Prague Dog Eat Blog

Party boat cruising on the Vltava river

Aug 22, 14:23 (Filed under: Out and About in Prague, Prague nightlife )

Visla party boat Has it ever happened to you that you wanted to party but you weren’t sure and couldn’t decide where to go? It happens to me often, but last time, we made a great decision. We went to a party boat on the Vltava river. It was very good, four hours of music, dancing, singing, drinking, and sailing.

There are different party boats, cruising the Vltava almost everyday, and they are usually operating under the patronage or sponsorship of one of Czech’s radio stations. The ship we went to is called Visla, and the party was called Fajn Radio discotheque.

This ship weighs anchors at 20:30 from Cechuv most and it’s good to be there around 20, to come aboard, order the first drinks before there is a long queue, and take the best seats. Then we were heading north, passing Stvanice island, Karlin and Liben area, and reaching Troja, where the ship turns around and sails the same way back. We arrived to Cechuv most before midnight, and then we left, but the party went on until 2 am.

I was surprised that the ship was so steady, no leaning to the sides. It is as if you were in a regular club but the scene around the dancing stage is amazing. You see buildings, lights, getting dark, etc. Sometimes when the wind was blowing, it was rather cold. But you could always go to the under deck, where it was warmer and the music was not so loud, and just enjoy the ride.

Another interesting part is when the ship enters the water lock, and you feel rising/lowering. And when you pass by another ship, and wave at people there, you just see how they wish to be on the party boat too. Very soon we discovered and then followed another unwritten rule: each time the ship sails under a bridge, the crowd starts to yell. And the music, well, that was kind of a strange mix, covering most of the singles and tastes in music, shortly, since it was such a mix, everyone found there some songs that he or she enjoyed, and some that he probably disliked, but when songs from Grease movie were played, we all joined in singing loud.

The entrance fee was 100 CZK and the prices for drinks were standard, similar to other clubs. That is for example, vodka 40 CZK, energy drink 50 CZK, beer 0.4 l 30 CZK, etc, and it was also possible to order grilled sausage there. After all, it is still much cheaper than if you went on regular tourist sightseeing cruise, and to me, this is much more fun. Anyway, it was a great way to combine sailing on the Vltava with partying. Don’t miss this chance as the boats run only until the end of September. Or have you already experienced it? What are your thoughts?

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Summer open air cinema in Karlin area

Jul 31, 15:18 (Filed under: Prague nightlife )

Open air cinema in Prague-Karlin An open air cinema in these summer days may serve as an enjoyable evening relaxation. Same as last year, there is a popular open air movie program called Karlin Film Summer 2007 organized by Czech Radio Regina. It takes place in the gardens of this radio, in Hybesova street 10 in Karlin. In the next days, you can see films such as Ocean’s Thirteen, Shrek the Third, Zodiac, and many more.

In July, the movies start at 21:30, in August at 20:30, and the screening is almost every evening. The admission is more than friendly, 25 CZK, so is the beer price, 24 CZK, and sausage, 29 CZK. About the tickets, they can be bought at the spot, half an hour before the start. And if you see in the program, that the screening is for members of some private radio club, don’t stop and leave, it only means that those members don’t have to pay the entrance fee. What can be irritating is smoking. If you don’t smoke, it is probable that you will breathe the smoke from the cigarettes of others.

Easy way to get there is to take a tram no. 8 or 24 to stop Urxova, then walk through the park and you will reach Czech Radio building. You can take metro line B to station Invalidovna as well.

You might want to pay a visit there, but who knows, you might be disappointed with the movie, or maybe you would have already seen the movie they would be screening that day. So it is worth mentioning that there is another open air summer cinema in Karlin area. It is Summer Cinema River City Prague in Karolinska street 1. Here, the screening is free, and they show many Czech movies. In August, movies start at 21:30, but the screenings run only on Fridays and Saturdays. To get there, again, take tram 8 or 24, get off at stop Karlinske Namesti, walk towards Vltava river, and cross the bridge to arrive at Rohanske Nabrezi.

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Wednesday’s night trips to Prague club Mecca

Jan 4, 11:19 (Filed under: Out and About in Prague, Prague nightlife )

Interior of Mecca Club Why Wednesdays? That’s easy, my Thursday is free of both school and work. This night is my middle-of-the-week party night, and most of the time, I pay a visit to a well-known Prague club Mecca in Holešovice area. Why Mecca? It’s absolut night in Mecca on Wednesdays. That means free entrance, Absolut vodka shot for just 30 and a cocktail for girls for free. And the best part, the club is full of party people.

Usually, it breaks down like this. I arrive home, tired, cook dinner, eat and watch TV news. After, I dress up, splash some Giorgo Armani Black Code perfume on my body (I received it as a gift last Christmas), take a bottle of liquor or some beers, and go meet friends at one of one’s place. There we start talking and drinking, telling stories, making up new ones, or recall the old ones, all while listening to some beats. Clock strikes eleven and we slowly move.

We either take tram or metro, but club Mecca bus is also available from 23 to 02 every ten minutes at Václavské Náměstí 19 (in front of H&M store). Other option is to take metro to stop Nádraží Holešovice, walk around 500 metres straight on Plynární street and turn right to Osadní street. Walk a little and you arrive at street U Průhonu. There it is, U Průhonu 3, Praha 7.

This club is not that big, three bars and two stages are available and it’s quite enough. Last Wednesday we arrived at around midnight and girls to guys ratio was 50:50. And girls in the club were beautiful. As time was passing, the ratio was changing. At around three or four in the morning, there were maybe three quarters of guys and the rest girls, and that was a sign for us to leave. It was not that good late at night (or early in the morning), people got drunk and wasted, they didn’t enjoy it anymore, it was just some sort of inertia going on. Well, who knows, maybe they did. Those hours spent inside were fun, though. We talked a lot, danced a lot, met some new people, we just chilled and forgot about everyday worries and duties. I liked it!

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Going to party on Tuesday? No, never again

Nov 25, 13:39 (Filed under: Advice, Prague nightlife )

At the party.. It’s been a long time that I visited any bar or pub downtown in Prague. Today, however, we had a small reunion with friends from Kosice in Slovakia, a town where I was born. It was Tuesday. We arrived in town at around midnight and it was a little hard to think of a place with normal mix of people at that time.

We were at Namesti Republiky at the moment. The square, where this new Palladium shopping centre is being built. By the way, they opened information point to the public. Roxy. It crossed my mind. Do you know Roxy? Have you been to Roxy? How do you like Roxy? Everyone is always talking about it. Well, ok, time to go to Roxy / NoD club.

The place is located in the street Dlouha 33. Only a few minutes walk from the Prague Old Town square. The setting is cool, because it’s a former movie-theatre and dancing hall, it really makes the club look prominent. The setting, the sound and the lights are the only things that impressed me there, though. To me, more important are people inside. And this time I had a bad impression straight-off when we entered the club. Not only it was half-empty, but more, no one was dancing, everyone looked bored, waiting for something that was obviously not coming. Then one junkie came to my friend and gave her a special offer to buy his stuff. We left right away. Roxy is much better on Mondays, when it’s usually full and the entrance is free as well.

On the way to the Old Town Square, we tried several places which where either closed for the day or totally empty. One to mention is a music club called La Fabrique at Uhelny Trh 2. There is also a restaurant and it’s opened daily until very late. Again, I know it was Tuesday, but I was disappointed. There were some people inside, some of them were even having fun, but frankly, the place was dead. The prices for drinks were sky high and most of people were aged thirty plus.

Still not giving up, we tried Batalion Hard Rock Cafe just around the corner at Musket. This bar is opened non-stop. We stayed there for an hour sipping Becherovka mixed with tonic and thinking back on adventures we had done together and talking about others that were not present :-). This time, we didn’t even bother checking the place more closely. We rather didn’t because we knew we would have been dashed again. We left and went to catch a night tram home, which we missed. Instead of waiting, we decided to walk. As we were passing Rudolfinum, the seat of the Czech Philharmonic Orchestra, at that time, I’d rather be at any of their concerts.

If I can make any conclusion, then it must be that Tuesday is really a bad day to hit the town.

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Saturday night live in Prague Infinity music bar

Nov 10, 12:11 (Filed under: Prague pubs, restaurants and cafes, Prague nightlife )

Have you heard about Infinity bar? For me, It’s a shame, because I have been living in Prague for more than three years, and I have never been there, but I heard a lot about it. And it all sounded exciting. Things like: “Infinity? Yes, I know the place, it’s this kind of a night club where girls go hunt guys.”, or “I remember Infinity, last time I was there, a girl came up to me and invited me for a drink.”. Well, It was more than time to check it out.

Infinity Bar Restaurant and music bar Infinity is located very near the shopping centre Flora (metro line A, stop Flora) in the street Chrudimska 2. It’s just the opposite of this shopping centre. I cannot comment the restaurant for we went straight downstairs to the club, which is opened daily, usually until four am. We arrived at around eleven at night and the place was already full, we couldn’t find a free table so we stood at the bar, looking around, drinking Pilsen beer (the .33 bottle cost 45 CZK), my friend ordered draught beer instead, it came in that fancy Stella glass, so I suppose it was Stella, and .33 glass cost 38 CZK. The dance floor was small and at that time still empty. And girls, well, many of them were really beautiful. Ages varied between twenty and thirty five. I’m seeing someone at the moment so I didn’t really try to talk to them. Ok, honestly, the true reason is that I was shy to go talk to the most beautiful girls from the club with faces like from a cover of a magazine. My friend did, though. He was only visiting Prague for 3 days, so he actually insisted on going out and meeting people.

He is this type of guy that enjoys talking to strangers, especially girls, always trying to choose a witty pick-up line, and if a girl dumps him, it only boosts his ego to go try again. It sounds crazy to me, but it’s true. Get this, he comes over to pretty two blondes, and says: „Excuse me ladies, I’m going to ask you something, my friend and I have been looking around and discussing that it looks like all the guys tonight are inviting girls for drinks, so I thought it’s time to do it other way round, so, do you want to get us some drinks?“ If a girl has this kind of sense of humour, she will laugh, if not, she will usually say something hard.

Anyway, to cut it short, he was dumped four times before he exchanged phone numbers with another beauty. On the way home, in the night tram, he told me that he’s leaving tomorrow, so he gave her my number instead. I laughed, but I didn’t get it, it’s fun to have such friends, now I wonder if I receive a message from a beautiful stranger. Well, there is something about this Infinity bar.

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New Years 2006

Jan 2, 12:21 (Filed under: , Prague nightlife )

Happy 2006, hope you had a good Silvestr (New Years’ Eve). Ours kicked off in a predictably nerve-wracking manner – fireworks and firecrackers whizzing, whistling and banging throughout Blackbridge. It was a relief to get out of the flat to celebrate this year; there was no way I wanted a repeat of Silvestr 2005.

Jitka and I rang in the New Year with Roxy Lenka and her man Tomas at a party in Bubenec, where our mate Chris Chemist was spinning with five or six other DJs. The party was held at a photo atelier situated in the midst of a factory-lined street. The walk to the place was very pleasant; lots of distant crackers and works going off in the distance, the odd roman candle in the middle of a park, but nothing idiotic.

The party itself was great – simple, chill, bangin’ music, lively crowd. As it was BYOB, there was no dealing with bar queues. Chemist was the only person we knew there, which suited us fine, as we weren’t in the mood to talk with fucked up children. I’m so bloody tired of the “Where are you from?” Q&A that I don’t even have to answer the first question before people realize I’m not in the mood for bullshit conversation. For instance, while we were leaving, I was accosted by a bombed b-boy who, after I muttered I was from Canada, said, “Ah, I know you don’t want to talk to me. I was just speaking to you to practice my English.” Jitka reckoned this was a diss; I told her that I really couldn’t give a damn about some wise-ass kid I’m probably never going to see again in my life.

With that in mind, I suppose the party kinda made me feel a bit old; watching kids who were still learning how to drink and smoke dope and take whatever else they were taking got me feeling a bit nostalgic and glad to have more or less gotten the need to get wasted out of my system (not that I still don’t get blotto from time to time, mind you). I felt compelled to make a few resolutions which I’ll keep to myself, as I don’t normally make resolutions and don’t want to jinx them by making them public.

After sort of recovering the day after, we went to watch the City of Prague’s official New Years fireworks. We stood out in front of the Hotel Intercontinental, near Cechuv Most, where the view was supposed to be the best according to Jitka’s mother. I don’t doubt her at all, but the view sucked terribly. Owing to either weather or shite planning, the throngs at Cechuv Most were “treated” to a massive smoke display with colourful back lighting and a whole lot of roman candles. The crowd just watched in silence – no “Ooos”, “Aahs” or “Yeahs”, only a little polite applause at the end of the “show”. Better luck next year, Prague.

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Komercni Banka, Royal Cafe, Tulip Cafe

Oct 28, 11:11 (Filed under: Prague pubs, restaurants and cafes, Prague nightlife )

Two thumbs up: Komercni Banka

My bank has wooed me. Well, maybe not exactly wooed – I still find the fact that you have to pay a Czech bank money to close an account outrageous – but at least it’s made Jitka and me feel pretty damn important.

We both have accounts at one of the Komercni Banka branches downtown. Recently we’ve been making a number of changes to these accounts in order to avoid paying some rather exorbitant service charges. A couple of days ago our Relationship Manager (that’s the title on her card) called to remind me that I had to see her in order to sign a bunch of papers to make said changes. I was, I suppose a bit of a dick, as it had been up to me to call her a week before, then I showed up a day later than I had told her I would, about twenty minutes after the bank closed – the day before a state holiday, when most Czech nine-to-fivers close up mental shop and head for the hills.

Not our lovely RM. She was all smiles, polite and professional, grateful for my and Jitka’s business. She was so nice that I felt kind of ashamed for putting off my paper signing and being late. Why oh why can’t the rest of this country’s service industry be this good? And to boot, she gave Jitka and I invitations to some chi-chi KB “meet the clients” function that’s happening next week. This kind of surprised me, as we’re doing well, but not that well. And I just had my business account turned into a regular savings account to save on service charges. Maybe it’ll be a kind of cheapass crackers-and-cheese affair, maybe it’ll be a lot of blah-blah and boredom, or maybe it’ll be a blast. Doesn’t matter because in this case it really is the thought that counts.

One thumb up, one thumb down: the Royal Cafe

On the other side of the spectrum, there’s the Royal Cafe (Myslikova 24, Prague 1). Let me start with the props: this place has got Prague’s best deep fried hermelin (basically camembert or brie – I can’t really tell the difference between the three of them). CZK 60 gets you two breadcrumb encrusted pucks of sweet hot gooey cheese. Add a side of fries and just enough tartar sauce to smother every mouthful and you’ve got yourself a block party of the senses and the soul.

Yes, in my and Jitka’s opinion the Royal Cafe is tops when it comes to fried cheese. But what was that I said about the other side of the spectrum? Oh yeah, that’s right – the waitresses are bubbleheaded disco bitches who radiate more bitterness than a nosy old commie-backing babicka. And they pull the same kind of crap that Cheers pulls when it comes time to pay. That’s right – at the bottom of the bill the DB’s add an item called “Ostatni” (Czech for “Other”). In our case that was an extra 30 koruna. When I asked about it, I got the old “It’s for service” chestnut, but when Jitka chimed in our DB blushed and deleted it, saying “Oh, sorry, I didn’t know you were Czech. We only do this to foreigners.”

Up until then, I had never thought that not tipping could ever feel so good. I hope this entry deprives her and the rest of the Royal Cafe herd of more than just a little blang. Wishful thinking, I suppose, as the fried hermelin is good enough to forgive them this transgression – I’ll just tell them up front not to try pulling this “Ostatni” bullshit on me again.

And then there’s Tulip…

I still don’t really know what all the power and staff problems at Tulip were all about and I don’t really care. I’m just glad it’s open for business again. Things have gotten even odder there and that’s not a bad thing – in fact, it’s pretty cool.

I stopped by last night after a couple of quiet beers at U Zpevacku. I couldn’t help but stop in – the place was absolutely retarded. The crowd seemed a bit wanky – there were a fair number of dudes who looked like they worked in either advertising or time-share sales. A few nouveau-hippie chicks, plenty of regular Joes and Janes, with a few Pepas and Janas in the mix. Lots of smoke and lots of bar staff.

The staff was the one thing that kept me in Tulip for one more beer. It was utter chaos behind the bar. It seemed like anybody who felt like it could just walk back there and play barman. At one point I counted ten “staff members”, one of whom I believe was either the owner or the manager. Every one of them was knocking back drinks and smoking, which kind of amused me and kind of shocked me – speaking from experience on both sides of the bar, that kind of behaviour is unprofessional. A bartender has to be in control and has to command a certain amount of respect from the patrons, not get stoopid with them. Of course, there are exceptional occasions, and perhaps last night was one of them. But there was no respecting most of this lot.

There were two people who seemed to be taking their work seriously: the only female tending bar and a young guy who struck me as being a nervous rookie. The barmaid was the only one I trusted to pour my beer – the rest of them were either too inept or too fucked up to pull a decent Gambrinus.

That said, I kinda like this brash rollicking bollocking new Tulip. If the Tulip Cafe were a band, it would be the Kaiser Chiefs: somewhat derivative, quite chaotic, extremely loud, rather silly and a hell of a lot of fun.

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Chilling at the Pink Floyd Cafe; Three-way snogging at Batalion

Sep 1, 21:04 (Filed under: Prague pubs, restaurants and cafes, Prague nightlife )

Why has Pink Floyd been featuring so heavily in my life over the last couple of weeks? It started when I borrowed a special edition of Q magazine devoted to the Floyd. That got me listening to them again for the first time in something like half a decade. I rediscovered the sheer perfection of Animals, but I still can’t dig on the post-Waters Floyd, and the post-Floyd Waters.

It continues – last night I hooked up with Chris and a couple of his friends at the Pink Floyd Cafe on the corner of Americka and Zahrebska. And right now I’m sitting in Villa Incognito, chilling after having finished Chapter 7 of the Russo-Chechen conflict book, listening to Floyd’s last live album.

The Pink Floyd Cafe is situated in a very attractive neighbourhood in Vinohrady, and is part of a hub of cool bars, cafes and restaurants. In the intersection that the cafe faces there is a gorgeous new fountain with three or four asymmetrically arranged fish-like sculptures that spout water into the fountain. I suppose it’s kind of Floydesque itself.

The cafe is a clean (almost too clean) place with plenty of framed shots of the Floyd in all its incarnations lining the walls, fast and friendly service, and good prices. It also has a very pleasant beer garden amid an ample amount of trees (nice alliteration, eh?). Though nearly full, the garden was very quiet, so quiet that I felt like I had to whisper when I got there. If the owners set up a proper surround sound system out there to play music by their namesake, the Pink Floyd Cafe would approach paradise status. As it is, it’s definitely a place I’d like to drink at again.

However, we were in the mood for something a little livelier, and we found what we wanted at the Popo Cafe Petl on Italska. Loud, jumping, stuffy, smoky, full of babes and offering free WiFi Internet access, PCP is my kind of place. We stuck around for a beer and a mojito (only CZK 85) then moved on to U Zpevacku.

Watching Mike the bartender and Mad Chris (not “my” Chris, but another UZ regular) riff off each other in an inspired bit of comedic nonsense (both are part-time actors and have had roles in a number of feature films shot in Prague) got me thinking about how much I dig UZ. You’ll always find good people there on both sides of the bar.

After Mike gave us the boot so that he could close up shop, we decided to go to Batalion to kill time before morning transport started up again. It’s odd that I’ve been going there so often lately – Batalion’s always been one of those bars I’ve gone to when there were no other options available at four or five in the morning.

Last night proved to be a good night to go. The music was great – very danceable alt-rock, some cool 80s stuff, along with some Czech rock hits. Chris and I sat in a corner by a dancefloor, caught a little flack from the ultra-pierced bartender for smoking a J in there, listened to the tunes, and watched the crowd. One beer after our arrival, Chris says to me, “Hey, check out those two girls.”

I looked in the direction he was pointing and saw two very young and attractive girls heavy petting in the basement’s middle room. If they were just doing it for show, they were doing a damn good job. One was on the heavy side but had a really sultry face. The second was good-looking in a jolie-laide way – big lips, gummy smile, bedroom eyes. I reckon they were from Italy or Spain or Croatia or somewhere south. They definitely weren’t Czech.

After the stopped, I noticed that it was my round, so I went to the bar to get a couple more beers. On the way back, I see the two kissing cuties, along with a really hot friend, this one a petite girl with brown dreadlocks. The girls started necking again as I passed by. I stopped and watched. Dreadlocks says to me, “It’s beautiful, isn’t it?”

“Sure is,” I said, raising my glass to her and her friends.

The two kissers stopped, smiled at me, and then the three of them grinned mischievously at each other, then proceeded to engage in a three-way spit-swap. Though it was more amusing than hot, this was a real bonafide snog.

“Hey, Chris!” I shouted over my shoulder, “C’mere and check this out!”

Chris sauntered over, stood beside me and said, “Holy shit.”

“Cheers,” I said, passing him his beer.

A few sips later, the girls’ little show came to an end. “Thanks girls,” I said.

They giggled, bowed to our applause and went back to their table and we went back to ours. No follow-through for me, of course – I’m very happily engaged, remember.

A while later we decided to drink at the bar. After ordering another round, I noticed the jolie-laide girl and her plump friend standing beside me. The plump girl was pulling down her top and scooping one of her tits out, licking her finger and rubbing her nipple. Her friend was groping the other tit and the two girls stared intently at each other. All this was happening right in front of the bar, at the front of the room.

“Jesus??” said Chris.

“Christ??” I said.

Perhaps it was the booze, perhaps it was my lack of interest, or a combination of the two, but this nipple rubbing and groping got a bit silly after a few minutes, and I think the girls realised this and left us to our beers. Then they left with their crew.

As they walked up the stairs, I said to Chris, “Now why the hell weren’t there any girls like that when I was in high school and university? And if there were, why the hell didn’t I ever meet any of them?”

God, I love this city?? And now, Jana, Villa Incognito’s barmaid, has just put the Floyd’s Dogs (my all-time fave Floyd track) on the stereo. I feel blessed.

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Hot nights at Nebe

Jul 15, 08:22 (Filed under: Prague nightlife, Prague pubs, restaurants and cafes )

Warning – this post contains an indirect link to adult content (actually, in order for it to make sense, the post requires the link). Not safe for work and not for minors.

Now that I can no longer be held liable for getting you fired or educating your children, on with the post…

Well well well… just when I thought Nebe was losing its touch, I come across this thread at prague.tv.

Day-umn… and to think that I thought the crowds were getting a bit lame down there with their faux-lesbianism and sloppy heavy petting!

This is definitely a step up (or down, depending on your perspective) from the swingers parties that one of Nebe’s bartenders tried to organise a year or two ago. When I asked him how the first few had been, he complained that nobody really did anything, they just checked each other out the way you would on a normal night.

This is just an assumption, but I suppose it helps if you pay a bit extra for some support staff to get things going…

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Karaoke, cheap beer, transvestites, great venue, Saturday night

Jun 24, 08:52 (Filed under: Prague nightlife, Prague events )

Now this sounds like a great party – I hope it becomes a regular thing (and I hope Ken is still interested in having me host when my workload diminishes). Straight from the good folks at Karaoke Addicts:

Karaoke Addicts are introducing the new “Craziest Karaoke Party in town”

When?
Sat 25th June

Where?
Music Club Velvet, (ground floor of Aqua club 2000, Husitska 7, Prague 3, next to the Kain Rock Club). It’s the perfect karaoke venue with a fun and friendly atmosphere – everyone is welcome.

How to get there
It’s very close to the centre and Zizkov. Public Transport: a 5 minute walk from Florenc Metro. Bus 133 (from Florenc metro station) or 207 (from the Staromestska, as well as Florenc metro stations) stop name “U Pamatniku”

Party includes over 4000 hits to choose from (including our punk rock songlist), CZK 18 half-litre beer and cheap drink prices, great stage and light show, transvestites, poles (for those of you brave enough to have a go at a pole dance), big screen projection and a fun international crowd of people. Come and see what everyone is talking about – it’s guaranteed to be fun.

Admission CZK 50.

Check out www.karaokeaddicts.com for our online songlist and photos of the club as well as more karaoke stuff.

Hope to see you there

Becki & Ken
—-

Cooooool. Karaoke Addicts also puts together karaoke nights at Legends Sports Bar on Friday nights, but I’ll take a flock of flaming drag queens over a pack of barbaric stag partiers any day…

Update: Ken just sent me an email saying not only is the beer CZK 18 all night long, there will also be a special on bottles of Strongbow Cider and Fosters – in both cases the price of 2 bottles is only CZK 50.

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PEN club; 80s night at Iron Door

Jun 8, 21:10 (Filed under: Prague nightlife, Culture )

For the first time in two or so months, I’ll be performing again. Well, not really performing, but I’ve been asked to read at the Czech Centre of the International PEN Club (28. rijna 9, Prague 1). I’m not sure what I’m in for, as I won’t be reading my own stuff, but a translation of a work by Jarda Cervenka (the book that I’m linking to here is probably not what I’ll be reading from). This gig starts at 5 pm, as far as I know, and goes until 6 pm. It’s a paid gig, but I’d be just as happy getting a free book or two??

Getting the call from William Hollister, the English Editor of Umelec Magazine, was surprising, and an honour that certainly brightened my mood considering my condition today. I tied one on last night with Jeff Stroud (here’s some of Jeff’s work with Fictioneering) as a kind of goodbye party (fortunately he’ll be back from the States in early September). Even now at 9 the next evening, I am still afflicted with trace amounts of hangover.

The night started innocently enough (doesn’t it always?) at a cocktail bar on Kozna Street. I think the place is called Chillis or Chilli Chilli or something like that. A potent Long Island Ice Tea, a few beers and a few shots of slivovice later, we went for a few more reasonably priced (and far superior) half-litres of Pilsner Urquell somewhere near Wenceslas Square – I remember neither the name of the street nor the name of the pub itself.

After this, things got muddy. Jeff and his girlfriend and their friends (two Czechs, names forgotten) called it a night. I decided to keep carousing. Bobbing and weaving past Chateau (or L’enfer rouge, Jakubska 2, Prague 1) I got a few tokes and a finger of birthday cake icing off some friends of an acquaintance who was en route to a taxi. I’m not sure if I was invited to join the group that I was smoking with – I just took my puffs and kept walking. For some reason, Chateau-Marquis area has always been pretty good for a few hits from friendly strangers in the wee hours.

The next thing I know I’m in Nebe (aka Iron Door, Kremencova 10, Prague 1), dancing like a scarecrow in a hurricane to the B52s, Billy Idol, the Clash, and?? well, then the music really started to suck. 80s nights have such potential, but when you’ve got a DJ who only has Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart to represent Manchester, no R.E.M., and too many hair metal ballads (anyone remember Night Ranger? I had quite happily forgotten about them until last night), no amount of drink and drugs can set your ass in motion.

So, what did I do? I ended up insulting Nebe’s manageress by telling her that the faux-lesbo show that she was putting on with a friend on the dance floor was not very convincing (I think my exact blurred and slurred words were something along the lines of ‘Your Basic Instinct thing ain’t working too well, honey.’ Smoooooth…). She came back with something that I didn’t hear, even after having her repeat herself four times. Then she just got up and got back to her PG-rated dirty dancing. I suppose it could have been worse – I probably would have slapped me for saying something like that. Then again, we Prague expats are a civilised lot??

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Roxy's last Climax

Apr 28, 18:12 (Filed under: Prague events, Prague nightlife )

Looks like Roxy’s the place to be this Saturday: apparently April 30 will be the last night the club will be permitted to kick out the jams until the wee hours. After putting up with years of duts-duts-duts and zonked-out club kids puking and pissing and caterwauling under their windows in the wee hours of the morning, the club’s long time residential neighbours must be thrilled.

Man, am I ever glad that I was able to enjoy the place to its fullest. I don’t do house parties any more (I don’t know whether it’s because I’ve gotten old or the kids have gotten boring – must be the latter), and can’t say I miss them and all the bullshit that goes with them, but there’s a small part of me that’ll be sad to see it get sent to bed so early.

Anyway, I for one will not be ponying up the CZK 200 cover that gets you in for one last fling with what is soon to be formerly known as (arguably) the best club in Prague. I guess Radost FX gets exclusive rights to that title now, though personally I find that while it looks good, Radost sucks harder than a Perlova whore. It’s kind of a drag knowing that a group as cool as Thievery Corporation will have to stop at ten pm when they play Roxy (Dlouha 33, Prague 1) on July 7.

Speaking of things gone stale, I see that Underworld will be in town on July 13. Wait?? perhaps I’m being unfair. Perhaps they really didn’t mean to put on such a dull performance the last time they were in the Czech Republic (Creamfields 2003, I believe – which also sucked, even with good drugs. Very notable exception: DJ Shadow’s truly inspired set showed that the man was actually HAPPY to be in the CR).

I’m mentioning UW now because there are posters for the gig all over town already. They’ll be performing at Kolbenova Park, which is a shite place to see a show: every single seat, including the VIP, in the place offers a crap view, and the general admission area is covered in all sorts of rubble left over from the factories that once stood there. And I’m not just talking chunks of brick, I’m talking wires protruding from the ground.

Wow, am I ever crusty today?? well, I suppose I have a right to be considering a client had me up all night translating Powerpoint presentations and press releases in a last-minute rush job?? No, definitely no Roxy on Saturday, just a spliff and a flick or two.

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Taking a social detour South of Narodni; chillout2newyork

Apr 9, 00:42 (Filed under: Prague pubs, restaurants and cafes, Prague nightlife )

Note: I refuse to call the quarter of Prague that is south of Narodni by the asinine acronym that a certain contingent of the expat community decided to give it. Call me curmudgeonly, call me cantankerous, but, goddamn it, nobody actually uses the term.

My socialising hasn’t just taken a back seat to work, it’s been strapped in, the car doors have all been locked and the windows have been sealed shut and covered in black primer. The work that’s driving me is one-track and pretty much non-stop – though I’ve allowed myself a few pit stops here and there.

Last night, for instance, after three very productive, and rather mindnumbing, hours spent going over my translation of the first chapter of the book with the editor (another Jitka, who I’ll refer to as Jitka C), I stopped in at U Zpevacku for a much-deserved beer. Jitka C & I had been working in the non-smoking section of Cafe Louvre (Narodni 20, Prague 1), and goddamn was I jonesing hard for smoke and suds.

So, I spent a pleasant half-hour or so at UZ chatting with Mike and watching Apocalypse Now – sans sound (though I caught myself lip-synching bits of Robert Duvall’s “Napalm” speech), but nevertheless captivating.

Having recovered somewhat, I started heading home. On the way to the metro, I decided to pop into Nebe (aka Iron Door aka Zelezne Dvere – Kremencova 10, Prague 1) to see if they still host indie nights on Thursdays. Not only is Panika still happening, Nebe’s also got CZK 18 beer from 7 to 11 pm from Monday to Friday. Ok, so it’s 0,4l instead of a proper half-litre, but it’s still a pretty sweet deal.

It seemed like there was a potential big night in the works – all the couches and easy chairs were spoken for, the crowd cool and pretty (unfortunately, everyone seemed a little too aware of these attributes??), the music sounded good (though the only voice I recognised was Morrisey’s, something from his last album – wonder if the Panika folk have been playing any of that good old Manchester sound?), and the bar staff as gracious and quick with a smile as ever.

Only complaint – the camp LikeOmyGawd! hipster that violated my headspace with blahblah about some crap musical. At least, it was crap according to LOG!’s account, which was thrice-repeated in the time it took me to drink a girly-sized beer and smoke two cigarettes (yeah, yeah, a couple of baby steps forward and several giant leaps back in the neverending saga of my giving up).

Shifting gears: in my quest to find good music to translate to, live365.com led me to this beauty of a downtempo station: chillout2newyork.com. It’ll set off fireworks, rainbows, little fluffy clouds and a whole lotta sweet ambient, trip-hoppy acid-jazzy goodness in the centre of your head. It’s also excellent for translating.

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Karaoke Addicts

Mar 14, 12:39 (Filed under: Prague pubs, restaurants and cafes, Prague nightlife )

While I missed out on some great snowboarding this weekend, I found plenty to do in the city during Jitka’s absence. On Friday, after a pleasant afternoon of hanging out and planning with Bethany, Jeff, and Alex, I talked myself into having an early night. The idea was to go home, translate a bit, work on this blog, and chill with a joint and a DVD. I was cutting through Tyn Square and as I was passing Legends Sports Bar (Tyn 1, Prague 1), I saw the word “KARAOKE” written on a sandwich board.

Every Friday night Karaoke Addicts sets up camp in Legends. KJ Karaoke Ken plays requests from a list of over 1200 tracks, while Melvis handles the hosting duties. They’re good parties, the only drag is the location. There’s no other way of saying this – Legends sucks, and here’s why: CZK 65 beers, inattentive waitresses who earn their wages by standing by the bar chain smoking and chatting, lousy overpriced food, and it tends to attract more than its fair share of UK stag parties (Ken told me that whenever the stag groups take over the bar the waitstaff spends more time mopping up puke in the men’s room than serving customers). Ok, it’s big, there are lots of TV’s with satellite sports, and the bartenders are friendly, but other than that, Legends is a crap bar.

Nevertheless, I ventured in to say hi to Ken and Melvis. I don’t do karaoke that often because I always end up getting wrecked at these parties – to the point where I should not be allowed anywhere near a microphone. Such was the case on Friday, when I got to be Michael Stipe (twice), Mick Jagger, and Bon Scott. Perhaps I got up and did a few other tunes, I can’t really remember right now – between songs I was getting fed beer and shots and tokes from various benefactors??

Yes, this was an exceptional night at Legends, helped in part by the fact that Ken didn’t start up the karaoke until a rather large stag party left. They were soon replaced by a group of keen young Italian students, and a Welsh hen party, one of whom got up on a table and started shaking her moneymaker while I was caterwaul-rapping (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction.

Saturday was recovery, the Shivanam gig at Akropolis, followed by lots of beer and bullshit at Blind Eye. Just as I did on Friday, I somehow managed to stumble home to Blackbridge on automatic pilot after I’d had my fill.

Sunday was more recovery, during which I watched The Hours – a good movie, but a bad way to ride out a hangover before going to host a poetry open mic at NOD. Fortunately, it ended up being a very pleasant event, thanks to a small, attentive and appreciative crowd, a friendly and considerate barman (he actually waited for poets to finish their pieces before making cappuccinos!), and a helpful soundman.

My co-organiser and co-host, Bethany Shaffer, who performed some excellent poetry both solo and accompanied by Calder on the saw, deserves extra-special props, as does Jeff Stroud for providing me with fantastic electro-acousticisms for my words to surf. And of course, cheers to Alison, Bonita, JT, Karl, and Chris C. for standing and delivering.

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