NOTE: Planning on going out on the town in Prague? Be sure to check out our What’s On section to keep on top of what’s going down at all of the city’s top clubs.
We all know the capital is full, if not overflowing with things to do in the evening. Although, when it comes to nightclubs many say that the city is lacking, especially when compared to other European cities. During my time in Prague I have spent many late nights and early mornings both as a reveler and as a performer in a number of the higher capacity nightspots the city has to offer those seeking late night music. I plan to give you a quick and honest review of a few of the city’s nightclubs. The opinions expressed are simply my own views gathered over time both as a punter and a performer. On the whole Prague’s nightclubs have a peaceful atmosphere with the attendees generally more concerned with having a good time than causing problems. That being said, there are a few pitfalls in some of the venues that I would like to share with the undiscerning or first-time Prague clubber.
ROXY (Dlouhá 33, Prague 1)
The recently renovated Roxy is located in the city centre with easy public transport via tram numbers: 8, 14, 26 and the equivalent night trams, at the stop ‘Dlouhá třída’, bus (133) or metro (Line B – Náměstí Republiky).
The club is said to be one of the city’s first to be established as a club venue. There’s no regular crowd type as the nights promoted by the club are so varied. Since their renovation the club has began specializing in electronic music, with live DJs playing progressive dance & dubstep. Noise complaints from local residents had resulted in temporary sound restrictions for the night club but all seems to be business as usual now. Busiest nights are weekends and the “Free Monday” event which attracts many of the city’s tourists. Door price is often dependant on the event.
Key words: Interesting, central, mix of people, free Monday
CHAPEAU ROUGE (Jakubská 647 Prague 1-Old Town)
The closest metro station is Náměstí Republiky (Line-B). Chapeau is a 3 leveled nightclub, with the ground floor acting as a bar. Each storey is equipped with its own bar and dance floor. The ground floor bar area has a real New York-Irish pub feel, which will often be crammed with revelers taking full advantage of the well stocked bar. Live DJ’s play pretty much 7 days a week. The music on offer in the main bar area is truly eclectic: everything from Balkan rhythms to drum & bass.
The atmosphere is generally up-beat with friendly, English-speaking, quick-to-serve bar staff. The second floor down seems to attract younger tourists with the good quality sound system booming out bubble-gum R&B and pop for the adoring dancers, 7 days a week until early in the morning. I have heard stories of problems (altercations or missing belongings), but in my experience I have had nothing but good times. Chapeau Rouge is renovating its basement level which will act as a live music space. Well worth a visit!
Key words: Busy, Classic bar, English speaking, eclectic
CROSS CLUB (Plynární 1096/23, Prague 7)
Cross Club attracts Prague’s alternative audience with a program of reggae, dub, drum & bass and dubstep. The club can be found close to Nádraží Holešovice metro station (Line C). They open from 18:00 to at least 04:00 on Fridays and 06:00 Saturdays. Although in my experience they are happy to stay open longer if the party is still in full swing. Interesting interior fills the maze-like two leveled club with a café area on the third floor (open 14.00-02.00 daily). The inebriated customers seem happy enough, although the equally inebriated staff can often be slow and abrasive.
The clubs sound system is one of the best in the city, so this is the venue for you if you like your bass loud. Ear plugs optional for the safety conscious!
Key words: Alternative, interesting interior, maze
LUCERNA MUSIC BAR (Vodičkova 36 Prague 1)
LMB is smack bang in the centre of the city. Its regular 80’s pop-video party takes place on a Saturday night and is a big hit with tourists and Czechs alike. They provide a varied range of live events, ranging from reggae to rock, hip hop to indie. Bar staff are fairly quick and efficient serving a standard selection of spirits and beers (both Czech and mainstream).
Lucerna can get very hot if numbers reach capacity so be prepared to sweat it out on the ample dance-floor provided. Its central location makes the journey home stress-free regardless of your final destination.
Key words: Hot, Live shows, late night, 80’s & 90’s party
RADOST FX (Bělehradská 120 120 00 Prague 2)
A stone’s throw from I.P. Pavlova metro station (Line C) and easily reached with tram numbers: 4, 6, 10, 16, 22, 51, 56, 57 and 59, this club specializes in soul, R&B and hip hop nights. It’s best to take a visit from Thursday night onward. The club tends to get busier later on in the evening and welcomes a varied, multi-national clientele of international students and Czechs, who mix happily on the fair size dance floor. Scantily clad ladies can be found dancing to the R&B sounds provided by the resident DJs. A recent drop in popularity means that Radost isn’t always the night club of choice. Slightly overpriced and often warm drinks await you!
Key words: Hit & miss, R&B, Hip Hop events, average
MEETFACTORY (Ke Sklárně 15, Prague 5)
The Meet Factory serves as a multi-functional cultural institute. Providing artists, designers and club/band promoters with space to express themselves in whichever field they operate in. The venue is slightly difficult to get to. One regular route taken by many, involves precariously crossing the train tracks (often under the cover of darkness). Not one I’d recommend for either the soft-hearted or drunken party-goers. The venue caters for all manner of events. Electro, Down-tempo and Disco sounds have all graced the large, industrial main music room. The atmosphere ranges from friendly to slightly pretentious depending on the event on offer, as do the entrance fees. Drinks are served by very friendly and attentive English-speaking staff at regular prices. The toilets are pretty grim, adding to the whole New York squat party vibe the venue gives off, although their sound system is possibly one of the best in the city. Open every day from 1pm with late night opening during the weekends and easy night tram access. The closest Metro to the venue is Smíchovské nádraží (line B). Check their website for the current events before making the trip.
Key words: industrial, friendly, interesting, great sound
KARLOVY LÁZNĚ (Smetanovo nábřeží 198, Prague 1)
Karlovy lázně has been “pleasing” the cities party people since it opened its doors back in 1999. Located near the Charles Bridge, it boasts an incredible 5 levels of music and bars for your entertainment. On paper, this sounds good. The reality is a dilapidated, dirty club serving extremely over-priced drinks to drunken (often rowdy) tourists. Many are lured to the club by the promise of pretty ladies and cheap drinks, only to be greeted by a run-down club, predominantly full of angry men. Bar staff are fairly slow with service but friendly enough. The door staff are often rude and sometimes violent and aggressive. I have heard many stories of possessions going missing from the cloakroom with absolutely no explanation from the staff. This place is not the clubbing Mecca it claims to be.
Key words: Dirty, over-priced, dilapidated, 5 levels, fight club
RETRO MUSIC HALL (Francouzská 75/4, 120 00 Praha 2)
Retro Music Hall seems to have recently had a change in musical direction. The previously eclectic selection of events seemed to do little to attract any kind of large audience. The large dance-floor space could often be found empty with a few people littering the upper and lower level bar areas regardless of the time or day. These days, Retro has become the Czech home of hard house. Their free Friday and Saturday club nights are full to the rafters until the small hours. Go-go dancers whip the energetic clubbers into a house driven frenzy. A very friendly atmosphere with smiling faces and sweating brows as far as the eye can see. Dress code is free and easy, flamboyant if you’re feeling daring! Drinks are set at standard prices; expect to wait a while due to the sheer number of clubbers. The toilets are ok, although cleanliness deteriorates the later you visit.
Key words: Party, cheap, free during the weekends, fun until late
SaSaZu (Bubenské nábřeží 306, Prague 7)
The Holešovice super-club has a feel of decadence as soon as you enter. SaSaZu hosts a number of events ranging in genre. You are likely to find a more discerning (or at least higher spending) clientele here. With 5,000 sq metres of space to cater for up to 2000 revelers, it has the setting for the perfect club night. It’s also set up for traditional live shows: Tiesto, Paul Van Dyk, Erick Morillo , Kosheen, Morcheeba, Billy Idol, Macy Gray, Lilly Allen & Public Enemy have all taken centre stage since the club’s opening 2 years ago. V.I.P. access can be purchased with a choice of two galleries, each with its own bar and facilities for 150 guests overlooking the dance-floor and stage. Toilets are clean and pleasant. Door staff are silent and bar staff are usually quick and friendly. There’s even a restaurant within the building serving fine (expensive) Asian food. A far cry from the Doner kebab post-club dining many are used to.
Key words: Super-club, nice interior, pricey drinks
It was difficult to cover all the 400+ capacity clubs in the city. I tried to provide a brief overview of the different nightclubs on offer in the city offering something for everyone. Other venues worth checking are Club Matrix (Koněvova 13 Prague 3) for the drum & bass fans, a rugged yet friendly party atmosphere with a good sound system and Rock Café (Národní 20, Prague 1). A hot and sweaty indie venue located in the centre of the city. It houses a great sound system and set up for live bands. This article is just an overview. If you have any tips or thoughts feel free to add them to comments. Happy clubbing!