Despite increasingly stiff competition, new cafés continue to open their doors in Prague on what seems like a daily basis – and increasingly, they’re catering for the niche market, whether it’s cat lovers, coders, or raw foodies. Where will you arrange your next coffee date?
It’s taken Gurmet Pasáž on Dlouha – home to those hugely successful additions to Prague’s foodie scene Sisters Bistro and Naše Maso – a little while to truly get off the ground. MyRaw Café is the latest arrival to fill up one of those empty units. The menu comprises of raw, vegan-friendly takes on everything from pizza to that truck driver’s favourite, the English breakfast (in case you’re curious the bacon and sausages has been swapped for avocado, aubergine, courgette, and sundried tomatoes). During the week there’s a daily lunch special consisting of a soup and a main – kelp noodles, anyone? There’s a decent range of gluten and dairy-free desserts too: the chocolate and hazelnut cake (115 CZK) tasted sinfully good.
Dlouhá 39, Prague 1, www.facebook.com/myrawcafe
Having opened in January this year, Coffee Land certainly is a new kid on the café block. Its prime location along Jindrisská, a few steps from Wenceslas Square, makes it hard to miss. Despite the predominance of airport lounge chic my overall impression as I walked through the door was positive. Given the huge black roasting machine on the left of the bar, it’s no surprise to find all the usual fancy-pants coffees on the menu along with teas, fresh juices, milkshakes, beer, and wine. There’s a vegetarian lunch menu which the owners plan to expand; in the meantime, take on the hefty wedge of chocolate cheesecake (89 CZK) if you dare – it’s beautifully presented (although I’m not sure if I was supposed to eat the single geranium that decorated my plate) and dangerously filling.
Jindrisská 3, Prague 1 www.coffee-land.cz
Kavarna Oh La La
The gentrification of Holesovice continues apace, with the appearance of a new French café-bistro on Komumardu in the former premises of a Chinese takeaway; the original Francoska Cukrarna is tucked away down a side street between Vltavska and Strossmayerovo Namesti. The eye-poppingly bright Japanese anime murals make a powerful first impression; the 25% butter croissants certainly will make you want to linger as will light bites like quiches, ciabatta, and foccacia sandwiches and the daily soup option. Grab a seat at one of the retro formica tables or take away.
Komunardu 17, Prague 7 www.facebook.com/BistroKavarnaOhlala
Art Salon S Kavarna/Bar
There has long been a budget-busting restaurant high up in Frank Gehry’s iconic Dancing House making the view from the top floor an expensive one. That’s all changed since the opening of Art Salon S and its accompanying café. My visit was as surreal as a Monty Python sketch: attempting to access the seventh floor I got stuck in the lift and had to be rescued by a security guard. The interior had just made its transformation from kavarna to kitsch bar as I sat recovering over a glass of Prosecco, admiring the money shot panoramic view in between a pair of mannequins rotating on podiums under disco lights. Prices remain reasonable – 55 CZK for a cappuccino and 90 CZK for a glass of vino. According to staff the bar is full of partying Czechs and foreigners by 9pm most nights.
Jiráskovo náměstí 6, Prague 2 www.artsalons.cz/kavarna
Cafedu is a venue of two halves: a pretty darn nice café on the ground floor with comfy chairs and huge tables and, upstairs, a large study area so quiet you can hear a pin drop among the eggheads poring over their medical and macroeconomics textbooks. There’s a monthly fee for a seat in the studovna – 100 CZK for students, 450 CZK for grown-ups – but unlike the university libraries it’s open 24/7 and you’re allowed to take in snacks. The main seating area downstairs pulls in a large student crowd; the plentiful powerpoints and decent coffee make it a good spot for freelancers. This place is popular so sharpen your elbows if you want to get a seat! The location – Muzeum metro exit by the 11 tram – is convenient, too.
Škrétova 490/12, Prague 2 www.cafedu.cz
Paralelni Polis (Institute of Cryptoanarchy)
If you want a cappuccino and a muffin at Paralleni Polis – aka the Institute of Cryptoanarchy – then you’ll need to swap your Czech crowns for bitcoin – not as easy as it might sound if the problems my companion had getting the converter machine inside to co-operate are anything to go by. While the minimum bitcoin purchase is 100 CZK, a cappuccino is 55 CZK – meaning that unless you’re planning a return to the self-appointed Prague headquarters of cybergeeks, that’s a pretty darn expensive coffee you just drank. The interior was the wrong side of dark – those aspiring cyberanarchists don’t want to be spotted while plotting to bring down 21st century civilization – and rather too grungy-squat-meets-hipster chic for my tastes.
Dělnická 43, Prague 7 www.paralelnipolis.cz/cryptoanarchy-institute
If you’re a wannabe cyberanarchist in need of coffee and happen to be on Krymska, then new kid on the renegade block Zenit should be right up your binary matrix. If you’re a regular at Cafe v Lese you will feel right at home here at this “bufet and internet cafe” which features regular DJs, rotating art exhibits, and foodie theme nights. Perhaps they could ask some programming chums to design a website with key information like opening times and a rough idea of the menu instead of leaving all that boring stuff on their Facebook page.
Krymska 24, Prague 10 www.zenitcafe.cz
I’d love to be able to tell you all about the delights of hanging out with real live Persians and tabbies while lounging in a cute café sipping tea but on the day I chose to pay a visit to Karlin’s cat café, the cats were unavailable for technical reasons. When would they be back in action enquired the disappointed pair of women in front of me? Definitely not tomorrow, hesitated the waitress, perhaps later in the week? The motto here is check Kočičí ’s Facebook page for updates regarding cat availability or risk disappointment.
Křižíkova 22, Prague 8 www.kavarnakocici.cz
Another version of this quirky Japanese concept has also recently opened in Zizkov, Kočkafé Freya.
Bořivojova 43, Prague www.facebook.com/www.kockafe.cz
Kafe v Kufru
Kafe v Kufru isn’t quite as cramped as its name (café in the suitcase) would suggest. The décor in its two rooms (there’s also a small garden) consists of the usual retro shabby chic: sepia photographs, vintage-sewing-machine tables, and mismatched wooden chairs, but the overall effect is cute and cosy. There’s a creamy soup of the day (75 CZK), baked hermelin with cranberries in a baguette (95 CZK). and a small selection of homemade cakes. Alongside the usual hot beverages there’s a range of Moravian wines. My otherwise unremarkable carrot cake was livened up by generous lashings of caramel and fresh cream. A pleasant setting provided you don’t mind the frolicsome attentions of Meruňka the Jack Russell. I hope Kafe v Kufru won’t be heading off on any long voyages just yet.
Moravská 893/10, Prague 2 www.facebook.com/pages/Kafe-v-kufru/
Got a tip for an off-the-radar cafe?