Updated October 7 2013
Whether you want to combine your love of food with a passion for dark tourism, or simply crave the favorites from your childhood trick-or-treat bucket—keep on reading, we’ve discovered the only source of candy corn and mallowcreme pumpkins in Prague—this year’s guide to all things eerily edible is sure to scare up your appetite.
Haunted pub crawl, anyone?
Prague is a veritable windfall of historic locations associated with uncanny happenings. Enough, in fact, to make for an interesting Halloween pub crawl.
Klášterní pivovar Strahov is a good place to start. Supposedly haunted by Mary, an unfortunate local who lost her children to the plague, a hymn for the cursed woman is said to mysteriously emanate from the chapel on moonless nights.
Nearby Restaurace Peklo (Hell), once the wine cellar of King Charles IV, may be haunted only by high prices these days, but the twisted stone figures built into its vaulted ceilings and dim ambience are befitting this “passage to the underworld”.
In neighboring Malá Strana, the ghost of the Obese Merchant hangs out near Valdštejnská Hospoda, where once he feasted on old Bohemian fare, still the house specialty. It was here that the merchant declined to share his ample meal with a hungry beggar, only to later meet a Monty Pythonesque demise. The spirit of the greedy gourmand is now doomed to wander the quarter begging.
Tavern U krále Brabantského, a medieval restaurant below Prague Castle, isn’t just famous for the historic clientele that once drank beneath its skull-bedecked ceiling (the alchemists of Rudolf II , Mozart, Hašek, K. Čapek,)—it was recently featured in an episode of the British television show “Most Haunted Live,” where the host conducted a seance in the restaurant’s cellar; a place so creepy even the staff refuses to enter it.
Across the river at Dům U zlaté studny (House at the Golden Well), one of Prague’s best-preserved Baroque burger houses, lurks the water-logged spirit of the Drowned Maid. Following a hot tip that the house’s well concealed priceless treasure, the young woman peered in a tad too deep and fell to her death. Upon having the well cleaned, the owner discovered a cache of gold coins. Now the miserable maid stalks the halls of the hotel, sobbing and soaked.
Follow up dinner in the Golden Well’s Gothic cellar restaurant with a drink at Pivnice U Kata (The Executioner’s Alehouse – U Radnice 12/6, Prague 6). Formerly the ancient watering hole of ax-wielding hood-wearers, it’s now one of the few Old Town pubs with a local feel.
Got the subterranean pub-sick blues? Head to Jindřišská Tower for a bite in its original 15th-century belfry, which houses Restaurant Zvonice. The wooden eaves recall a creaky old attic while the area surrounding the tower is loaded with lore. According to Stověžatá Praha (Prague of 100 Spires) author Josef Podzimek, the tower was built over a swampy cemetery that smelled of “nothing but rotting corpses and mire.” Dobrou chut’!
Few holidays are associated more with sugar-infused treats and sweets than Halloween – and for many, Oct. 31 is a chance to relive that childhood obsession with the currency of youth: candy. So if you’re looking for more treats than tricks, here’s a list of places around Prague where you can fill your basket and make sure you’ll be on a sugar high well into November. And for those whose preferred treats tend to come in golden, liquid form, there are several potent brews to celebrate the season with, as well.
To get a fix of those Halloween mainstays imported from the States, look no farther than The Candy Store, which stocks MallowCreme pumpkins and candy corn at this time of year both online at its several brick-and-mortar outlets around town, in addition to Halloween-themed cookies, pumpkin cupcakes and Halloween Gummi Bears. The store’s selection of American goodies is a veritable trick-or-treat bag any time of the year, with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and Reese’s Pieces, Butterfingers, Hershey’s Kisses, Milk Duds, Crunch Bars, Jolly Ranchers and Tootsie Rolls, to name a few. The range of Willy Wonka products is also available, such as Nerds and Everlasting Gobstoppers. To add some British flavors into the mix, the store (which recently merged with Robertson) also has Jelly Babies, Liquorice Allsorts and many, many types of Cadbury chocolate bars.
Culinaria, located in Old Town, regularly has a selection of Halloween baked items such as pumpkin pie, cupcakes and cookies, as does Bakeshop Praha.
British chain Marks & Spencer has a small selection of ghoulish chocolate items and baked goods for Halloween, such as gummy blackcurrent “Scaredy Cats,” chocolate ghost eggs, gingerbread cookies and witches’ fingers.
All Hallows brunch
The Hilton Prague Old Town already has a popular, family-friendly brunch every Sunday, and on Nov. 3, there’s a Halloween theme at the Zinc restaurant between 12:30 and 3 p.m. An all-you-can-eat “scary-themed buffet” is on offer, with a variety of spooky drinks. A contest for the best costume will reward those with a creative streak, and a special children’s buffet will cater to the peckish appetites of the little ones. With a supervised children’s corner and a program of music and activities, there’ll be something for the whole family. 990 Kc per person; 350 Kc for children 7 to 12 years old; children under 6 get in free. To reserve, call 221 822 300 or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.
At Žofín Garden, the weekly Sunday brunch will have a Halloween incarnation on Oct. 27, between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. There will be a special themed buffet with a variety of seasonal dishes, as well as entertainment and games for children, who are encouraged to show up in costume. Brunch takes place in the heated outdoor tent, and guests will be welcomed with a glass of champagne. The cost is 695 Kc for adults and 295 for children younger than 12; children under the age of 6 get in free. To reserve, call 774 774 774.
Pumpkin ale & seasonal brews
The Radniční Jihlava microbrewery has been putting out a pumpkin ale for the past several years, since it opened its doors in 2011. The unfiltered, unpasteurized top-fermented ale clocks in at 12º and 5% alcohol, and is described on the brewery’s website as the “beer equivalent of pumpkin pie.” An amber ale with made with fresh pumpkin and having a cinnamon aroma, with soft pumpkin notes in the aftertaste. Throughout October, the onsite restaurant also has a pumpkin-themed degustation menu, with pumpkin pate with baked garlic, pumpkin cream soup with roasted pumpkin seeds, pumpkin risotto with pancetta, pork sirloin with spicy pumpkin sauce and pumpkin chips, and pumpkin cheesecake. For more info, check Radnicni-jihlava.cz.
Closer to home, at the Klasterni pivovar Strahov just behind Prague Castle, the taps are now pouring the award-winning microbrewery’s dark autumn ale, cleverly called Antidepressant. The logo features a well-timed creepy silhouette of zombies lurching across a field – or perhaps they’re just thirsty beer lovers having just walked up Petrin Hill. Like the other beers brewed onsite at the brewery, this top-fermented ale is made with green hops, including American Cascade, Amarillo and Austrian Topaz. According to its Facebook page, Antidepressant has “an aroma and flavor that’s a blend of fruity freshness with heavier tones of dark malts, for a decidedly drier taste.”
Another seasonal beer currently on tap is the 13º Festbier, available at Jihoměstský pivovar in Prague 4 (close to the Haje metro station) in addition to the other four beers brewed by the microbrewery. Described as a half-dark lager with “ruby sparkle,” it has a subtle hops aroma and a rich foam. Coming up for the month of November, Jihoměstský pivovar will also have a Tripell Bock 20º, which is sure to pack a considerable punch.
Heineken also has a seasonal beer, brewed for the Sept. 28 national holiday of St. Wenceslas Day. Weighing in at a whopping 21º, the Svatováclavské Doppelbock was brewed in Velké Březno.
How will you dare to dine this Halloween season?
View For Foodies in a larger map
Halloween Costumes & Decor – Dress up your home, your party…yourself!
Dark Tourism in Prague – Murder, magic, and mayhem: Prague’s real-life horror stories
Halloween Parties in Prague 2011 – Have a devilish time at this year’s spooky events!