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GUIDE TO PRAGUE
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Prague – the capital
of the Czech Republic
The capital city of the Czech Republic, Prague, is situated in the very heart
of Europe, on a place that has been an intersection of continental merchant
routes since time immemorial. It was the seat of Czech princes and kings
from the tenth century A. D. In the mid-14th century, Prague was the centre
of the Holy Roman Empire and Europe’s third largest city in terms of popula-
tion. As part of the Hapsburg monarchy, Prague remained the capital of
Czech lands, which became the strongest part of the Austro-Hungarian
Empire in terms of economy during the 19th century.
Prague was developing as an important centre where Czech, German
and Jewish cultures met and mingled. Following the establishment
of the Czechoslovak Republic in 1918, Prague became the metropolis of
the new country. It experienced a growth of its territory and a great
building boom. Currently, Prague is a large city of more than one million
people, spreading over almost 500 square kilometres. Following the so-
cial and economic changes in 1989, Prague enhanced its histo rically
strong ties with other cities in Central Europe, and has gradually been
gaining a continuously improving position within the continental struc-
ture of big cities. Prague therefore deserves its recognition as being
a high quality city.
Centuries of construction gave rise to an exceptional integrated archi-
tectural complex, unique in the world as regards its size and concentration
of cultural heritage. Different architectural styles mingle and intertwine
here, and their symbiosis creates the city’s unique atmosphere. The most
valuable part of the city’s centre (866 ha) was declared the Prague Heritage
Reserve in 1971, which was included in UNESCO’s world cultural heritage
list in 1992.
Prague is the seat of the top-level legislative, administrative and political
bodies of the country the parliament, government, and president; and the
most important social, cultural and educational institutions reside here.
The city is the entrance gate to the Czech Republic.
Location
Latitude: 50° 05’ north
Longitude: 14° 25’ east
Elevation: maximum 399 m above sea level, minimum 177 m above sea
level
Area: 496 sq km
Climatic conditions
Prevalent wind direction: Southwest, west, south
Average temperature: 9° C
Average January temperature: -0.9° C
Average July temperature: 19° C
Annual precipitation total: 520 mm/year
Inzerce Praha 115x165 ANG.QX8_Inzerce Praha 115x165 ANG 4.12.09 13:41 Stránka 1
D
ear City of Prague, we would like to thank you for your
huge support in the production of this guide book. Readers
should come here knowing that the Prague City Council was
the first cool enough to support a Vice Guide, another reason
to make your visit.
thanks.indd 1 7.12.2009 15:45:40
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TABLE OF CONTENTS
6 Masthead 8 Employees 10 Tidbits 42 DOs and DON’Ts
VICE GUIDE TO PRAGUE
WELCOME TO PRAGUE . . . . . . . . . . . . 12
DOWNTOWN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 14
ZIZKOV & VINOHRADY . . . . . . . . . . . . . 22
OTHER . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 28
GAY. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 30
ART . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 34
PARTYING . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 38
FASHION: PANEL FLASHBACK . . . . . . . 50
THE PRAGUE BIZARRES . . . . . . . . . . . 58
PRAGUE A-Z . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 60
Cover photo and this photo by Michal Šeba
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PUBLISHER
Pavel Čejka (pavel@viceczech.com)
Tomáš Zilvar (tomas@viceczech.com)
EDITOR
Pavel Čejka (pavel@viceczech.com)
CEO, VICE MEDIA GROUP EUROPE
Andrew Creighton (andrew@viceuk.com)
EU EDITOR Andy Capper (andy@viceuk.com)
EDITOR IN CHIEF VICE GLOBAL Jesse Pearson (jessep@viceland.com)
EXECUTIVE EDITOR VICE GLOBAL Chris Cechin (chrisc@viceland.com)
MUSIC EDITOR Martin Řeháček (martin@viceczech.com)
ADVERTISING
Kristýna Holubová (ads@viceczech.com)
Kateřina Zubrycká (kaca@viceczech.com)
PRODUCTION Lucie Palečková (lucie@viceczech.com)
DISTRIBUTION Ladislav Hain (lada@viceczech.com)
VICE GALLERY
Jaroslav Kyša (jaro@viceczech.com)
INTERNS
Natalie Oko, Lukáš Prchal, Radek Tomšej
LAYOUT
inkubator.ca
WORDS
Bruno Bayley, Jiří Holubec,
Karolina Hošková, Alastair McVeigh
PHOTOS
Radeq Brousil, Adam Holý, Jan Khür, Kamila Stehlíková,
Michal Šeba, Kateřina Zbortková
TRANSLATION
Matthew Blood-Smyth
VICELAND.COM
contact@viceczech.com
All submissions property of VICE Czechoslovakia, s.r.o. The entire content is a copyright of VICE Czechoslovakia, s.r.o. and
cannot be reproduced in whole or in part without written authorization of the publishers. For subscription information go to
www.viceland.com.
PRINTED IN THE CZECH REPUBLIC viceland.com
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PRAGUE STORE
Nápr stkova 4
+420 222 221 342
www.denisanova.cz
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ALASTAIR McVEIGH
Alastair is an intern at Vice who arrived from the UK three
months ago speaking no Czech, and now speaks even less.
He spends his time at Vice playing solitaire, hearts and
freecell, and has a penchant for hairdressers who like 90s
drum’n’bass. Alastair believes that Thatcher was a bigger
symbol for world peace than Obama. He also reckons that
Communism is a good idea and could still work under the
right guidance. But not his, though, because he's a sucker
for consumerism and thinks Lacoste make better polo
shirts than Ralph Lauren because they cost more.
EMPLOYEES OF THE MONTH
KAROLINA HOŠKOVÁ
Karolina is an English literature student in Prague
where she draws moustaches and spliffs on the faces of
famous authors in her text books. Originally aspiring
to be a famous postpostmodern author, she decided to
write for Vice after her computer melted, which per-
haps makes her a postpostmodern author, but not a
famous one. She used to live in Dallas, Texas, and has
also appeared as an extra in a couple of shit films that
you won’t have seen.
MICHAL ŠEBA
Michal was born in 1980, and lived for the first nine years
of his life under Communism. Perhaps it was the chang-
ing environment that inspired him to take photographs,
or maybe he was just shit at drawing. His photographic
journey began at 14 when he got permission to photo-
graph the construction of Prague’s Dancing building when
no one else was allowed to snap it. Michal has spent time
in Spain, and after experiencing all-year-round sunshine
and fine Mediterranean food, wisely decided to return to
Prague and take photos for Vice.
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TIDBITS
RUSSIAN STUFF
You will notice a lot of Russian stuff in the shops here in the Czech
Republic. That is because after the Second World War the Russians
asked the Czech people whether they wanted in on their Utopian Socialist
Fairyland, and only let them out 20 years ago. It was a bit like a 13-
year-old girl making friends with a nice-sounding man in an internet
chat-room and meeting him for a friendly chat and cup of coffee, only
to be turned into the man’s sex slave. Many Russians have decided to
stay on in Prague, where they mostly run the brothels and sell drugs. Of
course, some of the Russian signs in the shops are there so the
imported prostitutes know where to buy alcohol to drink away the pain of
their smutty and sorry lives.
ABSINTHE
Absinthe is illegal almost everywhere in the world, but in Prague you can find
bars that specialise in it. Lord knows why it’s forbidden. For a long time, the
hallucinogenic chemical thujone hasn’t been in it in sufficient quantities to
send you to Bohemian la-la land, and after a night of swilling the sickly green
brew you'll feel, well, nice and awful. That said, the state of drunkenness
produced by absinthe is rare. Set aside an evening, put on a velvet jacket,
study the whole sugary ritual and instead of bar chatter dedicate your talk to
art. If you can keep your balance, people might think you're an intellectual.
FOUR STARS THE OTHER WAY AROUND NO FAT BEERS
In the Czech Republic, that is to say Prague, pubs are divided into four
numbered categories. In the first, the waiters wear white gloves. In the second,
white shirts. In the third, the only white is the foam on the beer. But the true
Czech pub is a 4, with yellowed curtains, fly-paper on the lamps, and walls
sticky with black filth. As soon as you sit
down in these places a beer lands in front of
you. If you want something else you can get
a shot or get out. Beer is still a buck and you
will see how real Czechs enjoy themselves.
And, if you should stumble in on the right
night the service might be topless. OK, so
the ladies are pushing 50 and occasionally
a boob falls in the beer, but you won’t find
something this weird anywhere else.
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DOG SHIT
The Czechs have a friendly obsession with dogs.
But for some reason they don’t like to pick up
dogshit. That means most trips into town end with
a smelly brown mess stuck to your shoe. This could
be explained by the Czechs' utter disregard for
their own environment (see graffiti), their laidback
attitude to life (see weed), or perhaps it's some kind
of out-dated anti-Communist protest from the olden
days (along the lines of “We shit on your Stalinist
streets”). Either way, watch your step.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT
Public transport is free in the Czech Republic. You will notice upon entering a metro station or
boarding a tram that there are no barriers, no guards and only a few machines selling tickets
but since you’re a tourist you can’t read them. Ninety-nine percent of the time this is how public
transport works in the Czech Republic: no one here pays for it, but as you don't speak Czech no
one will tell you this. If you do get
caught without a ticket, don't worry.
People dressed in uniform will
demand to look at something (you
won’t understand what), and get
irritable when they don’t see it. In
any case, you haven’t got what they
want to see (remember you couldn’t
read the machine). At this point, you
need to wrestle free from the firm
eastern European grasp and run
when the tram or metro reaches the
next stop. If you don’t, you get to meet
the Czech police who don’t give a shit
whether you speak Czech or not. You
should save about 50 CZK a day.
CZECH 80s TRASH
Be warned: wherever you go in Prague, whether heading to the club, in a taxi
or shopping in a supermarket, you'll always be within earshot of trashy Czech
music from the 80s. The trilling tenors of that era’s artless disco will stick to you
closer than the KGB. You can’t get away, it’ll get you everywhere. Earplugs won’t
help, nor will hiding in a nuclear bunker. The only solution is drinking yourself
deaf or emigrating.
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That something
in Prague
S
traight up—Prague is not a progressive metropolis bustling with new life.
You won’t find streets packed with row after row of trendy bars. When you
consider which club to head out to it isn’t going to take you all night to decide. In-
stead of hordes of hipsters bedecked in the latest alternative threads, you're more
likely to find dudes in cargo trousers and washed-out t-shirts, or even someone’s
dad wearing socks and sandals. Modern architecture here isn’t much cop, Czech
cuisine doesn’t have too many fans, and if you ask an experienced expat about the
nightlife they'll tell you that Czechs go to the pub early and then go home. Why,
then, do so many people keep coming back? Why do so many stay?
A couple of hundred years ago a man by the name of Gustav Meyrink lived in
Prague. He was a Yogi, alchemist and occultist. During one of his drug-induced
excursions, he wrote a little story about how Prague is one of the cities where a
sort of secret brotherhood was founded at the edge of reality and unreality. Sure,
if anyone smokes a lot of dope, chances are they'll think up just about anything...
but what if there is actually something to it? There's definitely a certain vibe to
Prague, one that makes you think, “Ah, no hurry. I'm going to chill out for a bit.”
You can’t feel Prague in a couple of nights barhopping around the centre, but give
it a a few days and that something will catch you. Life elsewhere starts to look a
little too hectic, too intense. Then you realise Prague has everything you need to
be happy. You might not have ten favourite restaurants, but in the few you fall in
love with they know your name after a couple of visits. At your favourite club, the
barmaid just pushes a shot across the bar to you, out of nowhere, on the house.
The record shop calls you up to let you know some new vinyl goodness just came
in. Prague isn’t going to get up in your face. That special something which has
been drawing people in from every corner of the globe for a good several hundred
years is something you'll have to find all by yourself. Looking pays off.
PS—Did you know Praha (Prague) means threshold?
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The Centre of It All
Where Everything Happens
Central Prague is the place to go for all tourist attractions, all tourists, all things
Jewish, and all overpriced bars and restaurants. In fact, just about everything that
you will have read about Prague will be located or have happened in the centre of
the city: student martyr Jan Palach set himself on fire there, thousands of Czechs
took part in the Velvet Revolution in 1989, and most of Prague’s major strip clubs
are located there. If you want to start the day with a pizza on the old town square
before visiting some sites of historic significance, paying double for a beer, dining
in McDonald’s, and then heading out with some backpackers to Big Sisters, then
central Prague is the place for you. If you want an interesting time in a magical city,
however, then here are some cool places to go.
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EATING AND DRINKING
DUENDE, Karoliny Svělté 30—Duende can loosely be translated as a brief mo-
ment of inspiration, which is presumably why the place is full of artists and stu-
dents from the nearby film school. If the wannabe Černýs and Formans, or the
interior decorated with historical and arty knick-knacks don’t float your boat,
perhaps the selection of cocktails and homemade soups will.
LOKÁL, Dlouhá 33—Enjoying the grey atmosphere of a 70s and 80s Czech pub
has never tasted so great. Lokál is bringing all the hated elements of those times
successfully back to the bar. Long hall, dark lights, crazy waiters, traditional Czech
cuisine and, without a doubt, Lokál has the best pilsner far and near.
BEAS DHABA, Týnská 19—One of the few places in the centre where you can
find a vegetarian meal. There are three Beas Cafeterias in Prague—we recommend
the one near metro station I.P.Pavlova. Real Indians cook here and for a hundred
crowns you can get a tray with rice, lentils, spiced vegetables, soup, salad, chutney
and some dessert. It’s all fresh and every table has a jug of cold, filtered water. You
won’t find a better deal.
HOTEL IMPERIAL, Na Poříčí 15—Opened in 1914, Imperial is yet another fine
example of Art Nouveau architecture in the city. Now serving expensive and care-
fully selected Czech and international cuisine, it is the place to come and see the
Czech Republic’s own Gordon Ramsey, as the kitchen is supervised by Czech celeb-
rity chef Zdenek Pohlreich who runs one of the most popular TV cooking shows.
LA CASA BLŮ, Kozí 15—This Czech/Latin café, established by two South Amer-
icans, tries to mix the two cultures, and the results aren’t as bad as you might
imagine. So the food (Latin American) is good, as is the beer (Czech). It’s also
non-smoking, introducing some modern EU bureaucratic culture.
CUKRKÁVALIMONÁDA, Lázeňská 7—The wooden interior gives this
place a ski chalet feel, but perhaps a ski chalet owned by Dolce & Gabbana,
as the contemporary-glass artist Tomáš Kysela has designed the place and
has added his own glass chandelier and custom crystal wear. They serve tra-
ditional cuisine and coffees here, but don’t misbehave in this place as the
Maltese Knights are next door and they’re hard.
THE GRANDE CAFÉ ORIENT, Ovocný trh 19—First opened in 1912, this café
was a shining example of Czech Cubist architecture and design. However, at the
beginning of the 20th century no one liked Czech Cubist architecture and design
and the place shut in 1920. Having decided that the time was ripe to try again,
architect Josef Gocar reopened the Orient in 2005. Let’s see if he was right.
CAFÉ SLAVIA, Smetanovo nábřeží 2—The Café Slavia is a traditional Czech
café, but this doesn’t mean that you will be shunned if you have renounced your
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party membership. Rather, it serves a range of Czech cuisine in a cosy Czech set-
ting. And luckily for those with a less culturally adaptable palette, they serve some
international cuisine too.
LEHKÁ HLAVA, Boršov 2—Lehká Hlava means "Clear Head", and this is what
the owners, two meditation enthusiasts, intend their place to leave you with. Stars
twinkle from the ceiling, statues of Buddha sit on every surface and tropical fish
swim in tanks. Lavander and white sage infuse the air, rather than the traditional
tobacco (it is non-smoking) and world beats infuse the airwaves to complete the
serene atmosphere. Nirvana—or a place for self-righteous vegan hippies.
COUNTRY LIFE, Melantrichova 15—Founded in the culinary dark ages of the
early 90s, Country Life was a pioneer in the promotion of organic and healthy eat-
ing. The restaurant was designed by Aleš Brotánek, a well-known Czech architect
who specialises in ecological and organic architecture, ensuring the philosophy does
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not just include the food. If you're inspired by the Country Life mantra, explore the
empire that includes a farm, a bakery, organic product stores, health clubs, lectures,
a cosmetic store and a lifestyle magazine. Organic capitalism, then.
MOON, Haštalská 20—Moon is one of the few nice Chinese restaurants in
Prague. There are plenty claiming to be, but if you don’t want to eat sweet and
sour semen or special fried rice, and fancy a Chinese, then the family-run Moon
must be high on your list.
ORANGE BAR, Haštalská 15—The distinctive décor in the Orange Bar is created
by the walls being covered in insulation normally used for water power stations,
a thick plaster-like material naturally orange in colour. The entire space is orange,
and the curved walls make you feel like you are in some sort of cocoon. The walls
are hung with art works by local students, and you can drink one of 100 different
cocktails in this relaxed bar.
U DVOU SLOVÁKŮ, Týnská 10—A restaurant in the centre of Prague with a
nice old-fashioned interior specialising in Slovak cuisine. We can recommend the
classic halušky or tasty meat pirožky and they have a variety of quality wines. If
you can’t make it to Slovakia on your travels, this is a good alternative.
BOHEMIA BAGEL, Lázenská 19—First opened in 1996, it is more than likely
that Bohemia Bagel introduced the bagel to Prague. Some said that the Czech
people would never truly accept a bun with a hole in the middle, but how wrong
they were because now there are five Bohemia Bagels in Prague. Aside from the
bagels, their cheesecake is one of the best in Prague. Leave feeling very full, and
very wired, as the coffee comes with free refills.
KRASNÝ ZTRÁTY, Náprstkova 10—Krasný Ztráty (Lovely Losses) is primarily
a cafe with an elegantly classically appointed interior, but it also functions as a
wine bar, restaurant, bookstore, gallery, board-game store and the place where a
talk show of the same name is filmed. An unseemly large presence of students, ac-
tors, (pseudo) intellectuals and other assorted ne’er-do-wells congregate here.
TÝNSKÁ LITERÁRNÍ KAVÁRNA, Týnská 6—They’ve got cheap coffee, un-
pasteurised Bernard beer, an old piano and a bookstore. Mostly, the folks sitting
around will be students, with black circles under their eyes, a laptop and the daily
paper on the table. Occasionally they host events like authors’ readings, discus-
sions, that sort of thing. It’s non-smoking during the day and has good outdoor
seating in the summertime.
ČILI BÁREK, Kožná 8—The word čili in Brazilian native Indian means “no
envy”, which is representative of the relaxed atmosphere here, but not of how
you will feel about the décor, which is simply to die for, darling. The music ranges
between jazz, funk, electro and soul, and there's a live DJ on the last Friday of each
month, so sample some of the 25 different rums and get on up to get down.
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MAITREA, Týnská 6—This newly opened vegetarian restaurant is a sister to the
Clear Head, mentioned earlier, and operates along the same principles, but with
less Buddha and more bustle, as the restaurant sits 90 people. Does a good and
cheap lunch deal too.
MALÁ RYBA, Křemencova 23—Malá Ryba is a pleasant cross between a cafe and
a bar. They have friendly, though often absent-minded service that’ll bring you any-
thing from beer to wine to a drop of the hard stuff. As an added bonus, they have
free wifi, a chess table, and the walls are covered in obscure retro film posters.
SHOPPING AND OTHER
SCANDAL & PHONO.CZ, Opatovická 24—With the monopolisation and cor-
ruption of the fashion world marching ever onward, small alternative style bou-
tiques constantly face the threat of being squashed under the foot of corporate
giants. Tear down H&M! Death to Topshop! And come to Scandal, where you
will find clothes by Czech and foreign designers as well as choice bits of vinyl from
nearby Phono.cz, offering a selection of soul, jazz, funk and rare and obscure stuff
from the former Eastern Bloc. Groove-digging freaks should not miss it.
HARD-DE-CORE, Senovážné námestí 10—Founded by two designers, Josefina
Bakošová and Petra Krčková, Hard-de-Core is an organisation with many faces
and a variety of design services: fashion, children’s and adult interior design, film
and theatre stage design, party organisation and decorations, graphic design, pho-
tography, website design, art classes, a store, and a workshop offering the oppor-
tunity to make your own clothing or artwork. The list of the studio’s talents and
possibilities is endless and far too long for this guide.
LEEDA, Bartolomějská 1—Leeda is an original Czech fashion boutique that co-
operates with people in contemporary design, photography, architecture and film
to produce limited and distinctive collections. But don't worry about leaving and
looking avant-garde like Björk on a red carpet, because their clothing is always
feminine, playful, sophisticated and beautiful.
MUSIC ANTIQUARIAT, Týnská Ulička 8—Music Antiquariat does what the
name suggests—yup, it sells old records, from Eric Clapton to KC & The Sunshine
Band, but leaning on the rock side of things. A few traditional Czech records can
be found here too. Dance heads stay well clear.
DNB, Náprstkova 4—DNB is a contemporary high fashion store in the centre of
town, operated by designer Denisa Nová, who has been working under her own
label since 1999, and as a strong recommendation has won “Artist of the Year”
more than once. Presumably this was due to her clean cut and highly detailed
clothing, not her watercolours of the Vltava.
SVĚTOZOR, Vodičkova 41—First opened in 1918, it has had brief moments as
a cabaret, and brief moments closed, and it is now open again as a cinema and
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is showing all types of arty films. Dedicated to experimentation, it is the home of
the Kinoautomat, the world’s first interactive film; in a voting system the audience
controls the trajectory of the film. If this sounds a little too pretentious for you,
then it probably is.
PARAZIT, Karlova 25—Parazit is a monument which seeks to rise up against the
oppressive dictatorship of the fashion world, to oppose blindly following its com-
mon courtesy trends—a temple for those who pursue a state of individuality and
do not fear the unknown. It’s the Jan Palach of fashion! While this may be cheap-
ening Jan’s reputation somewhat, Parazit is a place where unknown designers rub
shoulders with unknown design students to produce limited collections that are
always individual and never bland.
KEBAB, Dušní 7—The Kebab stores offer the latest in streetwear, and have tak-
en the streets into their stores—the second store looks like a giant graffiti work
from Space Invaders or maybe some kind swimming pool. All things street are to
be found here, including magazines, books and those limited-edition vinyl figures
from Kidrobot.
INCOGNITO FASHION, Vězeňská 6—Incognito is an Israeli boutique boasting
a portfolio of over 50 designers from the most controversial state on the planet.
Luckily the shop isn’t as aggressive as its home nation’s foreign policy, and its
gentle décor make it a friendly and relaxing place to shop. Expect high quality and
diverse fabrics, feminine and creative cuts, and affordable prices.
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TRIBO, Lidická 8—Tribo is a tattoo parlour that also offers a hair styling service,
henna decoration, piercing, a gallery and alternative fashion (meaning for peo-
ple who think Tommy Lee is a snappy dresser). The resident tattoo artists, Peter
Bobek and Dja Dja, are award-winning inkers, making Tribo the place you're least
likely to regret getting your drunken holiday tattoo done.
POUR POUR, Voršilská 6—Pour Pour is a fashion hunter’s treasure chest, full
of stylish accessories and original limited-edition collections from young Czech
designers. The place to go if you don’t want to blend into the crowd, and are pre-
pared to end up in the DOs and DON’Ts.
HAPPY FEET RECORDS, Dlouhá 33—Remember to mind your head upon en-
try. This small record shop sells a few clothes and other bits and pieces. But don’t
be fooled by the size, or the attire, this place houses some real gems and has a
fantastic Afro/Latin selection.
CARTOON STORE, Panská 5—Is it time for a late-90s comeback? Well, if it is
then this is the place to go. Kit yourself out in some Carhartt jeans, a Stüssy jacket
and pretend you’re the guy who DJs for Portishead.
MODERNISTA, Celetná 12—Modernista is big in Czech and international design,
and pioneered the revival of the golden age of Czech design with its Cubist collection
which launched in 2003. Find exact replicas of pieces in the Museum of Decorative
Arts and, if you don’t mind that this would suggest they're nothing but unoriginal
charlatans, spend lots of money furnishing your home.
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I BO¥ I NO HBAD
Things to Do in Prague’s Liveliest Areas
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“ I i Vœi V ˆ ˆVˆ œi j “ i
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EATING & DRINKING
BUKOWSKI’S, Bořivojova 86—Situated in the Bohemian and gypsy area of
Žižkov, Bukowski’s is owned by the Canadian expat Glen Emery, and lies among
over 30 other bars in a few hundred metres stretch. One might expect the odd bar
crawl, but the warm lighting and calm ambience don’t lend themselves to rowdy
behaviour. The cocktail menu is immense here, and includes drinks with secret
ingredients named after classic literature, such as Lolita, The Cherry Orchard,
Dorian Gray and the Vice Guide to Prague. Bukowski’s also boasts some of the
cleanest toilets in Prague.
HAPU, Orlická 8—Hapu is one of Prague’s more relaxing locations. Cable track
lighting decorates a space accessorised with tree-trunk-section tables and mysteri-
ous photography, making Hapu less of a bar and more of a respected social living
room. Essentially a cocktail bar, it also serves beer, coffee, tea and special Collins
drinks made from alcohol and freshly squeezed juices. Customised drinks are hap-
pily and easily prepared if what you want isn’t on the menu.
RADOST FX, Bělehradská 120—Radost means happiness and it’s been providing
this to Prague for over 15 years. You won't be happy if you like meat, however,
as this is a vegetarian restaurant, and caters for those that consider themselves ‘far
out’. Radost is connected to a gallery, a music shop and a club, all of which have
the same name. The club, the brainchild of Richard and Bethea Zoli, was one of
the first to bring electronic music to the Czech Republic after the fall of Commu-
nism. It opened in 1991, making Radost not only a great place to eat but a place
of historical importance, too.
CAFÉ PAVLAČ, Vita Nejedleho 3—Cafe Pavlač is a stylish cafe and restaurant
dominated by a futuristic metal bar that looks like a sunken submarine or a naive
attempt at building a spaceship. They’ve got great breakfasts and good Italian
food, with chicken, salmon steaks and salads all at good prices. Very friendly
service and free wifi.
MEDŮZA, Belgicka 17—This is a cosy cafe with an eclectic array of tables,
chairs, photos, paintings and sweets. They’ve got a very well-stocked bar and the
menu offers many tasty tidbits—particularly good are the various crepes and ome-
lettes. Everybody comes here, from nervous, reclusive authors to totally spaced-
out retirees.
ŽLUTÁ PUMPA, Belgická 11—Žlutá Pumpa (Yellow Pump) is a cafe bar that
has always been unbelievably smoky and you are guaranteed to meet gregarious-
uncle types who will try to buy you beer regardless of your age or gender. They
make great food, primarily authentic Czech-Mex. A visit to Pumpa will save you
money on drugs because the murals by Igor Ševčik will make you feel like you
already ate a blotter of acid.
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HANOI, Slezská 57—This Vietnamese restaurant fulfills all requisite stereotypes:
a slightly kitschy entrance with rows of hanging red lamps, pastel-coloured posters
with pictures of food and over-sweet Asian pop. From the culinary perspective, a
visit to Hanoi is way above average—previous experience points to the best items
on the first page of the menu.
BÍLÁ VRÁNA, Jagellonská 10—Bílá Vrána (White Crow) functions as a cocktail
bar and restaurant with an elegant interior. They cook very well, they also have
vegetarian meals on offer and seasonal specials. It is said to be a favourite spot for
middle-class couples to have a post-coital meal (unverified). Very pleasant service.
CENTRAL STATION, Sabinova Street 2—Central Station is a bar/club with a
well-developed biomechanic/cyberpunk interior design connected to a gallery. It’s
got a properly stocked bar and a series of cocktails that you can sip to the sounds
of house and electro. Free wifi as well.
U HOLANŮ, Londýnská 10—U Holanů is a restaurant with a spacious garden
where you can sip refreshing, cold pilsner in the summer months. They cook here,
too, mostly typical Czech pub fare. It pays off to come on Wednesday for the
unbeatable pork knee with mustard and horseradish and a bowl of hearty tripe
soup. Yum. Very cheap.
KAVÁRNA ZANZIBAR, Americká 15—Kavárna Zanzibar is a calm oasis of
tasty coffee and delicious, simple meals. Ideal for an uninterrupted breakfast after
an all-night blow-out, trying to shake off the effects of last night by chewing on
waffle and sipping espresso. They open early, 8 AM on weekdays and weekends
from 10 AM.
BOUDOIR, Cajkovskeho 22—Boudoir is a spacious bar with a pleasant atmos-
phere. You can stand at the bar, laze about in the comfy sofas up on the balcony
over the bar, or try to look like an intellectual in the reading corner, or, in the
case of mild alcohol poisoning, hop out to the confines of the chamber garden to
breathe some fresh air (which might save you some face).
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RESTAURACE U MARIÁNSKÉHO OBRAZU, Kubelíkova 22—Restaurace u
Mariánského Obrazu (Restaurant at Marian’s Picture) offers traditional Czech
cooking. While you wait for your order you may take in the unique opportunity to
watch sporting events on a large screen. Friendly and down-to-earth staff.
SHOPPING AND OTHER
BOHEMIAN RETRO, Čajkovského 22—If you like retro stuff presented in a
bohemian way then obviously come here. Dress like it’s 1950, drink from cups like
it’s 1962 and decorate your house like it’s 1966.
ANTIKVARIÁT BĚLEHRADSKÁ, Bělehradská 96—This bookshop is one of the
largest in Prague, and stocks a lot of foreign language books too. So if you want to
read the Czech literary greats in your own language, come here.
FRA BOOKSTORE, Šafaříkova 15—This sweet little bookshop is also a café, so
you can go down there and read a book you just bought with a coffee. Save money
and take your own book. Save even more money and make your own coffee.
AERO, Biskupcova 31—Kino Aero blends modern technologies with original de-
sign to create a cinema that looks unchanged from its last makeover in 1932, but
has audio and visual quality from the cutting edge of 2009. However, what makes
Aero unique is its untraditional programme of alternative movies, theatre and
musical performances and film festivals. Aero is not afraid to take risks and has
shown the Metropolitan Opera: Live, and staged a festival dedicated to the plight
of the mentally disabled in the Czech Republic.
RADOST FX CD SHOP, Bělehradská 120—Come here to buy CDs if you don’t
want to support the corporate giants, and find some real gems. You should con-
sider yourself bloody privileged to even be allowed to buy a CD from here, the
home of Prague techno.
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An intellectual says a simple
thing in a hard way. An artist
says a hard thing in a simple
way.
~ Charles Bukowski
Bukowski’s bar
coctail bar
Bořivojova 86
Praha 3
Mon - Sun: 7.00pm - 03.00am
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To see the real Prague, you have to head into the outskirts of the city. This is
where the communist architecture was built, and this is where you will see how,
and in what, the majority of the Czech people live. The contrast between the grand
European feel in the centre of town and the tough Soviet buildings is stark, and
you will understand why breaking free from the clutches of Soviet power was
not only joyful, but tough to achieve, as the buildings are oppressive and have an
atmosphere of social control. So rejoice in the failure of Marx’s utopian dream and
refresh yourself with a capitalist Coca-Cola.
Other
The Truth Is Out There
EATING & DRINKING
V. KOLONA, Ústavní 7, Prague 8—Head here for one of the more entertaining and
disturbing meals of your life. Situated in the grounds of a psychiatric hospital, this
place is staffed by recovering nutters. Some will be further along the road than others,
so hope that your visit coincides with a breakdown.
MAGICKÁ ZAHRADA, Nuselská 159/114, Prague 4—A trip to this restaurant
is worth it not only because you can try the zebra steak or kangaroo chops, but
also because you can sit in the authentic jungle surroundings of their garden while
you dine. If you are more conservative and would rather avoid furry animals, have
the salmon instead. Considering that the rainforests are being razed at the rate of
several hectares a second, Magic Garden might be one of your last opportunities
to sit down in such a place.
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OUKY DOUKY, Janovského 14, Prague 7—Ouky Douky is a cute cafe with
a used-bookshop. They cook lots of cheap simple food, the breakfast menu is
especially tasty and the sandwiches are decent too. The pictures on the wall change
periodically, as and when local artists exhibit their work here.
PRVNÍ PIVNÍ TRAMWAY, Na Chodovci 1a, Prague 4—První Pivní Tramway
(The First Beer Tram) is parked at the end of the 11 line and is said to hold the
Prague record for the shortest distance between bar top and tramstop: just under
three metres. They specialise in lesser-known beers and regularly switch them;
sometimes they have very strong ones. Everything, including the tabs written on
tram tickets, is done in tram style. There's even a tram parked in the courtyard.
FRAKTAL, Šmeralova 1, Prague 7—This bar/restaurant has an extensive and not
overly expensive menu. It lurks underground, but in summer there is an outdoor area
and a sandpit for the kids to play in, or for you to play in if you’re just a big kid at
heart. There’s free wifi—but don't use your laptop in the sandpit.
U KAŠPÁRKA, Dubečská 4, Prague 10—Very reasonably priced and the wooden
interior gives it the feel of a cottage in a fairytale. The cellar has a corner for kids, so
while you sit at the bar filling the air with smoke your child can play and grow into a
healthy adult. There’s also a beautiful garden.
MODRÁ VOPICE, Radimova 121/24, Praha 6—Modrá Vopice is a newly
reconstructed rock/punk/metal club. They have concerts with foreign and local bands.
If there are no bands playing, people hang out, play foozball (aka table football), chill
in the garden and occasionally munch on carcinogenic delicacies from the grill. The
battle of the bands, where lesser-known groups compete for a record deal and a tour
around the republic, is worth checking out.
SHOPPING AND OTHER
MEGASEKÁČ, Bubenske nabrezi 13, Prague 7—Megasekáč offers second-hand
clothes at great prices. Choose from their large selection of clothes for women, men
and children, as well as bed linen, accessories, shoes, belts and bags. Located in
Holsevice market, there is plenty to see and buy if Megasekáč doesn’t grab you.
ANTIKVARIÁT SMÍCHOV, Kotevní 11, Prague 5—Books, books and more
books, this place has all the books you could want and on so many subjects that it
would make the Encyclopedia Britannica look flimsy. Not just in Czech either—you
can pick up good books in English, and very cheap, too.
BIO OKO, Křižka 15, Prague 7—Bio Oko is a traditional cinema dating from the
1930s housed in impressive rooms, with a bar, known as “the metal ship” which is
the sometime refuge for local art school students. As well as showing films on general
release, Bio Oko also provides a space for artists to show films, art, and give lectures,
as well as staging the annual International Documentary Film Festival.
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Painting
the Town
Pink
Unlike the capital cities of most former
Eastern Bloc countries, Prague is
a pretty open-minded place and in
Vinohrady it has its own gay district.
We spent some time in the queer quarter
and hung out in the friendliest gay bar
in town, The Saints, where we caught
up with its owner, Paul Coggles.
Vice: Hey Paul, how come Prague is the major gay destination in Europe?
Paul Coggles: For a start , Prague is a city that everyone wants to come to. It’s
accessible and there is more nightlife than in any of the other former communist
countries.
Is it the most gay-friendly, too?
Of the former Eastern Bloc, definitely. You see, Czechs in general are quite tolerant,
and fairly passive, I might add. This is a good thing in a way that you don’t get this
sense of aggression here, but being passive means Czechs don’t do a lot either.
Is the gay tourism more about sex or about visiting Prague?
You certainly can’t disregard sex tourism. Sex is available here—you’d have to be
pretty ugly not to get laid.
How come the gay community managed to set up the first district in Prague?
There were two big gay clubs here, which attracted others to open. Actually, I
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remember four or five places opening at the same time. Vinohrady is certainly not
exclusively gay but a lot of gay expats live here. That might be just because it’s a
really nice place to live, which it is.
That’s an interesting point. Is the Prague gay scene mostly foreign or Czech?
It’s difficult to say. Expats might be more visible because they are willing to go out
and party every night, while Czechs seem to enjoy their quiet time at home and go
out once a month.
Are there any lesbian bars or clubs?
Not really. There are a couple of bars where lesbians tend to hang out, like
JampaDampa or Street Café. Friends bar has a lesbian party every last Friday and
it’s usually packed.
What’s Prague’s drawback?
From a gay tourist’s point of view? It’s not glamorous enough.
Which clubs would you recommend and avoid?
We recommend Valentino and Termix as friendly, lively places. The third one
would be Friends. It’s nice, modern, good crowd. And avoid? Well, that’s more a
question of personal taste. Some of the sex clubs can be a bit dodgy, but I don’t
think there is any place that is really bad. Funny thing is that some places, like
U Rudolfa or Bar21, look like a typical Czech pub. They open early, close early,
serve mostly beer, but everyone in there is gay.
CLUBS
VALENTINO, Vinohradska 40, Prague 2—No one in their right mind would
come to Valentino dressed in Valentino, as this is three floors and two dance-
floors of extreme heat and sweat. A very popular club, come after midnight at the
weekend, dance, sweat, find someone sweaty, and go home together and sweat
some more.
TERMIX, Trebizskeho 4a, Prague 2—A small club with a small dancefloor and a
DJ playing cheesy pop tunes. This free and friendly club may be the place to come
and pick up a nice young Czech, and enjoy yourself in the dark room, if you can
stand the music.
FRIENDS, Bartolomejska 11, Prague 1—Just about the only club in town to hold
a regular lesbian night (Fridays), this bar/club is Prague’s biggest gay drinking
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venue. Frequented by tourists and a younger Czech crowd, this is the place to go
if you need casual sex this very night, as the tourists aren’t usually looking for
anything too meaningful.
BARS
SAINTS, Polska 32, Prague 2—A good place to start your experience in gay
Prague: friendly and helpful staff, with low prices and a website with a guide to the
gay scene. Described as a “soft-landing” place to start your holiday, it may well be
a nice place for a “soft-landing” after an intense weekend of very heavy petting.
U ČESKÉHO PÁNA, Kozi 13, Prague 1—If you want to experience traditional
Czech homosexuality, this is the place to come. For one, it looks like no other gay
bar, just another regular Czech pub with rickety wooden tables and beer on tap.
The only difference is that everyone here is gay. Perhaps leave your cowboy hat
and leather chaps at home for this one.
TINGL TANGL, Karolíny Světlé 12, Prague 1—This bar/restaurant is the place
to come if you like to see tall men dressed as glamorous yet unconvincing women;
it has a drag queen cabaret every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Arrive early
for a good table.
JAMPADAMPA, V Tůních 10, Prague 2—JampaDampa is Prague’s one and only
lesbian bar (where do all you lesbians go to play?). The service and drinks are a
little rough and ready but the atmosphere is friendly, with a small disco and some-
time karaoke downstairs.
STRIP, SEX AND SAUNAS
DRAKES, Zborovska 50, Praha 5—The entry fee may well be waived if you are
under 25 and/or pretty, and once inside this cellar-like club, you will be hit by the
gay porn being played everywhere. If you can get past this without knocking one
out, go and watch the strip and live shows, or lose yourself in one of the many
rooms in this rabbit warren of a complex.
ALCATRAZ, Borivojova 58, Prague 3—If you like to wear leather and uniforms,
then this is the place for you. Get your botty spanked in one of the well-equipped
dark rooms, video cabins or various other specialty rooms. The friendly atmo-
sphere here should make it more relaxing for first-time perverts.
BABYLONIA, Martinska 6, Prague 1—The most popular and biggest sauna in
Prague, it offers all that you would expect plus a small gym, a friendly bar, a num-
ber of cubicles and a video room in the basement. Right in the city centre, you can
add a bit of gayness to an afternoon shopping trip.
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MEETFACTORY, Ke Sllarně 1S, írague S—Meetfactory is outside the city
centre, so you won’t end up here by accident. When you do, you’ll notice the
two red cars hung from the façade, like meat hung in a butcher’s shop. There are
artists’ studios as well as gallery space here, and this non-profit venture was set up
to allow artists to create whatever they want, so expect to find some confusing and
strange work, and a lot of meaningless bullshit.
KARLIN STUDIOS, ˆ ‰Ž i n—Housed in a reconstructed
factory in a quarter of the city now populated by modern office blocks (there is
something pleasing about being here and looking out at all the suits sitting at their
computers—a kind of “Ha! You’re so square” feeling), Karlin Studios houses two
In the Name of Art
Don’t Be Afraid to Behave Noisily in These Places
íragueisauasluitlart.TlerearesnallanJexjerinentalartgallerieslittereJall
œi i V iœ“ ˜ i ˆi ˆ i Vi ˜ i V i œ i Vi “ V
i ˜i œ i œ Ž i ˆ Ži i ˜ ˆ “ œ i ˆi ˜
“ œ i Ž fi˜ ˆ ii i i œ i ˆi i ˜i
Či ˜ Ž ˆ Ii iœ i I i V œ Ži i i i œ
iœ … ˆi i Ž ˆVŽŽV Ž œ i i i ˜ Vi VŽ i
I VI Ii V i i ’ ˆ ˜ • iœ i i •i I i “i i
i i ˜ i Vˆ
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galleries, many studios and a publishing company. Here artworks are created,
exhibited and documented under one roof.
VICE GALLERY & GALERIE LE COURT, Haštalská 1, Prague 1—Love us
or die!
DOX, Poupětova 1, Prague 7—If you want to see quality modern art and don’t feel
like crossing railroad tracks, dodging falling plaster and wading through cigarette
butts and sawdust (that is, if you have already been to Meetfactory) this is the place.
It’s worth it even if only to see the politically incorrect Entropa. The exhibitions
change often and there are usually a few at a time so there is something for everyone
at DOX. Gordon Brown and Markus Heumer have had shows here, for example.
MUSEUM KAMPA, U sovových mlýnů 2, Prague 1—Museum Kampa is in one
of Prague’s oldest building, thought to be over 1,000 years old. The art is slightly
more modern, and exhibits works from behind the Iron Curtain documenting
the emotions of artists during this period (sad, probably). There are many other
collections worth checking out here too, including the work of the pioneering
abstract artist František Kupka.
NoD, Dlouhá 33, Prague 1—NoD is a café and bar located in the centre of town
and offers space for exhibitions, concerts, club nights, parties and multimedia
works. Not necessarily good but always interesting. Come during the day and
slump yourself in one of the window seats to watch the world below drifting by,
or enjoy the good-looking crowd and vibrant atmosphere at night.
CHEMISTRY GALLERY, U kanálky 4, Prague 2—A studio, exhibition hall,
bookshop and the place that young Czech artists fight to get into. Perhaps rows of
plaster schlongs might greet you or maybe you’ll see a painting that would look
nice in your home (as long as you don’t have to take the schlongs, too). If you are
looking to invest in art and willing to wait 30 years until the artist drinks him/
herself to death and gets famous, this is just the place for you.
MÁNES, Masarykovo nábřeží 250, Prague 1—Mánes is an art foundation and
restaurant that organises exhibitions of modern and contemporary art. Originally
an artists’ club, you can undeservedly walk the same floorboards as some of the
greats of the modern period, including Picasso, Matisse and Le Corbusier. For the
bookworms it leases out the neighbouring Zlatá Lilie, which mainly exhibits the
work of living authors.
LANGHANS GALERIE PRAHA, Vodičkova 37, Prague 1—Founded in 1880,
the Langhans Galerie exhibits contemporary photography (somehow missing
Richard Kern). If you think photography is just art for those who can’t do it
properly, the building is worth a look anyway, and was awarded the 2003 Grand
Prix of the Society of Czech Architects Association and voted Building of the Year
2003. Didn’t come anywhere in 2004, though.
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TRAFAČKA, Kurta Konráda 1, Prague 9—If you are searching for graffiti, street
art or conceptual art powered by youth culture, Trafačka is your destination.
This former industrial space contains a gallery with an unlimited schedule and the
ateliers of young Czech artists like Jakub Nepraš, Michal Cimala, Martin Cimala
and others. Once there, don’t be shy to ask to see the ateliers, and you will get
a full feel of the creative work, as well as 1920s Czech architecture. If you meet
Stanley “Robotman” Povoda, a famous constructor of slave robots and special
machines that delve deep into your psyché, don’t hesitate to give one a go.
NATIONAL GALLERY is an enormous institution with over nine properties that
contain both permanent and temporary exhibitions. The collection at Veletržní
Palác of over 2,000 pieces of Czech and international visual art and design from
the 20th and 21st centuries is certainly worth a visit. Another permanent exhibition
of interest is housed at the Dům u Černé Matky (Black Madonna House) and is
a fine collection of Czech Cubism from the beginning of the 20th century and the
Valdštejnský Palác houses interesting temporary exhibitions.
GALERIE RUDOLFINUM, Alšovo nábřeži 12, Prague 1—Sharing a building
with the Prague Philharmonia, the Galerie Rudolfinum is the place to go and see
the big-name blockbuster shows in Prague. Funded by the Ministry of Culture,
this is a non-profit institution, so feeling pleased that you haven’t been ripped off
and lined the pockets of any art dealer sharks, you can happily spend a Kenyan’s
annual salary going to see the famous Czech orchestra.
AM180 GALLERY, Belehradska 45, Prague 2—AM180 Gallery is a part of the
club Utopia, a multi-functional exhibition/performance space connected to an
independent creative and promotional collective by the same name. Interestingly,
the gallery has no financial means and operates under the principles of DIY.
Exhibitions change very frequently, usually every two to three weeks.
MUSEUM OF COMMUNISM, Na Prikope 10, Prague 1—The theme here is
“Communism—the Dream, the Reality, and the Nightmare” and focuses on the
regime from its February 1948 coup to its demise in November 1989. Here you
can experience the factories, the education, the television and even interrogation.
Go in still holding on to your university ideals of Marxian equality and leave
running for the nearest McDonald’s thanking your lucky starts for sweet, sweet
consumerism.
GALERIE VÁCLAVA ŠPÁLY, Národní 30, Prague 1—Contemporary art can’t
half be confusing, and the objective at Václava Špály is to search for a link between
the statements that the artists are making in their art about contemporary culture,
and the public, who, by shopping in Topshop, eating KFC and caring about Paris
Hilton, truly are contemporary culture. Returning art to the praxis of real life.
Good luck with that.
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Veletrzni Palace,
Dukelských hrdinu 47, Praha 7
Open daily except Mondays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
tram 12, 14, 17 > Veletržní
www.ngprague.cz
Invites you to visit our exhibitions
of Modern and Contemporary Art
National Gallery
in Prague
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Major partner of the NG in Prague Sponsor of the NG in Prague
partner of the NG in Prague Major media partners of the NG in Prague Media partners of the NG in Prague
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Party All the Time
It’s Like Being at Your Friends’ House Party
Partying in Prague is easy. There are bars on every street and the beer is cheap.
But don’t expect to be gurning at 6 AM listening to 150bpm techno or to find
yourself in a club cheering loudly at a wet t-shirt competition. What you will
have is an attitude- and pretention-free night out. Maybe you'll be surprised
when someone lets you go first in the queue for the bar, or perhaps you'll have a
conversation with a complete stranger for an hour. Hey, you may even dance with
someone because it’s fun, not because you want to fuck them. Come at Christmas
and New Year for the special yuletide festivities.
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CROSS CLUB, Plynární 23, Prague 7—They took ours to the scrap heap, but
the boys from Cross felt bad about getting rid of their old cars, so they used them
to decorate their club. The result looks like something between a junkyard and
a mechanic’s shop. The place is good, especially for sentimental technocrats and
lovers of tuning. They put on concerts of a wide range of musical styles and film
projections. If you don’t like moving machines or jungle/ska/punk/rockabilly, then
try the deep-fried turkey sandwich.
CHAPEAU ROUGE, Jakubská 2, Prague 1—Founded in 1919 and located in
an Art Nouveau house, Chapeau Rouge is frequented by many and all sorts of
people. The top floor has an Irish pub feel and a Czech customer base, the first
subterranean level holds the dancefloor and plays host to many travellers and
occasionally, and unfortunately, to the odd bar crawl, and the bottom floor is the
place to catch local indie bands and theatrical performances. Chapeau creates a
relaxed atmosphere by adopting a relaxed attitude to herbal substances, which
means that the dancefloor is often surrounded by as many people comatose on the
sofas as are getting down on the floor.
NoD, Dlouhá 33, Prague 1—NoD is a café and bar located in the centre of town and
offers space for exhibitions, concerts, club nights, parties and multimedia works. Not
necessarily always good, but always interesting. Come during the day for a coffee and
homemade soup and slump yourself in one of the window seats to watch the world
below drifting by, or enjoy the good-looking crowd and vibrant atmosphere at night,
with something entertaining sure to be going on in one of the back rooms.
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ROXY, Dlouhá 33, Prague 1—Voted many times the best club in Prague,
Roxy has a mixed programme of electronic and dance nights and rock and indie
bands, as well as offering a place for local unsigned talent to play on their Free
Mondays. After the fall of communism, architect Jan Meyer opened the Roxy/
NoD complex as an alternative rock club, but the club found itself at the heart of
the dance revolution in the 90s, and has played host to big name DJs and dance
acts, including Plastikman, Air, Royksopp, Faithless, Adam Freeland, and Layo &
Bushwacka. Not a luxurious club by any stretch, this is a laid-back, unpretentious
place that just wants to party.
FINAL CLUB, Příběnická 8, Prague 3—A small and cool club located in Žižkov,
with an eclectic programme, and, as is usual in Prague, a small gallery attached to
it. It’s very often a home for Czech Vice staff.
007, Chaloupeckého 7, Prague 6 (ČVUT Dorms, block 7) —This club has nothing
to do with the dude who has a license to kill, being firmly grounded in a cement
labyrinth of students’ dorms in Strahov. Zero Zero Seven has schizophrenic
interior decor a la Hawaiian beach, rounded off with furniture that looks like it
came from a rustic mountain cottage. Despite these design peculiarities, lots of
more or less-known local and foreign bands come here to play where they put on
unforgettable shows.
PILOT, Donská 19, Prague 10—Pilot is a former cinema turned into a multi-
purpose cultural space with a bar and cafe. For example, they put up theatre
performances, concerts and show films. The most interesting regular event is the
thematic Fresh Flesh party, which is a showcase for young, independent artists
from all branches of art, from performance to fashion.
LE CLAN, Balbínova 23, Prague 2—The motto of Le Clan club is Respect,
Comfort and Freedom. And you’ll find these things in abundance at this non-
stop party in Prague. Expect hard dance music and partying from Wednesday 2
AM straight through to Sunday night. If you need a break, relax in the dreamily
decorated Planetarium. A great place for an after-party, bring a lot of love and
leave your attitude at home
U BUKANYRA, Nábřeží Ludvíka Svobody, Prague 1—The Buccaneers’
Houseboat is a great place to dance the night away. Minutes from the Roxy,
one can serve as the precursor to the other. The summer sees the top deck get
packed, watching live bands with a magical view of Prague fro m the Vltava river.
Films are projected in the bar, but the chances are that the eclectic repertoire of
music will be between 120 and 170bpm and the state-of-the-art soundsystem will
keep you on the dancefloor. A relaxed and friendly atmosphere, free entry and
reasonable prices will ensure a good night.
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If you want to join the Prague metal scene you
have to seek approval from Kazimir and his
invisible tome containing the rules of rock.
People seem to be getting very worried about
teen pregnancy, and young women getting all
tied up with babies, but if the breasts on display
are all this supple then roll on the fall of society.
DOs
The best thing about eastern European girls is that they are a hardy bunch. You wouldn’t catch
Felicity and Mercedes from Kensington rolling on compacted, dogshit-filled snow, but Kaya and
Ivana will do it all night for a shot each and some attention.
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Opatovická 24
Prague 1 - 110 00
Mon - Fri 10 am - 7 pm, Sat 12 pm - 6 pm
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Thank Christ you have Vice now. The Czech
magazine industry isn’t what it used to be.
Even a solid 7.5 can fall into the “destined
for painful torture” file if she does the “cute
Japanese peace sign”. Its not 1997, and no one
gives a fuck about Hello Kitty.
DON’Ts
If it’s 6 AM, the sun is coming up and the birds are singing, just keep telling yourself: “It’s not gay
if it’s a last resort.”
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Danuta here is off for some aggressive downhill
skiing before hooking up with her pals from the
Prague parcour club for a quick session. Don’t
let anyone tell you that knedliky won’t keep you
alive forever.
The best way to keep early morning bus gropers
at bay is by developing lizard-style transparent
eyelids. It takes a while, but pays off in the end.
DOs
Wearing tight trousers is only part of the rock and roll image because real rock stars have massive dicks.
If your crotch looks like a chubby fanny then forget it, or at least get your friend to distract people.
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DELL & VBS.TV
PROUDLY PRESENT
WWW.VBS.TV
WWW. MOTHERBOARD.TV
WE BLEED 1s AND 0s.
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One great thing about having a cuisine based
largely on red cabbage and beetroot is that sick
is so much more fun. Imagine spraying a pint of
that stuff across a gleaming toilet bowl.
It’s a sad fact that the one look that managed
to permeate every country outside the African
continent is psychotic tearful rave drop-out.
DON’Ts
Is this guy standing or lying down? If you are so apocalyptically wasted that you start to bend the
laws of physics it’s probably time you put your hairy, poop-encrusted arse away and got a pint of
soda water.
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Panel
Flashback
PHOTOS BY: ADAM HOLÝ
Stylist: Kristýna Voců
Models: Katka and Kristýna
In the 1970s and 80s, everyone in Czechoslovakia lived
in huge concrete blocks of flats. These panelaks were the
places where young married couples would enjoy the
playful honeymoon period of their marriage. If you lived
in these blocks you could hear everyone having sex in the
flimsily walled flats above, below and around you.
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The Prague Bizarres
What You Won’t Find in Any Other Guide
Prague has some unique goings on, some weird customs and some strange places.
This doesn’t mean that they’re good. But if you’re the kind of person who self-
righteously complains that tourists don’t see the “real” Prague and spend too much
time partying and having a good time, then go to some of Prague’s bizarres.
SAPA MARKET, Sídlište Písnice, Prague 4—Prague still doesn’t have its own China
Town but it compensates rather proudly with Sapa Market, sometimes called Little
Hanoi. It’s situated on an expansive lot where you can communicate with gestures
or in Vietnamese, where you can buy everything from live crabs, which they will
chop up for you with a cleaver right on the street, to lousy Matton purses and DVDs
with obscure genres of Viet porn. If you aren’t so much into shopping then you can
pop over to the local casino for a gambling session, visit the Buddhist temple or taste
delicacies like tofu snail soup. If that isn’t exciting enough for you, here and there fires
break out accompanied by police raids, and the murder rate is considerably higher
than elsewhere in the city.
PYROTECHNICS WARS, Václavské náměstí, Prague 1—Only on New Year’s
Eve, and only for lunatics, stand well, well back and hear the rat-a-tat-tat of hun-
dreds of pyromaniacs playing at being pyrotechnicians, with thousands of bangers
and small fireworks. Sounds like the Battle of the Somme, and simlarly produces
plenty of injuries. Go and see it before the EU Health and Safety Nazis step in.
SOUTHERN CITY, End of Metro C line (Háje), Prague 4—A panelák is a hare-
brained idea cooked up 90 years ago by the minds of left-wing avant-garde func-
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tionalists. In fits of delirious alcoholic intoxication they dreamed of controlling
humanity through means of their architecture and urban planning. Their ideas, for
the most part, thankfully ended up as singular experiments. Not so in the Czech
Republic. The communists were bedazzled by the idea of manipulating the masses.
They crossed out pointless things in the plan, like parks and playgrounds and two
basics were left: the buildings must be in uniform rows and must be blocky. And
so the urban settlement was born and Prague’s Jižák is the king of them all. A
monstrosity full of cement boxes where you can hear your neighbour’s every fart,
there are no squares or streets, just row after unending row of the same building.
Here 80,000 people live, it’s the birthplace of Czech hip-hop, and the local brutal
genius loci will nail you into a dying lawn in front of one of many non-stop bars.
A trip to the end of the C-line is worth it.
KOLBENOVA MARKET, Kolbenova, Prague 9—Here you'll find 50,000 square-
metres of new, used, undamaged, old, cheap, shiny, modern, retro, authentic, plas-
tic, artistic, forged, unexpected, kitschy, erotic, antique, original, pricey, elegant,
broken, crazy, useless, decorative, dusty stuff for sale. There’s nothing you can’t
find here, but it’s impossible to find what it is you are looking for. Open every
weekend from 6 AM to 1 PM, entry is 10 crowns. Bargaining recommended.
CARP MURDERS, all bigger squares around Prague—The Christmas market in
Prague attracts tourists and Czechs alike. The tourists come to drink the mulled
wine and get tipsy enough to think that the stalls selling yuletide crap are anything
but the fast-tourist-buck enterprises that they really are. The locals come for the
carp. Carp is eaten on Christmas Day, and the Christmas market is the place to
come and get one. You choose from a tank full of live fish, and the fishmonger will
take your preferred one and murder and gut it right infront of you.
VÍTKOV TUNNEL, Thámova, Prague 8—Vitkov is the hill where the Hussites
massacred the papal army in battle during the Hussite Wars, later an enormous
national monument which later served as weapons storage for the bad boys of the
Wehrmacht, and was finally garnished with the decomposing bodies of the com-
munist elite. Since that isn’t quite enough, the interior of the hill is riddled with a
braid of tunnels, two for railways and another one a third of a kilometre long for
pedestrians that connects Žižkov and Karlín. The pedestrian tunnel was originally
an aircraft attack shelter.
THE FLEA MARKET, Náměstí Míru, Prague 2—The flea market takes place
on the last Saturday of every month. On blankets and tables people ply wares
like used vinyl LPs, handmade jewellery, dishes, clothes and small appliances.
A certain gentleman sells his own inventions and won great popularity with his
exceptionally effective fruit picker. An ideal spot to score authentic souvenirs.
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AFRICANS—There are many Afri-
cans in Prague, and most of them are
to be found on the tourist route offer-
ing things that you wouldn’t tell your
mother if you accepted. Selling drugs
at over-inflated prices and enticing you
into Prague’s many strip clubs is what
keeps them occupied, and accepting
their many kind offers will keep you
more than occupied. Expect to be
called a “batty boy” if you don’t ac-
cept, but they’re friendly guys with in-
teresting stories so don’t ignore them,
but embrace them as part of contem-
porary Prague culture.
BABES—Czech girls all look the same.
Yawn. The long legs, pert bottoms and
dreamy Slavic eyes can get so tiresome.
In the Czech Republic it is nearly impos-
sible to recreate that fantastic feeling of
waking up on Saturday morning after a
heavy Friday night, looking at the obese
mess that after seven pints you thought
would be a good idea to go home with,
and working out how best to get the
hell out. That is because it is a statistic
impossibility that she will be fat or ugly,
and it will be her that is wondering how
the hell she can get out.
CUBISM—Prague is the only place
in the world where they attempted to
take Picasso and Braque’s adventures
in painting and sculpture into architec-
ture. The House of the Black Madonna
is probably the most famous example,
but if one looks closer there are houses
Prague A–Z
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and even a lamppost built in the Cubist
style. Some would say this is a Czech
triumph in off-beat thinking, town
planning, visionary patronage and
artistic tenacity. Some people would
say that if you hold “Demoiselles
d’Avignon” next to the House of the
Black Madonna you’ll see no similari-
ties at all between the erratic and bro-
ken surface of the painting and the or-
dered and frankly upright nature of the
building. To those people you should
say, “That is because it is a building”
and continue to marvel at the spirited
architecture in Prague.
DUMPLINGS—It is most likely that
you have never tried Czech dumplings
(knedliky). You can make a fair assess-
ment of how much you will enjoy them
by how much the rest of the world has
taken to them—not at all. They look
like sliced blocks of pure carbohydrate
and were probably fine for keeping
stomachs on the collective farms fu-
elled, but for the modern, bourgeois
traveller they probably won’t compare
too favourably to the potato gratin
that the French gave us. Or the French
fries that McDonald’s gave us. Atkins
addicts stay well away.
EIGHTIES—Prague has a strong and
ongoing nostalgia for the 80s—Span-
dau Ballet and Duran Duran can
often be heard from within many a
traditional Czech bar, and this is un-
derstandable, as the 80s was the de-
cade of deliverance from the tyranny
of Communism, so it is unsurprisingly
remembered fondly. It is just a shame
that it is remembered with shit Brit-
ish pop.
FRIED CHEESE—It’s four in the
morning. You are coming back from
a party, a dangerous cocktail whose
components you’d rather not think
about bubbles in your tummy. Before
you fall into sweet unconsciousness
you have to buttress your guts. Exactly
for this reason people make greasy
junk food all over the world, and ab-
solute perfection in this realm comes in
the form of “smažák”. A block of fried
cheese in a warm, soggy bread roll
with a hefty dose of mayonnaise, it’s
the nightmare of health food propo-
nents. On the other hand, how many
of them are boozing it up until 4 AM?
For the rest of us, “smažák” is a highly
addictive cult experience.
GOLEM—The Golem of Prague now
lives in hibernation in the attic of the
Old New Synagogue, which, thank-
fully for you, is not open to the public.
First created by a 16th century rabbi
out of clay from the banks of the Vl-
tava, the Golem’s duty was to protect
the Jewish ghetto, which he did with
increasing determination and vigilance,
until the rabbi had to take the clay tab-
let out of his forehead (his life force)
to stop him creating uncontrollable
havoc. It seems that even this was not
enough to protect the Nazis who went
looking for him during the war, as
they never returned from the attic. If it
was brought back to life now, gentiles
could defend against this 16th century
folklore myth with the 21st century
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weapon of reason and not believing in
things that don’t exist.
HOMELESS—In general, Prague's
homeless are a friendly bunch, and
don’t assume that because they didn’t
work hard enough to get a house
that they didn’t work hard at school,
as many of them will speak to you
in English. Beware of the phonies,
however, as on the tourist route you
will come across many homeless who
probably aren’t at all. Of course, any-
one who dresses down to the position
of a tramp for a day at the office is
probably so desperate that they de-
serve your cash too, but save some
for the genuine hobos, the ones rifling
through the bins with their beds and
winter wardrobes in a plastic bag.
CH—It’s the Czech letter not found
in the Latin alphabet (well in fact it is
if you put a ‘c’ before an ‘h’, but the
sound isn’t) . To know what this letter
sounds like, remember the sound your
grandmother who smoked 20 a day for
40 years made when she was clearing
her throat in the morning.
INSPIRATION—Prague has served
as a source of inspiration for many
people who have passed through and
worked in the city. Scientists seem to
find special inspiration here, because
Mach, Einstein, Kepler, Beurgin, Dop-
pler and Tesla all worked in the city,
probably because of Prague’s scientific
approach to town planning and a bal-
anced diet. The arts have been no less
inspired by the city, and names such
as Mozart, Tom Stoppard, Jan Hus
and Shane Smith, founder of VICE
(surprisingly not mentioned in most
guide books), have worked and been
inspired by the city.
JAN PALACH—If you think that
Franz Kafka was a Czech national icon
then check this guy out, he makes Kaf-
ka look a complete pussy. Jan Palach
inspired millions of Czechoslovakians
when, on the 16th January, 1969, he
burned himself alive outside the Na-
tional Museum to protest against the
Soviet-led suppression of the reforms
introduced in Czechoslovakia during
the Prague Spring. Dying a few days
later, his funeral was attended by
hundreds of thousands of people who
lined the streets of Prague, a tribute
not only to the bravery and iconic sta-
tus of this man, but as a statement that
Communism was not a welcome pow-
er in Czechoslovakia anymore. Unfor-
tunately, it took another 20 years for
the regime to fall, but the 20th anni-
versary of Palach’s death was marked
with a further demonstration, which is
considered the catalyst for the demon-
strations that would eventually lead to
the Velvet Revolution, ending Com-
munist rule.
KAFKA—Franz Kafka is one of the
most famous novelists that most peo-
ple, unless they underwent a moody
existentialist period in their youth, or
felt that they couldn’t really qualify
their “that is so Kafkaesque” remarks,
have never read. Thanks to that ass-
hole Mr. Hitler, Kafka also serves as
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a reminder of the Jewish culture that
once existed in Prague, something that
he’d rather he didn’t as he instructed
his friend to burn all his writings after
his premature death from tuberculosis.
Luckily, his friend didn’t give a shit
about Kafka’s wishes and published
his work anyway, so we can all enjoy
his amiable tales of alienation, isola-
tion and abandonment.
LANGUAGE—The Czech language is
almost impossible to learn. You may
come to Prague and worry that if you
don’t try speaking Czech, the natives
may get annoyed like the French do.
Don’t worry about this as the Czechs
know that their language is not only
too hard, but that outside the Czech
Republic it is entirely useless, so they
may as well take all opportunities to
speak English. Interestingly, the lan-
guage once almost died out, and had
basically been replaced by German, but
in the mid-19th century some crackpot
nationalist revivalists reintroduced the
language. This is like choosing not to
use an oven anymore and rubbing two
sticks together to make fire instead, just
because it is Czech.
MAY—May is the month to visit
Prague: it’s hot, the girls are hot, they
get hot, and to avoid being hot they
take their clothes off. Of course, this
doesn’t help at all, as they are even hot-
ter this way. The students’ terms end
in May, and so the end-of-finals parties
commence. Eat sitting on the street in
the sunshine like you are on the Costa
del Sol. For a unique Prague experience,
come in May. For a genuine Prague ex-
perience, come in January.
NATIONAL—Library, Theatre, Mu-
seum, Avenue. As with most capital
cities, Prague has a collection of im-
portant buildings. The National Li-
brary, Theatre, Museum and Avenue
can all be visited if you are on holi-
day with your parents. The National
Library and Museum were built in a
neo-classical style in the late 19th cen-
tury as symbols of the Czech National
Revival; again, this will interest your
parents. If you want to know more,
clearly you have done absolutely every-
thing else in the city, or you’re boring,
and you should consult your parents’
guide book.
OLŠANY CEMETERY—The Olšany
Cemetery is huge, perfect for seeing
ghosts and ghouls on creepy walks late
on a Sunday afternoon. Founded in
1680, there must be more dead bod-
ies in here than in the entirety of Sav-
ing Private Ryan. Also to be found is
the Czech Republic’s smallest gallery
(and some say the world’s, but don’t
look out for it in the Guinness Book of
Records 2010 just yet), Galerie F43. If
Christianity is just too forward-think-
ing for you, pop over the road to the
Jewish Cemetery.
PIVO—Pivo means beer and it has
helped make the Czech Republic fa-
mous. There is a national pride in their
beer, and rightly so: it’s fantastic, and
very, very cheap. You can drink here
for less than £/$/€1. However, this very
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thing that makes the country so great
could also be the reason why if you go
down to the old town square at night
you will see groups of very fat, very
drunk English men in England foot-
ball shirts, tunelessly chanting songs,
gorging themselves on kebabs, merrily
throwing them back up onto parts of
medieval Bohemia, and generally mak-
ing themselves look like fucking tits.
Czech beer: perhaps a secret best kept.
Q—We don’t have one but we have
got one more for B—BREAD AND
SALT. In the same way that you may
get a necklace made with beautiful
flowers from a grass-skirted tanned
beauty if you arrive in Hawaii, a diplo-
mat landing in Prague (thankfully they
have limited this practice to the VIPs)
may receive the customary bread and
salt. Both are traditional cultural sym-
bols, the only difference is that with one
you get a hard-on, and with the other
blocked arteries.
RUDOLF II —He was a progressive
king, and was way ahead of his time:
patronising female artists, preaching
religious tolerance, and being gay. So
about 400 years ahead of his time in
Europe, and still waiting for Iran to
catch up. Not only was he a laidback
ruler, but he went in search of the
Philosophers’ Stone way before Har-
ry Potter did, and although he didn’t
find it, his massive investment into
the occult and alchemy is thought to
have been the trigger for the scientific
revolution. (His bad leadership is also
thought to be the trigger for the Thir-
ty Years’ War, but we’ll that slide).
STAG PARTIES—These parties (see
Pivo) flock into Prague most week-
ends, and unfortunately are not sea-
sonal either, as neither is beer or pros-
titutes. Bringing with them valuable
pounds, they also bring with them a
keen disrespect for local customs, rea-
sonable manners and good taste. The
most despised of all tourists, leave
your Manchester United shirt at home
to avoid any kind of embarrassing as-
sociation. Pity yourself if you have the
misfortune of taking the same flight to
Prague with these morons.
TAXIS—While not as bad as they
used to be, some taxi drivers in Prague
have one fare for locals, and another
for tourists. To avoid these thieving
bastards, look for taxi ranks with
“Fair Place” signs or use the yellow
AAA Radiotaxi —tel. 140 14 or 222
333 222, www.aaa-taxi.cz
UNDERGROUND—There is more
underneath Prague than three metro
lines, and the series of medieval rooms
and cellars provides space for a lot of
bars, restaurants and music halls. Of-
ten these subterranean places provide
space for the more traditional Czech
spots, so when heading downstairs
expect to be received by a friendly
Czech face, shunned by a cold Czech
shoulder, or stumble across a forgot-
ten alchemist’s workshop (which are
still being discovered). But given the
slight air flow problems underground,
passive smoking is a must.
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VÁCLAV KLAUS—“Global warming
is a false myth and every serious per-
son and scientist says so.”—this is the
President.
WEED—Not mentioned in most
guide books, in fact not mentioned by
most people, is that Prague is a secret
pot head. Walk into most clubs, and
a few bars dotted around the city and
you will smell the sweet scent of sen-
semilia. And nor is smoking in Prague
a chilled Moroccan hash affair, but a
full on psychiatric-ward skunk trip.
If you find yourself in the right bar
(and you’ll smell that you are) ask a
helpful member of staff and someone
selling the stuff won’t be too far away.
Of course, it isn’t legal, but the Czechs
have a healthy liberal attitude to weed.
This is more than can be said for the
dealers’ attitudes towards tourists,
whom they see as easy targets, and will
try and sell to at vastly inflated prices.
Just because he looks like he’s done a
20 stretch, don’t be afraid to barter.
XXX—Prague is famed for its “strip
clubs”. This is a loose term as upon en-
tering a strip club, after being tempted
in by some ludicrously generous entry
and drinks deal by an African guy on
the street that turns out to be, of course,
utter nonsense, you probably won’t be
greeted by a supple Amazonian beauty
working the pole. More likely a room
full of very bored and very sad-looking
girls chain smoking cigarettes. One by
one they will stroll over, look at you
with lifeless eyes, grab your cock and
ask if you want sex. If the jolly jaunt
into the morally ambiguous world of
stripping just got a bit serious for you,
then you can ask if you can skip the
sex, but it would be nice if they were to
fuck one of their whore friends while
you just watch. God can’t be angry if
you’re just looking, right?
YOUTH—The youth in Prague once
did something great: the Velvet Revo-
lution was spearheaded by the young
of the city, and the energy and ideal-
ism of youth helped bring down the
crumbling Soviet empire. Since the
collapse of Communism, however,
the youth here have become the same
PlayStation-playing, fast-food-eating,
pot-smoking and loose-moraled scum
bags they are in the rest of the West-
ern world. So you shouldn’t have too
many problems fitting in.
ŽIŽKOV TV TOWER—It won’t have
escaped your notice as it’s 216m tall,
another great example of the Com-
munists building beautiful architecture
that fits snugly and sympathetically
into the medieval landscape of Prague.
In an attempt to make it less conspicu-
ous, the Czech Republic’s most popular
and internationally renowned contem-
porary artist David Černý has adorned
the outside with baby sculptures
crawling up the outside. This could
be a critique of how children in the
21st century are raised on a diet
of mass-media saturation, primarily
through watching TV, or it could be
that Černý is a paedophile and wanted
a little visual titillation from anywhere
in the city.
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