Prague cafes & tearooms

Cafes have always been especially popular with thinkers and artists to give and receive inspiration, often shaping the politics and culture of their country. Prague has always had a very lively cafe culture, even during the Socialist regime’s attempts to eradicate it.

Nowadays it is more varied and colourful than ever – from dark little side-street nooks that radiate intimacy and romance to majestic Art-Nouveau spaces that pulse with the ideas, opinions and laughter.

Tearooms are a relatively new part of Prague’s social landscape. They tend to be very mellow, exotic and smoke-free zones, though some offer all the trappings of a bar with a healthy selection of some of the world’s best teas thrown into the drink list.

Meduza

Belgicka 17, Prague 2

Meduza is much more than a great cafe. It’s one of those places that feel intimate even when every seat is occupied, perfect for dates, round-table discussions, even good hard drinking sessions in a, shall we say, cultured and tasteful environment. Aesthetically it is a gorgeous rummage sale of vintage furniture and prints, photos, and paintings, including exhibitions of contemporary art and photography.

The atmosphere is cool and hip and the staff is casual and adequately attentive. If you’re feeling peckish, Meduza offers an ample assortment of tasty vegetarian munchies as well as cabajka (smoked Hungarian sausage) for the meat-eaters. Drinks are reasonably priced and the big frothy cappuccinos are the best in town.

For an introduction to Meduza, go to www.meduza.cz.

Souterrain

Belehradska 82, Prague 2

This very attractive underground cafe/tearoom offers an extensive list of teas, along with coffee and alcoholic beverages. The soundtrack tends to be classic rock at a comfortably low volume, the service is very friendly, and the crowd is young and laid-back.

Souterrain hosts a variety of events, ranging from yoga and meditation every Monday through art exhibitions and readings by Czech artists and poets to performances by some of the Czech Republic’s wildest bar musicians. This is a great place to go if you want to get a taste of underground Czech culture.

Souterrain’s drink list and schedule of upcoming events, as well as photographs from past events is available at www.souterrain.cz.

The Globe

Pstrossova 6, Prague 1

The Globe Bookstore and Cafe is the cornerstone of the expat cafe scene. Some veterans and lifers insist that this “New Globe” doesn’t compare to the “Old Globe” that used to be at Janovskeho 14 (currently the unfortunately-named Oukey Doukey), but that’s just whiny sentimentality.

Today’s Globe has plenty to offer: a great selection of English-language books, magazines and papers, cheap Internet, a delicious assortment of inventive and healthy meals, and plenty of readings, lectures, and concerts. The service can be unpredictable, ranging from sweet and stellar to surly and slow depending on some mysterious factor that probably involves the weather. A great meeting point, perfect for killing time with a good strong cup of joe or a few reasonably-priced beers.

Find out more about the Globe at www.globebookstore.cz. (Note: the Globe café will be closed due to renovations until December 21, but the bookstore will remain open during this period).

Cafe Slavia

Narodni 1, Prague 1

The coffee is decent, the food and drinks are priced according to the prime location, and the crowd is a lively mix that runs the gamut of the middle-to-upper social strata. The service can be quite slow, but only due to the fact that this popular cafe and restaurant is often crowded.

There are two good reasons for going to Slavia. The first is the wonderful view, whether along Narodni or facing the Vltava. The second is the nostalgia factor; this cafe was once popular among dissidents during the socialist regime.

For all its upscale looks and celebrity airs (the cafe owners take great pride in the fact that many famous Czech artists and politicians have drawn inspiration here), Slavia still maintains a little bit of street cred with its famous “Green Phantom” painting of an absinthe drunkard. A nice treat during a long day of sightseeing, also a good place to bring a date.

Menu, drink list, photo gallery and more can be seen at www.cafeslavia.cz.

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