It Has Good and Strong Czech Beer But Don’t Make Praha Your Top Party Destination
It has the reputation of being a nightclub mecca, a place of uninhibited debauchery, of Oktoberfest-like beer bars with beautiful women filling men’s eyes with scenic pleasure at every turn of the head.
And indeed, Prague definitely has its moments.
But as a world-class party destination, a place one would want to travel with nightlife as the priority, Prague falls as flat as a stale beer.
It’s solid, though not spectacular.
Good, not great.
Many of the bars are small and while that’s okay they are far from wild. There’s not people intermingling with huge mugs of Czech beer, cheering and singing together. It has somelounges and a couple of interesting nightclubs. But Prague has no bar that really stands out, no real “go-to” place, not even a happening Happy Hour location.
In fact, on the PubClub.com party scale, it rates at right about average (at the top of the scale is summer in Mykonos). It it were a sports team, fans would be chanting “Over. Rated! Over. Rated!”
The best place in town is Karlovy Lazne Dance Club on the St. Charles Bridge. It looks like an old castle. The place is busy, with lines going into it resembling those of an amusement park. But the cover charge is just a few Euros, the people are incredibly welcoming and once inside it has every type of bar to suit anyone’s desires. Each level is a different theme – hang-out bar, rocking fun dance party, hip/techno dance and laid-back lounge – and that’s certainly entertaining.
Our small group’s favorite place turned out to be Chateau Rouge off Old Town Square. It’s bar is about as lively as any place in Prague gets and downstairs there’s an old-school dance bar that’s like stepping back into the psychedelic ’60s. Very cool. I even traded my PubClub.com shirt for a Chateau Rouge one with the DJ.
Two places that show potential but never seem to materialize are the Municipal House and U Vejuodu. The Municipal House has all the signs of being a great post-work hangout; it’s by the beautiful Prague Opera House and the signature Powder Gate. In other words, it’s right in the middle of the busy street activity. But at least during our visit, all it offered were a few people sitting quietly at tables.
U Vejuodu is a mix of old world and new. It has creaky wood floors, a kettle pot hanging over the bar and plasma TVs. But it’s as much restaurant as bar, and never really hits that “explosive” stage that says “it’s time to party!”
Okay, there’s another place we really liked. It’s called La Fabric. From the outside, it doesn’t look like much, and that doesn’t change when walking inside. But go downstairs and it’s a no-cover, fun-loving dance bar, which means it’s kind of a like a club but has the feel and mood of a bar.
Mostly, Prague’s bar scene is made up of small, old places with picnic tables where a few people gather to enjoy a few strong Czech brews. Everyone hears of the Golden Tiger being the quintessential Czech bar, but it’s not worth the effort. It’s small, you have to wait to get inside, then are stared down by the old-time locals who really don’t want tourists in their hang-out bar.
A better bet if you can find it – it’s across the river next to a pair of “No Pezi Zone” signs down from the castle – is The Black Bull. It serves what has to be the strongest beer in town.
So yes, there is nightlife and one can have a very good time in Prague. But it’s just not the wild, untamed place so many assume it to be. For a more detailed look at Prague’s best bars, click here.
But what about women? Do they not make up for any shortcomings in the nightlife?
We saw a couple right after arriving at the train station and thought, “wow, if this is what we’re in for, we’re going to love this place!” Yet that was about it, quite frankly. There were some nice-looking girls about to be sure, but no stunning head-turners, none that stopped conversations in mid-sentence, no stream of future models constantly parading through Old Town Square.
As far as the people, other than a few old grouches in a couple of the authentic Czech bars, the surprising lack of female talent and the gypsies who want to steal your wallet (avoid Wenceslas Square at night and careful of anyone who gets close to you in the daytime), you’ll have no trouble with the people in Prague.
I spent a couple days alone after the fellow travelers left and went wandering to check out a series of bars in a different part of town. While looking for them, I stumbled into a private house party, they invited me inside, and it turned out to be the most fun night I had in the city.
When traveling, one never knows where they might find an adventure.
Prague is, without question, a beautiful place to visit. If you’re traveling in that part of Europe, definitely go to it for a couple of days.
Just don’t make it your primary party destination.