Late nights in downtown Prague, especially in the 1990s and 2000s, often ended with a sausage and beer from a street stand on Wenceslas Square. The last stand has now been removed to prepare for the square’s renovations.
There were six food stalls left on Wenceslas Square. Prague City Hall had been in long-term disputes with each of the operators over debts, some of which ended up in court and subsequent debt reclamation. In total, the amounts in the order of tens of millions of crowns.
The stands used to serve a variety of sausages with bread and mustard on a paper plate, fried cheese, beer and other beverages, and other snacks.
“I am glad that we managed to complete the transformation of Wenceslas Square in all directions. Patience can be said to bear fruit. The city has been involved in protracted disputes with operators of often criticized stands; already in 2013 we decided that we no longer want them here. However, symbolically, only now, when the reconstruction of the square begins, they are removed after protracted disputes,” City Councilor Jan Chabr (United Force for Prague), responsible for city property, said.
In the 1990s, before 24-hour fast food outlets were common, the stands were among the last places open at night serving food. But as time went on, there were more dining options and the stands became associated with short-changing customers and attracting criminals who preyed on inebriated tourists.
Efforts to close the stands began in the 2010s as the city sought to improve its “wild East” image of cheap beer and strip clubs in favor of a cultural capital.
“I firmly believe that after many decades, when one of the most important squares in the Czech Republic was more a disgrace than the pride of Prague, we will make it a place we will be proud of in Prague, and it will be a square we love again,” Chabr said.
The stands, though, had a long tradition and can be see at the start of a 1968 British travel documentary on Prague and its surroundings.
People will not be left without fast-food options. There are already several fast-food restaurants on the square, and food courts are planned for the Time Out market in the new Savarin social and shopping center, opening in 2021, and the Old Town Market, currently under renovation.
The city’s plans for Wenceslas Square call for new paving, rows of trees and benches, and have no provisions for permanent stands, though there will be spaces for holiday markets and a Christmas tree.
After years of preparations, the complete renovation of Wenceslas Square began last week. Representatives of the capital ceremoniously handed over the construction site to Hochtief CZ, which will ensure the reconstruction of the lower part of the space for almost 327 million CZK.