Prague bars & clubs

Prague's nightlife is on par with its architecture: both are world-famous, and both are extremely varied. The following are a few of the city's best venues for going wild or chilling out.

Marquis de Sade

Templova 8, Prague 1

Whether you're looking for a little bit of solo down time or a whole lot of action, Marquis delivers. Housed in what used to be a bordello in the time of the First Republic, the bar's atmosphere doesn't quite match the notoriety of its namesake, though some of the paintings that hang on its walls contribute an aura of disturbed and distorted sensuality.

During the day and early evening it is a rather laid-back place where you can hunker down at the bar, or take a seat at one of its many dark wooden tables and enjoy a few happy hour beers (CZK 22 from 16:00 to 18:00, and wine is only CZK 25, along with CZK 35 shots of Becherovka, Fernet and peach vodka).

The volume picks up at night and can get quite raucous, but the staff is always friendly and fast and has excellent taste in music. If you're in town on a Sunday, stop by Marquis to catch Stan the Man, one of Prague's premier bluesmen.

Roxy

Dlouha 33, Prague 1

Arguably Prague's number one club (some might say that Radost holds that title, but I disagree), this massive converted theatre has featured some of the world's top DJ's. While Prague's house music scene has gone rather limpid, Roxy still packs them in not only with disc-spinners, but with live music as well.

In addition to live shows and resident nights such as Zen (Goa trance), Bush (jungle/drum ‘n' bass), and Climax (house), the club also offers a Free Mondays night, which is usually a live act followed by a DJ. For a big club experience in Prague, Roxy's the perfect venue.

To check upcoming events, go to www.roxy.cz.

Fraktal

Smeralova 1, Prague 7

Dogs and spliffs abound amid the cool and friendly mix of expats and Czechs that frequents this bar. Despite its ample space it fills up quite quickly, so be sure to get there early (around 7 pm) to get a good seat.

It is a good-looking place with three separate spaces – a cosy front area with bar and elevated tables and benches, a back room with foosball table and couches, and a room off to the left of the front area with a slick contemporary look (the only flaw in its design being the ridiculously low lights that force you to crouch or stretch to talk with the person sitting across from you). An excellent and eclectic assortment of music flows from the speakers and many claim that Fraktal serve up the best burgers in Prague.

Radost FX

Belehradska 120, Prague 2

Also a very worthy contender for Prague's best club, Radost (Czech for “Joy”) consists of a cafe, a restaurant and a lounge. Upstairs, past the cafe and through the thick velvet curtains, the restaurant is a feast for the senses, particularly in terms of visuals and food. Enjoy some of the best vegetarian food in Prague in a space that is as aesthetically daring as it is beautiful.

Be warned, however, that service can be quite slow and rude at times, and a service charge is automatically added to your bill when dining here – a practice that is far from standard in Prague. Downstairs you can dance til sunrise as DJ's, some of them top international spinners, throw down the latest booty-shakin beats.

The club's official web site is at www.radostfx.cz.

Palac Akropolis

Kubelikova 27, Prague 3

This extremely popular Zizkov complex houses a restaurant, cafe, a large concert space, and two bars. As a whole, the restaurant's interior is a work of art containing artefacts and works from EXPO 92 in Seville. The food is hit-and-miss – Akropolis has served me some fantastic meals, but it has also been the site of some of my worst dining experiences in Prague.

Downstairs, the main concert space has an 850-person capacity (standing) and has hosted an impressive roster of international singers and bands, including The Fall, Apollo 440, Henry Rollins, Heather Nova, Sigur Ros, The Strokes, and Stereolab, among many others.

The two smaller spaces – the Small Stage (Mala scena) and Theatre Bar (Divadelni bar) – usually feature DJ's and tend to be quite lively, with expats and Czechs drinking, smoking and revelling until the wee hours.

Event listings and much more can be found at www.palacakropolis.cz.

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