lined with wall-to-wall bottles. Wine pairings are also available, with a staff of sommeliers on hand to assist you with suggestions.
Pay homage to a legendary writer at Bukowski’s Bar
Cocktail Bar, Cocktails, $$$
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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 locals 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 a friendly bar staff and low music.
Most Czech pubs tend to serve a single beer brand on draught, but this independent bar offers 32 different taps of craft beers that rotate on a daily basis, among 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.
For fine cocktails in a quaint setting away from the bustle of the city centre, head to Elbow Room. There’s a well-stocked bar and a trio of tables and bar stools against a backdrop of low lighting and music. Customers can take their drinks into a second, candlelit room with more seating and murals in the style of Native American cave paintings. Elbow Room is the more well-behaved sibling of its sister bar Bukowski’s.
This cosy wine bar in the central municipality of Karlín focusses on natural wines from Central Europe. Each wine on the list hails from a region of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire and 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. These can optionally 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.