Bar Review: Jam Café

This “casting café” turns into a dance bar by night
Drinks
Service
Atmosphere
Value
Overall

Jam Café
Národní 25, 110 00 Prague 1
Phone: (+420) 224 237 156
http://jamcafe.cz/
Metro: Národní Třída (Line B)
Tram: Národní Třída ( 6, 9, 18, 21, 22, 23)

Jam Café claims to be the first “casting café” in Europe – a place to enjoy a cup of tea or a cocktail whilst daydreaming about your forthcoming show-biz successes. It’s well- lit and spacious, a slightly uninviting and impersonal space with seating arranged looking inwards toward the centre of the room. On arrival, Jam Café was totally empty, which meant service was quick and efficient but atmosphere was lacking, to say the least. After deciding on a position in the deliberately-arranged room, I ordered my first drink from the well-stocked cocktail bar.

Jam Café has a wide selection of spirits, teas and coffees not to mention specialty ‘homemade’ soft drinks such as ginger lemonade and lemonade with raspberries priced at 40 CZK.  They also stock the regular juices ranging in price from 30 CZK to 75 CZK. Jam has a surprising lack of beer on offer: only Pilsner Urquell 12° (0.3l – 26 CZK/ 0.5 – 38 CZK), Heineken (0.5l – 39 CZK), or Radegast (0.33l – 28 CZK) for non-alcoholic drinkers. I decided on a summery, high-priced Piña Colada (110 CZK) to contrast the chilly weather outside. It was served to me quickly by a friendly and attentive barman. The cocktail was tasty with plenty of rum and fresh pineapple. The drink had a good balance of flavour and alcohol.

Bar Review: Jam Café

After a few fair-priced beers I decided to leave Jam Café for the evening. Over the space of a few hours in the bar, a few people had come and settled but the atmosphere was severely lacking for a Saturday night. Empty and boring is not the vibe I required for a non-school night! Before leaving, the efficient barman told me about the various events that take place at Jam. A Tuesday night Salsa class and after-class dance party seemed like a good opportunity to see Jam Café in action. 

My visit to Jam Café the following Tuesday night revealed a totally different bar. I arrived around 22:00 and was shocked to find the once-empty space packed full with over 100 salsa dancers of varying levels, cutting the South American rug to Latino rhythms.  The previously large and intimidating room now seemed less spacious as dancers spun and weaved around me. The central dance floor overflowed with happy dancers rumba-ing and hair flicking.

Bohemian Salsa Class on Tuesdays
Bohemian Salsa Class on Tuesdays

I found myself a spot at the bar and was served quickly by one of the five or six bartenders serving Jam’s thirsty customers. My Screwdriver was strong, but too not overpowering, with a nice amount of ice. The temperatures were high in the bar as more people piled in. The workers were obviously expecting the large numbers as there were plenty of fans strategically placed around the room which were effective at bringing the temperature down. The great music and up-beat atmosphere made drinking easy. I ordered a Mojito (101 CZK): well made, with a tangy kick. A Hemingway Special (100 CZK), with quality white rum and grapefruit, followed; not to my particular taste, but the atmosphere (and rum levels) made everything seem OK!

It was difficult to tell who was with whom as dance partners seemed to be switching and swapping and switching faster than I could order drinks. By 23:00, things seemed to reach fever pitch. The bar was totally full and the dance-floor even more so, yet the bar staff remained calm and efficient, serving both soft drinks, teas and cocktails to the sweaty yet smiley customers.  I placed another drink order: Paloma (115 CZK). The Reposado Tequila, set against the grapefruit and lime juice was, like the previous cocktails, priced highly but well-made!

By midnight, things started to wind down at Jam Café. Dancers slowly made their way to their respective homes, glowing with what seemed like a healthy balance of alcohol and exercise.  Jam Café seemed like a strange venue at first: my Saturday night visit was a boring experience, but Tuesday night was a totally different vibe – a lively and exciting bar with Latin flavour. I stayed for at least four hours, happily sipping cocktails alone. I would recommend this place for anyone looking for a slice of South America on a Tuesday night; alone or in a group, Jam Café is a winner, with a pleasant staff and well made cocktails.  Saturday night was slow, to say the least, but Tuesday night was non-stop Latin action!

KEY POINTS
Smoking Policy: Smoking (well-ventilated air conditioning & fans during Salsa parties.)
Location: Národní Třída
The Crowd: Mixed ages & nationalities during events. Minimal numbers if not.
Atmosphere: Very friendly atmosphere/staff
Attire: Casual/Latin dancer
Price Range: High-priced cocktails: 100-140 CZK; minimal beers: Pilsner Urquell 12° ( 0.3l -26 CZK/ 0.5 – 38 CZK), Heineken (0.5l – 39 CZK) or Radegast (0.33l – 28 CZK)
Entrance Fees: None
Size: 80 – 150 people (lots of tables and seats- suitable for a private function during the daytime or non-event evening)
Music Policy: Relaxed during the day or non-event evenings. Loud & Latin on Tuesday.
Service: Very quick & very friendly.
Restroom Check: Clean and fairly new. Got messier later into the night, but was to be expected due to high number of customers.

Weekly schedule:
Monday: Swing lessons followed by a mini-party.
Tuesday: Salsa night, free lessons from 20:00 (advanced dancers and beginners welcome).
Thursday: Tango party.

More information available on their website.

Bar Review: Jam Café


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