As I have a colleague from Prague, I was lucky enough to be given some great tips on bars and restaurants before my trip, which meant Ciaran and I could stay off the tourist track and instead experience where the locals frequented. After exhausting these options in the first two days, we then went about finding our own and stumbled across a few gems. Here I’ve listed all the best bars and restaurants that we found during our three-day holiday in Prague.
Restaurace U Bansethů – Táborská 389/49, 140 00 Praha 4-Nusle-Praha 4
Walking distance from Vysehrad fort – rumoured to be the site of the first human settlement in Prague – this traditional beer restaurant was the perfect introduction to Czech cuisine. With no other tourists in sight and no English menus, it felt like a true local experience. I’d been recommended the duck and sauerkraut, but they didn’t have it that day so we settled on traditional creamy beef goulash with bread dumplings and cranberry sauce, washed down with a Pilsner Urquell. It wasn’t the most aesthetically pleasing dishes, but it was surprisingly delicious.
Cost: 328CZK (around £10) for two beef goulash, two pilsners and one bottle of water.
Mlýnská kavárna – Všehrdova 449/14, 118 00 Praha 1-Malá Strana
Housed in an old water mill, this artsy café bar has a good vibe and friendly staff. We stopped for a beer and because they don’t sell Pilsner Urquell it provided a good opportunity to sample another Czech offering: Bernard beer. Sit at the bar to admire the handcrafted work of renowned Czech artist David Cerny. The transparent bar has all sorts of objects – from shells to pills – embedded within it.
Cost: 78CZK (around £2.50) for two beers
U Hrocha – Thunovská 10, 118 00 Praha 1-Malá Strana
If you’re lucky enough to get a table at this tiny pub then you’re in for a treat. Located at the bottom of a cobbled street beneath Prague Castle, it’s a traditional boozer that attracts a steady flow of locals – expect to be stared at as you enter. Service is brash but efficient and the food is simple yet delicious. We opted for the sausage, which was served with mustard, horseradish and onion, and the meatloaf. Partnered with a couple of pilsners and some bread, this proved to be another delicious meal that came in under a tenner.
Cost: 280CZK (around £9) for one sausage and mustard, one meatloaf and four pilsners
Restaurace Lokal – Lokál Dlouhááá, Dlouhá 33, 110 00 Praha 1-Staré Město
This long, bustling restaurant is a bit overwhelming upon entering but pull up a seat alongside fellow drinkers and diners and you’ll soon settle in. The food is slightly pricier than the other places listed so far, which isn’t surprising given its proximity to Old Town. Incredibly popular with locals and tourists alike, half the menu had sold out by the time we got there so we had to opt for the beef goulash again, which was even bigger and tastier than the first. Although I preferred the cranberry sauce at Restaurace U Bansethů as here it was blended with whipped cream, diluting the flavour. The only thing I didn’t like about Restaurace Lokal was that it seemed even smokier than the other restaurants. However, after the ban is implemented in May 2017, this won’t be an issue.
Cost: 488ZK (around £15) for two beef goulash, one large pilsner and one small pilsner
Long Street Food – Dlouhá 737/21, 110 00 Praha 1-Staré Město
If you fancy a respite from traditional Czech cuisine, I recommend a visit to the recently opened Long Street Food. The contemporary bistro serves traditional Thai food alongside both Czech and Thai beers. The décor is minimalist and modern while the outdoor seating area is the perfect spot for a few afternoon beers in the sunshine.
Cost: 610CZK (around £19) for one pad Thai, one Bangkok burrito and four pilsners
Zkusebni Provoz – Králodvorská 664/11, 110 00 Praha 1-Staré Město
This hip cocktail bar proved to be a refreshing change of scenery after indulging in one too many pilsners at the pubs. Run by a group of friends, it has an inviting laid back vibe along with good music, cosy windowsill seats and an outside area. With a good selection of cocktails as well as wine, prosecco and beer, it has something for all tastes. We particularly liked it as smoking wasn’t allowed but, as previously mentioned, this won’t be a concern come May.
Cost: 390CZK (around £12) for three White Russians. Plus one whisky that I believe cost around 100CZK but clearly I’d had too many to take a note by that point!
Cobra – M. Horákové 688/8, 170 00 Praha 7-Holešovic
Located in the hipster neighbourhood of Prague Seven, this bar is quite far out of town. However, it provides a great opportunity to mingle with the locals and experience a different taste of the city. It had a good buzz, decent music and reasonably priced drinks.
Cost: 152CZK for four pilsners