U Zavěšenyho Kafe
This review is all a bit of a mistake.
Allow me to explain. You see, I’ve known about U Zavěšenýho Kafe for a long time but never actually made it inside. I thought that given its name, which translates as “At The Hanging Coffee,” it might be that rare gem—somewhere that serves fantastic coffee in pleasant surroundings within a ten-minute radius of Prague’s star attraction, the Castle.
I was wrong.
U Zavěšenýho Kafe has a lot going for it—it wouldn’t have managed to become such an institution otherwise. They sell their own postcards featuring the mad mural that’s on the wall. There are photos of a huge gang of loyal customers outside, too: further confirmation, if it were needed, that this place is more than just a tourist trap.
The proof of the pudding—or the main course rather—is, of course, in the eating. The food menu has all the Czech classics at reasonable prices: I opted for good old smažený sýr (125 CZK) which came with the requisite boiled potatoes and tartar sauce. That deep-fried cheese might have been hard on the arteries but it certainly was tasty.
I have no complaints about the square of chocolate cake (50 CZK) I ordered for dessert, which was moist and came with a squirt of cream on the side; always a bonus. The menu even has a couple of gluten-free options so you needn’t let your wheat intolerance stop you from sampling goulash and dumplings.
However, the cappuccino, which was hardly cheap at 50 CZK, was disappointing. Bitter and watery, it is best described as a non-event in a cup.
There aren’t many places—at least ones that aren’t complete tourist traps—where you can refuel while dutifully showing visitors around the castle. U Zavěšenýho Kafe is just a few steps from Nerudova, so if you’re in the area, it’s an excellent choice for lunch or a beer. The old- fashioned décor (wooden benches and tables with lots more wood paneling on the walls) gives the place a cozy feel without feeling off-puttingly kitschy. You can also have fun showing off your knowledge of Czech culture by naming the historical cartoon figures from that crazy mural: I felt pretty smug when I spotted eccentric emperor Rudolf II. It is a bit dark inside but, hey, this is more pub-restaurant than café, which brings me back to my original misunderstanding.
The idea behind the name, apparently, is that you would buy yourself a coffee and then another one which you would then “hang” for the next person—a Czech version of the pay-it-forward concept. If I were you, I’d give the káva a miss altogether and buy that next person something else instead.
U Zavěšenýho Kafe
Úvoz 6, 118 00 Prague 1
Tram stop: 22 to Malostranské náměstí
Hours: Daily from 11:00 to 24:00
Serves Food: Yes
View Prague Café Series in a larger map