Holešovice’s Cross Club started life as a friends-only hang-out for Prague’s creatives, a safe haven for the city’s alternative crowd. The large labyrinth-like building on the corner of Plynární and Argentinská provided ample space for bands and DJs to rehearse and practise their respective sets and routines in peace away from the outside world. The outdoor seating area and winding ground floor and basement sections of the venue have possibly the most interesting interiors I’ve seen in a club. Listed as the 165th ‘must see’ venue in the city, Cross Club has become something of a Mecca for Europe’s drum & bass, dubstep and EDM lovers.
František “Fanda” Chmelík was initially responsible for the club’s Mad Max style industrial appearance, which fits perfectly with the late-night venue’s eclectic musical program. The walls and ceiling of the ground floor pulsate with all manner of moving shafts, cranks and pipes, pieced together to give the visitor a truly unique clubbing experience. The nightclub’s main room (located on the ground floor) also has one of the city’s best sound systems, which can often be heard spilling out into the street from the bowels of the club. The nightclub has a reputation for being a playground for the city’s vice-hunters. Various drugs were readily available and often openly consumed, which served as a deterrent for many and attraction for some.
In 2009, Cross Club cleaned up its act somewhat with the opening of their Cross Café. Located in the upper levels, above the nightclub, is a relaxed and laid back café/bar. The café’s tribal interior is in complete opposition to the venue’s lower levels. The jolting change in interior and mood always gives me a Crystal Maze feeling, as if I have miraculously journeyed to another world. The heavy bass lines, crashing snares, and frantic decor of the lower levels has been replaced by hessian covered walls and African-style wood carvings & ornaments. Natural materials as far as the eye can see, not a flashing LED in sight!
Cross Café is open daily from 14:00 to 02:00, serving food from 14:00 to 23:00 (until midnight during the weekends). The food menu goes way beyond your average bar snacks, offering a wide range of freshly prepared pizzas (32cm), steaks, salads, pastas, and deserts at very reasonable prices. I had my doubts about the quality before ordering, but was very surprised by the good standard.
English-speaking staff are generally friendly and welcoming, but you’ll find that niceties go out the window during busy periods. There’s generally a balanced mix of Czechs and expats, often socializing together in the relaxed hessian hideaway. The café/bar has been divided into smoking and non-smoking sections. You’ll probably encounter the distinctive scent of marijuana from the smoking section, as many of the customers socialize and light up joints in the relaxed atmosphere. The club & café’s relaxed stance towards smoking has attracted a certain clientele: Czech and expat students, arty creatives, and generally laid-back individuals can be found enjoying the Afro/Aztec environment.
Cross Café has a well stocked bar. They sell Schwarzenberg 10° beer (0.5l – 33 CZK/0.3l – 20 CZK), Chlumec’s Lobkowicz 12° Premium beer (0.5l – 40 CZK/ 0.3l – 24 CZK) and Pilsner Urquell 12° (0.5l – 50 CZK/ 0.3l – 30 CZK), as well as bottled Lobkowicz 12° Premium, Merlin, Pilsner Urquell, and Heineken priced at 40 CZK, and Desperados original and RED priced at 65 CZK. The bar also has a surprisingly wide range of wines starting at 220 CZK and going up to 485 CZK a bottle: Müller-Thurgau, Cuvée, Sauvignon 2009, Chardonnay 2010, Pálava; the list goes on.
For the non-alcoholic customers, Cross has an extensive list of juices & Kinley’s tonics starting at 35 CZK. They also sell the carbonated caffeine drink Club Mate and Club Mate Cola. The German beverages were slightly more expensive (45 CZK), but were tasty and refreshing. The bar menu also has an extensive selection of rums: Sailor Jerry Spiced (70 CZK), 7 year-old Havana Club (85 CZK), 12 year-old Diplomatico (120 CZK), Centenario Reserva – (140 CZK), 18 year-old Botran (140 CZK), as well as cognac’s and whiskeys: Tullamore Dew Black (75 CZK), Johnnie Walker Black Label (90 CZK), Martell V.S.O.P (95 CZK) and Hennessy Fine V.S.O.P (95 CZK). As with the food menu, I found myself surprised by the wide variety of beverages on offer at Cross Café. The friendly staff were more than happy to talk me through the options and were knowledgeable and passionate about the pros and cons for each.
It’s likely that you’ll feel heavy vibrations and sound spillage leaking up to the Café if there happens to be an event going on in the lower club levels of Cross. Heavy bass rumblings or live drums can be heard and felt, which would definitely put a dampener (or even the shakes) on your quiet drink. The well-ventilated (in the non-smoking section), well lit Café is both charming and interesting, attracting people from all walks of life (some more red-eyed than others). I found the staff to be friendly and efficient and didn’t ever feel out of place drinking there alone or with a group of friends. The upper levels of Cross Club provide a surprising range of quality food and beverages at fair prices, plus there’s plenty of outdoor seating for the summer months. If you’re not put off by the scent of THC in the air then I would recommend Cross Café for some drinks or fresh pizza.
Plynární 23, Prague 7
Closest metro: Nádraží Holešovice
Phone: (+420) 736 535 053
- Smoking Policy: Designated smoking & non-smoking sections
- The Crowd: Mixed
- Atmosphere: Very relaxed, weedy in the smoking section
- Attire: Come as you are
- Price Range: Mid-range. Higher prices for high end drinks
- Entrance Fees: None
- Size: segmented areas of the bar
- Music Policy: Eclectic & varied
- Service: Friendly & efficient during quiet periods; understandably less so during the busy hours
- Restroom Check: Clean & new
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