Expats.cz’s intrepid café reviewer Lisette Allen has dusted off her crystal ball and peered into the future to see what Prague’s coffee lovers have to look forward to in the coming months. From venues without walls to cappuccinos which change lives, one thing remains constant: there’s much more to a great cafe than just hot beverages.
Cafés of the future still have a social conscience
While it’s long been possible to support good causes while also grabbing your much needed caffeine hit—Café Therapy just off Vodickova, which assists people overcome drug addiction, is a particular favorite of mine—it’s pleasing to see that new venues which support the marginalized in society continue to pop up around Prague.
Having spent a summer’s afternoon wandering around the Old Town, I was delighted to spot Café Dismas when the heavens opened. It has plenty of squishy chairs (albeit with granny-style floral prints), fair-trade coffee and a selection of light snacks. Café Dismas– whose slogan is kavárna bez předsudků or Café without Prejudices–gives those with a criminal record an invaluable chance to reintegrate into society. As it’s right by the Bílá Labut’ tram stop, chances are it will be on your route at some point soon.
Cafés of the future double as an office space
You can’t enter a coffee house these days without tripping over a trailing laptop cable. Freelancers of all stripes are taking advantage of the free wifi in cafes all over the world – and Prague is no exception to this trend. Most of these digital nomads cannot afford conventional coworking spaces. However, the smart people at Node5, a tech hub and co-working space based in Prague 5 (see the connection?) have invented a middle way: in return for a small monthly subscription (currently 390 CZK per month) you have access to the coworking space’s Café N5 which can you use in the usual way as a workplace or meeting point. In the words of the founder of Node5, “It’s a place to conduct business, brainstorm, get inspired and unlock your potential while having a homemade cake and an excellent beverage.” Subscribers also have access to the diverse range of events run by Node5 and can upgrade to a quiet zone or rent a meeting room.
Cafés of the Future will still be run by Ondrej Kobza
Urban activist Ondrej Kobza is something of a one-man phenomenon. The man behind Prague’s popular street pianos is also famous for launching Café Ve Lese on bohemian Krymská, and injecting new life into Novoměstské radnice courtyard with Café Neustadt. Now he’s hoping to transform the ground floor of Charles University’s Faculty of Arts by opening a student-friendly hangout in a former jídelna. “There’s a big chance the project will go ahead,” he told me while on holiday in Croatia. “It’s a really interesting concept: we’d like to work with students to get them to design the space and make it something special.” Should Kobza’s tender be successful, all profits would be poured back into his forthcoming urban interventions.
The bohemian café king is also currently in talks with major Czech record label Supraphon who are keen for him to design a café which doubles as a record store and gallery space.
Cafés of the Future will allow you to sip and spend
Back in June 2014, Expats.cz brought you a round-up of places where you can enjoy some coffee and cake while also indulging in a little retail therapy. Since then, a stunning newcomer has arrived on the scene: Styl & Interier. This upmarket household furnishings store on Vodičkova now has a welcome oasis from the hustle and bustle of central Prague in the form of a gorgeous garden café.
Hidden at the rear of the shop, the outdoor space is generously sized with secluded nooks and crannies galore. I sat in the shade of pergola but next time I plan to score one of the deckchairs. At five thirty on a sunny evening in August almost every table was taken so be sure to book ahead if you plan to sip wine in the sunshine after work.
Cafés of the Future will be here today, gone tomorrow
There have been a couple of fleeting pop-ups around Prague in recent years: the Puma store briefly served espresso and the top floor of Bata’s flagship store also offered refreshments to customers for a shortlived spell. A pop-up fashion café materialized at Písecká brána briefly last summer. It’s, of course, difficult to predict when and where a temporary caffeine stop might next appear in a quirky spot. In the meantime, if you yearn to spend time sipping your cup of joe in an unusual location, there’s always former freight station turned cultural hub, Nákladové nádraží žižkov. Lounge in a deckchair on an old goods wagon or grab a seat indoors by the bar in the colossal entrance hall. As Expats.cz reported earlier this year, it’s not clear how long this amazing venue will remain open so jump aboard while you can.
Cafés of the Future will serve Paleo eats
Modern primal foodies take heart: there’s finally a place in Prague you can tuck into nutritious treats fit for a Paleolithic king – or tribesman. The Paleo diet involves eating only what we might have foraged back when we lived in caves rather than apartment blocks: in other words, meat, fish, leafy greens, nuts and seeds but no grains or dairy.
This August, culinary enthusiast Kristýna Hájková opened a café at the gym she attends: now members can refuel on fruit and veggie smoothies, protein shakes and sweet and savory kolaces after their CrossFit workout. “Paleo interests people here in the Czech Republic,” Kristýna told me when I stopped by for a slice of cranberry and coconut cake. “There’s definitely a gap in the market.” Café Garage is located in the CrossFit Committed gym’s vast new premises at Bubny and is open to members and their friends; free introductory lessons take place twice a week if you’re ready to give the high-intensity fitness program a whirl.
What’s your favorite new café?