For those looking to turn back the clock and dance the night away, a new venue has opened in the Old Town. Just off Dlouhá třída, Café 80’s features a glitzy restaurant and bar and a blinking basement dance floor. Decked out in my favorite acid-washed jeans and my Members-Only jacket, I went with a friend to bust a move.
Inside, the restaurant lives up to its name. Much like James Dean (which is right down the street), Café 80’s is a campy shrine to a past era. If you were born in the 70’s or 80’s, this is where you thought you’d be partying in your 30’s, except not with irony or nostalgia, and probably not in Prague.
Every part of the establishment has been carefully calculated to capture the color-saturated decadence of the decade. In the restaurant, the table tops (which are designed to look like vinyl records), are lined with sugar holders resembling Rubik’s Cubes – perhaps to match the Rubik’s-shaped barstools? Along the walls rows of album covers and posters celebrate Michael Jackson, Whitney Houston, Tina Turner and Prince, while giant disco balls shimmer from above.
This is a place where people come to be seen. The crowd was mainly 30-something professionals, along with the well-heeled. Expats were, not surprisingly, absent. Our waitress, in a taffeta shirt and turquoise 80’s-style suit-pants, was very accommodating and friendly.
Food and drink here are pricey, with many of the entrees running over 200. The menu covers Czech, Asian, and American cuisine, plus a signature “tartare trip from around the world” (150–200 CZK) and an all-day breakfast menu. The “Mini Sets”, mini-burgers served with different toppings were the perfect bar food. I tried the Lososovy Miniburger Set (285 CZK), a set of miniature salmon sliders. They were cooked well, and the tangy sauce was a perfect compliment to the salmon, though the French fries were a bit damp.
But cocktails are the name of the game here, with all the classics priced between 120 and 200 CZK. I tried out the Absinthini (Vodka, Dry Vermouth, Absinth, and Lime Juice), along with a Smokey Manhattan. Both left much to be desired, tasting alcohol-fueled sans flavor. My guest struggled to order a Gin Martini, explaining the standard drink to several waitresses to no avail. When it finally came to our table, the G&T was watery and bland. And don’t bother with beer: only Heineken, Corona, and Desperados are on offer (for over 50 CZK a bottle!).
The dance floor area was my favorite part of the night. Past the coat-check (and a Pac-Man arcade machine – no lie), you walk into the club and back in time. The club matches the restaurant, equipped with a paneled floor that changes color every second, exotic dancers, and a DJ cranking out Paula Abdul, Falco, Sandra, and some old Czech pop (though, to be honest, though, this isn’t a big departure from the music played at most clubs in Prague, which is often a decade or two behind).
The cheesy music went right along with the cheesy, middle-aged dancing that was happening on the lit-up dance floor. And yes, there was a man with a striking mustache and tight pants (think the Czech Freddie Mercury), doing his own thing, oblivious to anyone watching, unleashing a repertoire of goofy dance moves that completely predate my birth. By the end of the night, I was exhausted and ready to go “back to the future”.
While the cost for cocktails is steep, the actual club is worth the price of drinks. If you want a memorable dining and drinking experience, this is not it. But if you want to dance your spandex off to melodic synth-lines all night, you can’t do wrong with Café 80’s.
Location: V Kolkovně 6, Praha 1,
The Crowd: Mainly local people, mid-30’s, not many expats
Price Range: Expensive
Entrance Fees: None
Music: Music from the 80’s – duh!
Service: Efficient, OK English
Restroom Check: Clean
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