The Red Room is a faintly grungy expat haunt just behind Karlovo Namesti replete with black sofas and dark corners for lounging. You don’t come here for the beer – they only have Staropramen and Hoegaarden on tap which any self-respecting Czech would turn their nose up at – but there’s an extensive range of cocktails if you prefer Long Island Tea to lager. The bar’s main draw is the music. Should you find yourself at a loose end at the end of your long weekend in the city and fancy seeing live acts in an intimate venue, the Red Room is the place to head for. Sunday is open mic night and the standard is refreshingly high. On my last visit I was treated to a French double bass player accompanied by a pal riffing away on clarinet and a British lady with an angelic voice belting out ballad standards like ‘Stand By Me’ as well as the usual mix of aspiring singer-songwriters. Should you need to take a break from the tunes there’s a backroom with a pinball machine and table football. Would-be performers should get there by 8.30pm to sign up for a slot.
Myslikova 28, Prague 1
+420 222 520 084
Google map: bit.ly/X0psQE
* Lisette is our Been there local for Prague. You can read her profile here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/prague-local-lisette.jsp and follow her tips here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/travellers/LisettePrague
Is it a restaurant? Is it a club? Is it a record shop? No one is quite sure but either way Radost FX near Namesti Miru is very cool.
Street level houses a quirky veggie café and a music/video/wine shop. Downstairs is a lounge/restaurant area with the same menu, and a club.
During the daytime enjoy the Radost FX cafe. Set behind large windows facing the street, the cafe has some pretty eclectic decor. Tuck into breakfast from 8-11, or later on enjoy the wide vegetarian menu later in the day. Radost Fx has a truly global menu, boasting dishes from countries including Greece, Italy, India and Thailand as well as some of the best veggie burgers and 'slaw ever. Food is available all day.
The same menu is available in the longue area downstairs, which is complimented by a great bar and live music at the weekends - well into the small hours.
I especially love the shop area on street level next to the cafe. As well as videos, DVDs and wine, this cosy shop offers an ever changing selection of vintage and contemporary music on vinyl.
There’s something for everyone here, at any time of day.
Bělehradská 22, 120 00, Prague 2
+420 603 193 711
Nearest metro - Namesti Miru or IP Pavlova
Google map: bit.ly/zgnAMf
* Helen is our Been there local for Prague. Her page is here: www.ivebeenthere.co.uk/articles/prague-local-helen-ford.jsp and she has her own blog here: czechingin.wordpress.com/
I'm not a big clubber but this place has to be seen to be believed. It's located in a rundown old tenement in the suburbs of Prague. When you arrive you're confronted with an entrance that looks like something out of a sci-fi movie - all shiny metal and whirling cogs. Inside some mad inventor has been at work, creating the most imaginitive interior I've ever seen using old junk. Moving mechanics, old seats from public transport and strange light shows are the order of the day. It's a visual spectacle and a half. My favourite bit is the lights made out of old lemon squeezers.
Cross Club Plynární 1096/23, Praha 7
Not far from Holesovice metro station
This underground jazz bar boasts fantastic live performances, and takes up several levels. The basement has cool stone walls with a high vaulted ceiling. Although the live performance had a cover charge it was well worth it, as the music lasted for hours. Drinks were a bit more expensive then other places but it was still relatively cheap at about £1 per beer. Also worth a try is the absinthe.
Corner of Stupartska, behind Tyn Church
Satre Mesto, Prague
Being an opera lover who lives outside the home counties means expensive trips to London or to west country cities to catch the Welsh National Opera.
However, quality opera performances and productions do not appear to come
much more low-cost than Prague.
There, the National Theatre (Narodni
Divadlo), together with its little sister, the Estates Theatre, and the State Opera (Statni Opera) provide excellent performances.
The NT has a stunning little auditorium in a large building so there is plenty of room for bars and restaurants. With its superb orchestra it
provides a substantial diet of the classics whilst putting on more Czech opera than the opposition.
The musical and production standards are very
high. Really worth catching are Jenufa (I have seen Anja Silja, Rosalind Plowright and Eva Randova all give wonderful and different versions of the
Kostelnicka), Dvorak's The Devil and Kate (why isn't this hilarious twist on the Orpheus and Euridice story more popular abroad? As fine as Hansel and
Gretel, it is perfomed most Sunday mornings to hoards of delighted children) and an operatic version of Verdi's Requiem. The musical director, Oliver
Dohnanyi, conducts regularly. The intendant is the superb designer Daniel Dvorak who often works in tandem with the theatre director, Jiri Neksavil. Jenufa is the best I have seen.
The State Opera, with a larger auditorium, squeezed into a smaller building is more variable and more based on the classics. Former conductors include Mahler, Klemperer and Szell. Both houses have excellent productions of
Dvorak's Rusulka. The best principals seem to appear in both houses and occasionaly one is spoilt for choice with Aida or Carmen on at both houses
on the same night.
Hardly surprisingly, as the birthplace of Don Giovanni and Il Clemenza diTito, the gorgeous little Estates Theatre mostly does Mozart and Donizetti. In all
the theatres opera prices are extraordinarily low by our standards; £20 - £25 for the best seats. The subtitles are in English, as are large sections
of the programme notes which come in paperback books at the NT for about £1
or glossy magazines elsewhere. Tickets are usually available at the box offices if you go between September and March or are easy to book online
www.narodni-divadlo.cz will show full repertoire and let you book. They also run the Estates Theatre). For the State Opera, details can be found on
operacz/en/index/opera and booking made through Bohemia Ticket: www.BohemiaTicket.cz
Forget hotels: go for apartments. Mary's Travel in Prague can put you near the NT for about £20 a night. Restaurants cater for every taste and nationality. Czech food itself is filling with the ubiquitous dumpling and meats acting as a ballast.
The city itself? Need one say more than it holds the most varied and
stunning architecture? Prague is an opera lover's paradise.
As the name suggests, it is a club, but also has a bar and meal facilities. The main thing is the 15th century vault where there are concerts on a tiny stage. I heard Lubos Andrst Blues Band in April, and it was simply divine. It is right in the centre of Prague, right behind the Old Town Square. Brilliant night out with good Czech beer and brilliant music.
The Globe is a cafe, bookstore, gallery, internet stop, live music bar and just all round nice place. It has good food (sometimes a real find in Prague) and a relaxed welcoming atmosphere.
Find the Globe at www.globebookstore.cz/ , or in Prague on Pštrossova, next to Národní Třída metro.
We visited Prague a couple of weeks ago and were lucky enough to get tickets to one of the concerts in the Prague Spring season at the Municipal House. Although the acoustics are not brilliant, the atmosphere was amazing and the orchestra excellent. A word of advice though - the Czechs take their music seriously and were all dressed very smartly. My boyfriend, who was in smart trousers and shirt, commented that he wished he'd worn a jacket to the concert. On the plus side, tickets were £10 each for a box seat.
It doesn't nestle in quite as closely with many of Prague's other attractions, but it is well signposted once you get to the vicinity on foot or by tram. The villa is called Bertramka, and was a 17th century farmhouse, though it doesn't now look at all rural, and housed Mozart while he was working on Don Giovanni. He didn't stay for long, but the house has acquired one of his pianos and various other memorabilia.
Mozartova St 169 150 00 Tel: +420 257 31 74 65 www.bertramka.cz (has a good location map)
The best jazz club in Prague! OK, so it's the only one I've been to, but it was brilliant - really good live music, waiters serving drinks to people in every nook and cranny of the venue (which was small but it had what could be described as 'character' for want of a less cliched term) - it was everything a jazz club should be. You can also buy CDs from their website - it took me a while to understand it all (there were dubious English translations) but don't give up, it'll be worth it in the end.
Agharta Jazz Centrum
Praha 1, Železná 16
Tel: + 420 222 211 275
In a thriving night scene, beware ��� according to taste ��� the ubiquitous sex, stag, and hen clubs. For a more sedate, but atmospheric taste of bohemian Prague nightlife, try the AghaRTA jazz club in the city centre where local musicians hang out most nights of the week.
Agharta jazz club, Krakovska 5, Nove Mesto, Prague 1; Tel: 222 211 275; Open: Club 7pm-midnight daily Concerts 9pm Jazz Shop 5pm-midnight Mon-Fri, 7pm-midnight Sat, Sun; Admission: 100kc (no credit cards); www.agharta.cz/
Send your feedback or queries to email@example.com