Discovering Prague Cafés

Let´s start dreaming together and imagine you are in Prague… you just spent a wonderful morning walking around the city, discovering Charles Bridge, Prague Castle, the Astronomical clock or the former Jewish Ghetto… now it´s time to relax, sit down, soak in every moment and all the beauty you´ve just experienced and seen… where else to relax then in a nice café…

Coffee drinking became a pleasant routine for many of us and it goes back to early centuries… according to one legend, coffee was discovered by an accident in Yemen, when a young shepherd named Kaldi grazed his herd of goats in the Yemeni mountains. One day, the goats began to graze on bushes with red berries, after which they began to roam more than usual. The abbot of a nearby monastery learned about the story and had the fruit boiled in water and served to the monks. After drinking the drink, they were able to stay awake in prayer longer and very quickly got used to the energy that the drink gave them. During the rains, they dried the twigs with the fruits, and one fell directly into the fire. And there you go – the coffee drink was born. There are so many lucky accidents in our history, when something important was discovered by mistake (like penicillin or X-ray)…

The history of coffee in Europe starts around the 17th century, when this magic plant reached European ports and cities, most probably thanks to the Venetians. Perhaps, if you have been in Venice, you´ve visited the oldest European café on St. Marks square “Caffé Florian? Or maybe during your visit of Vienna you´ve experienced the still living coffee culture in the traditional coffee houses like „Café Central“?

Prague coffee culture is very vibrant, with many traditional cafés and also very interesting modern ones. Let´s mention a couple of those, so you can enjoy the relaxing moment after your day full of discoveries…

Starting with a traditional café I have to definitely mention Café Louvre. It was founded already in 1902 and many important figures visited this place, such as Franz Kafka, Albert Einstein, or our first president T.G.Masaryk. Definitely many novels and bright new ideas were written by the tables of Café Louvre. Until today to continue this tradition, they still have a blank piece of paper and a pencil on each table, so if a bright idea comes to your mind, you can make a note immediately. We are waiting for the new discoveries made while sipping the best hot chocolate in Prague…

Another traditional and unique café you would enjoy is Grand Café Orient. I guess names like Georges Braque or Pablo Picasso are very familiar to you, representing an amazing style of Cubism. But original Cubist architecture is very rare around Europe. However in Czechoslovakia in the 20s, Cubism was a very popular style of architecture and the House of Black Madonna, where our Grand Café Orient is situated, represents one of the best examples of Cubism in our city. After the Velvet Revolution in 1989 the café was completely and thoroughly renovated into the original Cubist style. When visiting today you can enjoy this enchanting interior and taste for example the café´s sweet specialty – “kubistický věneček” – custard-filled choux pastry… usually it is baked in a round shape, but following the cubistic rules for geometrical straight shapes, the pastry is prepared here as a square one.

Those were some traditional cafés, where you would feel like back in the 20s. Now let me mention two of my favorite cafés with a charm and a special atmosphere.

First would be Styl&Interiér. Situated just round the corner from the busy Wenceslas Square, the owners of this café also run an interior design shop at the same place, so it´s a showroom and café in one. The main reason why I love this place is the relaxing garden in the inner courtyard … and the artistic cakes!

My second tip for an atmospheric café would be New World Café. This slightly hidden place is waiting for you after your wonderings around the Prague Castle area, situated in part of Prague that we call “New World”, something like the “Prague Montmartre” … many writers, painters, film directors and other artists used to live here. The café is a small, family-run place with charming atmosphere, and their terrace garden faces the Stag Moat, which used to be part of the defensive system around the Prague Castle. 

The final two cafés are more modern places popular among the locals. Café Neustadt is a lively, bohemian place situated in the courtyard of the New Town Hall, directly in the center of the city. Very often they organize different concerts, so coming here in the afternoon for a late lunch after all the steps you walked around the city and staying until the evening for a glass of wine with a taste of local music scene … it´s really not a bad idea…

The last café on our list is called Můj šálek kávy (My cup of coffee). To taste some of the best coffee in Prague, you have to travel little bit out of the city center, but it´s worth it! The Karlín district, where the café is situated, has changed from an industrial suburb of Prague into a cool lively neighborhood and it will show you a bit more modern view of our historical city.  

And now – have you had your coffee today? … prepare one cup for youself and enjoy it while watching a legendary Czech comedy/musical Kdyby tisíc klarinetů (If A Thousand Clarinets), wonderful movie from 1965, where all the guns turn into musical instruments… I am sure you will love the music and the great sense of humor.


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