If you’ve walked by the park in Riegrovy sady this winter, you may have noticed some worrying signs: the area surrounding Park Café and it’s popular outdoor beer garden has been closed off as the area undergoes some extensive renovations.
According to a December article in Pražský deník, the 32 million-crown repairs, which began in mid-October, should be finished by April. Just in time for beer garden season in Prague.
But one key fact was not previously mentioned: the lease on the popular Riegrovy sady beer garden, which has been run by Park Café for more than two decades, has run out.
“The lease contract expired,” Riegrovy sady beer garden operator Michal Bárta stated to Noviny Praha 2, the official Prague 2 newsletter, this month.
“Everything is gone, according to the contract I was obliged to bring the garden part back to its original state. Perhaps someone will open a restaurant which has been approved.”
It’s clear that Bárta, who has run the Riegrovy sady beer garden for more than twenty years, will not be back in 2019. But will someone else take on the lease and resurrect what has long been one of the most popular beer gardens in Prague?
While Prague officials may like to see a similar establishment replace the previous beer garden, the restaurant and surrounding area – fenced off from the rest of the public Riegrovy sady park – is maintained by a private owner, ZET-Invest s.r.o.
“Certainly we will be interested in the further fate of this area and, if necessary, look for ways to solve this situation,” says Vaclav Vondrášek, Deputy Mayor of Prague 2.
“But the owner and new tenant, if any, must know that Riegrovy sady is a protected monument and adapt their business to fit it accordingly.”
Riegrovy sady was once part of Prague’s famed Zahrada Kanálka, a immense park and garden that stretched into what is now Vinohrady and was visited by the likes of Wolfgang Mozart and Washington Irving when travelling to Prague.
The area has seen numerous changes over the years, and is again being reconstructed in 2019. But the future of the popular Riegrovy sady beer garden is currently unknown.