Prague is city with inexpensive beer, late night parties, and music on every corner, so it's no surprise that many travelers come for the legendary nightlife. The city has been a hotspot for European Stag and Hen parties for decades, but now that Prague welcomes nearly 7 million tourists every year, the nightlife scene has grown even larger to accommodate evening activities of all kinds. Where else can one have a beer for less than the price of bottled water, dance in Central Europe’s largest nightclub, and watch the sunrise over centuries-old architecture, all in one day?
Before you head out, ditch the high heels, make sure you know how you'll be getting home (trains stop running at midnight), and get ready for a great night in the Golden City.
The Czech pub is the center of social life in Prague, but these traditional, beer-based drinking establishments have played much larger roles in the country’s history and culture. It’s not uncommon to grab a pint with coworkers before heading home for the day, but pubs (hospoda in Czech) are also where politics and art frequently intertwine in Prague. The first president of the Czech Republic, Václav Havel, used to bring diplomats to the pub to discuss policy and agreements. And under Communism, many nonconformist artists would conduct their work in the safe haven of pubs.
Many pubs have kept their old-school interiors out of pride and tradition; typically only one or two brands of beer are kept on-tap (banners, signs, or other branding outside of the pub indicate which brand is served), though the Czech craft beer scene is slowly making a name for itself around the city. If you want to really impress your bartender, ask for a beer Mlìko-style (a mug of mostly creamy foam, with a small amount of beer at the bottom), or Šnyt-style (two fingers of beer, three fingers of foam and one finger of empty glass).
Some pubs of note:
- Mlýnská Kavárna: Lively pub on Kampa Island, with a rich history as a gathering place for political radicals, artists, and more. It’s David Černý’s favorite drinking spot; he built the resin bar top, and filled it with all kinds of kitschy items.
- Kavárna Liberál: Located on a quiet square in Holešovice, this pub opens at 8 a.m. and closes when the last guest leaves. Locals like to gather here for acoustic sets or literature readings.
- T-Anker: It’s tricky to find the entrance, but once you reach this rooftop pub that brews its own beer, the views of Týn Church, Old Town Square, and Prague Castle in the distance, are worth the search.
Beer can pretty much be found anywhere in Prague, and while mixed drinks have always been available, dedicated cocktail bars are a recent addition to the Prague nightlife scene. Bartenders have gotten creative in developing drinks that use local ingredients and flavors in venues with great atmosphere. Here are a few places to check out when you’re looking for something with a little flair:
- Hemingway Bar: Fancy and cozy, and definitely date-night-worthy, each drink is served in an elaborate glass or vessel. Try the Las Vacaciones De Hemingway if you’ve ever wanted to know what it’s like to drink out of a glass seashell.
- Absintherie: Try over 100 different types of absinthe at this half-museum, half-cocktail bar dedicated to the spirit.
- Cobra: The youthful vibe here is what keeps customers coming back, and the bartenders are always creating new drinks based on seasonal ingredients. A menu with snacks and light meals is also available.
- Popocafepetl: Aimed more at the under-25 crowd, there are a few Popo locations around the city. It’s a low-key place for DJ dancing and drinking Betons, the Czech version of a gin and tonic using Becherovka.
Prague’s club scene is pretty legendary, and a major draw for travelers who like to party. Most clubs are open until the early hours of the morning, so it’s not uncommon to see partiers heading home as the sun is rising. There are dance halls for travelers of all kinds, and the best part is that fancy dress is not required. The following clubs are good places to start if looking for an elevated night of music and dancing:
- Lucerna: One of the oldest and most well-known music bars in the city, Lucerna frequently hosts popular DJs.
- Karlovy Lazne: The largest club in Central Europe, just across Charles Bridge, guests can choose from five different floors to party on, each with a different genre of music playing.
- Radost FX: An underground club in Vinohrady, stop by for dinner beforehand and take your pick from their extensive vegetarian menu.
- Chapeau Rouge: An Old Town favorite with secret tunnels and cavernous rooms for DJ sets, rappers, and small bands.
Czechs have always had a close tie to live music, from concerts performed by Mozart in his heyday, to current, big name music acts at the O2 Arena. Visitors have the chance to see almost any genre of music, usually in an intimate setting. Those preferring table seating should make reservations in advance to secure a spot, otherwise it’s general admission for most sets.
- Reduta Jazz Club: One of the best places in the city to see live jazz, international acts perform here often.
- Meet Factory: This complex in Smíchov houses a gallery, an artist residency space, and a few multi-purpose rooms, including a large stage for live theater and music acts. The scene ranges wide, everything from international DJs, to Indie rock bands, and more.
- Náplavka riverfront: This area of Prague has been reclaimed in recent years as a hot hangout spot, especially in the warmer months. Many of the tunnels are being constructed as bars and restaurants, but live music has always been a vital part of the area.
Since 2011, Prague has held a Pride Parade, and most LGBTQ travelers find the city to be friendly and inviting. These are some of the most popular bars, clubs, and more that this community has contributed to over the past few years:
- Piano Bar: Near the TV Tower in Žižkov, guests can hang out and listen to songs played on an old piano, or choose from a number of board games and challenge their friends to a night of friendly competition.
- Q-Cafe: This is one of the oldest gay establishments in the city, with an extensive library. Groups hosting LGBTQ awareness events can use the space for free.
- Friends Club: Fun events are hosted every night of the week at Friends Club, culminating in huge dance parties on the weekend.
Tips for Going Out in Prague
- Prague’s metro system is extensive, but not the best way to get home at night. The last train leaves its station of origin at midnight, so if you plan on leaving before 1 a.m., you might be able to catch one. The same goes for trams as well.
- Night trams replace the regular metro and tram system past midnight. You’ll find the schedule and line, with its stops, at each tram stop. They run approximately every 20 to 30 minutes, so plan accordingly.
- Uber is available in Prague, though not all drivers speak English or use GPS, so assess your situation before booking one.
- Avoid wearing high heels. The cobblestones of Prague are not exactly party shoe friendly, and even the most hardcore of Czech partiers will generally stay away from stilettos on a Friday night. Unless there’s not a lot of walking involved, stick to flats or low, supportive heels.
- Drinks and entry fees are much higher in the city center (Prague 1 and 2) than elsewhere, so travelers looking to save on cash should consider exploring bars, pubs, and clubs further away from Old Town Square and Malá Strana.
- Tipping 10 percent is not obligatory, but is well received by bar staff. In most cases, travelers can round up their change to make things simple, especially on single drink purchases.