I generally try to stay away from Old Town Square. The constant hustle and bustle of street vendors peddling sight-seeing tours, and pricey refreshments mixed with the constant flow of inquisitive tourists often leaves my head spinning. But I journeyed into the eye of the storm on a particularly cold night to check out Black Angel’s Bar, which can be found in the basement of Hotel U Prince – smack bang in the middle of the square. After being greeted by a pleasant and efficient doorman I was lead down into the bowels of the building. The bar’s interior is immediately striking with all manner of eye catching mannequins, aquariums, trinkets, and objects which fascinated me as I followed my efficient doorman to my table. Once seated in the softly lit, intimate alcove close to the bar, I started the slightly daunting task of selecting a drink in this classy cavern!
Black Angel’s Bar has a real 1930s feel about it. Everything from the names of the cocktails to the worn and distressed ornaments give off that prohibition vibe that seemed to make everyone present (including me) feel a little bit mischievous! The cozy setting means that it’s likely that you’ll be sitting close to (or sometimes next to) a stranger. At first, the close proximity felt awkward and slightly claustrophobic, but it didn’t take long for me to loosen up as I drank more and became used to my new settings.
I opted for one of the Black Angel’s Valentine’s promotional drinks, the antagonistically named Black Angel’s Heart Break (155 CZK). It was one of the only cocktails on both the promo and normal drinks menu that didn’t list its ingredients; I decided that the risk was worth it. The drink arrived (after what felt like a long wait) on a silver platter sprinkled with rose petals. The long, icy red drink was delicious. A full fruity flavour with a strong unrecognisable alcoholic taste. It was surprisingly difficult to identify tastes in a darkened basement! After asking the waiter I discovered that the Black Angel’s Heart Break contained homemade passion fruit juice, gin, and grenadine.
Next, I decided to select something from the “Forgotten Classics” section of the extensive menu. Way back in 1919, the Volstead Act (also known as The Prohibition Act) completely prohibited the sale and consumption of alcoholic beverages in the US. The government’s goal was not exactly successful; citizens simply found new ways of drinking. One of which was to mix drinks (I guess if you’re going to break the law, you might as well really break it!) The prohibition act inadvertently gave birth to the golden era of cocktails. It was difficult not to feel a little bit like Nucky Thompson as I ordered myself a Mary Pickford (105 CZK) while browsing the wide selection of fine cigars and cognac encased the a huge ornate humidor that stood at the end of the room. The Pickford arrived after another lengthy wait. The slightly tart long drink was enjoyable, with a pleasant balance of flavours: 3-year-old Havana Club rum, pineapple juice, a dash of grenadine and maraschino, mixed well and served on the trademark silver platter (this time no rose petals!)
There’s a 10 CZK charge for using the toilet at Black Angel’s, which would be my only real criticism of the bar. Charging your customers to use the facilities seems a little bit tacky. Also, my waiter insisted on removing my menu after taking each drinks order which became a little irritating as the menus were pretty interesting with lots of blurb and background information on each cocktail and drink. For the non-cocktail drinker, Black Angel’s has a wide selection of fine wines (starting at 115 CZK 0,15l) and champagne (from 1490 CZK 0.75l). Soft drinks for the prohibition observers start at 45 CZK, with an extensive selection of mineral waters for the super health conscious (45 CZK – 125 CZK).
Black Angel’s has a very relaxed atmosphere, with attentive, English-speaking staff who are willing and able to give you background information to aid your beverage decision. Live music was also provided. Sultry sounds from the live pianist and vocalist with saxophone support made for a perfectly luxurious addition to the 30s setting.
Overall, a thoroughly enjoyable venue. Suitable for romantic liaisons, or male bonding over fine cognac and cigars. I would advise making a reservation to secure a space in this high-class cave. Expertly-mixed drinks at reasonable (city centre) prices. A good mix of ages, genders and nationalities. A definite must for those seeking fine drinks in the centre.
Black Angel’s Bar
Hotel U prince (Second basement)
Old Town Square 29
Prague 1, 110 00
• Smoking Policy: Smoking (well-ventilated with good air conditioning).
• Location: Staroměstské náměstí.
• The Crowd: Mixed ages & nationalities.
• Atmosphere: Very relaxed atmosphere/staff. Live background music.
• Attire: Smart/casual.
• Price Range: Cocktails: 105-165 CZK; minimal beers: Staropramen 12° (75 CZK 0.3l), Granat (95 CZK 0.5l), Stella Artois (75 CZK 0.5l).
• Entrance Fees: None.
• Size: 80-90 people (seating areas are scattered in various locations, small nooks and crannies).
• Music Policy: Relaxed sound system playing music or live band playing lounge jazz.
• Service: Friendly & efficient cocktails took a while, but to be expected.
• Restroom Check: Very clean and new. A 10 CZK charge, which was unexpected and unnecessary.
View Bar Reviews in a larger map