There are plenty of places to go for a night-time boogie or to catch a performance by your favourite musician, band or DJ. Prague is currently enjoying a rise in pop-up venues in unlikely spaces and locations. That’s all well & good, but what about the longstanding, fixed venues? I took a tour of the city’s favoured spots. The opinions expressed in this article are simply my own views gathered over time as a punter and a performer.
ROXY (Dlouhá 33, Prague 1)
One of the oldest and most respected venues in the city has had a face-lift since and slight interior rearrangement fairly recently. These changes have improved the popular tourist destination. The venue’s booming sound-system has welcomed a number of high profile bands, DJs and musicians over the years as the multi-genre program attracts both locals and tourists alike. The large main arena houses a large centrally located bar where you’ll probably find long waits for drinks during sold-out events. Draught beers, wines and spirits offered at reasonable central prices. The venues Tardis-like layout means inquisitive clubbers might stumble across the cavernous chill-out bar where a small well-stocked cocktail bar usually with a suitably “chilled” DJ await. A truly mixed bag of party-people enjoying the generally up-beat vibes in one of the city’s long-serving haunts.
Key Words: New look, mixed audience, sound-system, free Monday
CHAPEAU ROUGE (Jakubská 647, Prague 1)
The aging Jakubská building holds an impressive three floors, four bars and 3 stages making Chapeau Rouge the one of the most interesting venues for larger events which you can find split over the three floors. Be sure to check their regularly updated website to see what’s on and on which floor. Their recently renovated basement often offers interesting DJs and or bands. Chapeau’s program is an eclectic combination of genres where the mixing of styles is encouraged and enjoyed. You should expect to part with cash to gain entry to certain club nights Chapeau host. On these occasions, the price of entry is usually clearly displayed on the venue’s Malá Štupartská entrance. Chapeau’s central location (nearest metro: Náměstí Republiky (Line-B)) makes it a slightly more troublesome location than some of the other venues included in this article. I’d advise keeping a close eye on your possessions to avoid “losing” them in the usually bustling venue. For the most part you’ll find a happy mix people out for a good time most nights of the week. All bars are well-stocked with efficient and speedy, English-speaking bar staff. Be warned that Chapeau features on a number of the city’s pub crawl routes, so be prepared for large groups of thirsty “crawlers” hastily filling the bars and then leaving just as swiftly!
Key Words: Late night, bar, eclectic, live music, reliable website
CROSS CLUB (Plynární 1096/23, Prague 7)
The visually astonishing Cross Club has been the venue of choice for Prague’s electronica fans. The club has welcomed and wowed DJs from around the world with its impressively trippy interior and superior sound system. A venue well worth visiting for the interior alone. The club’s exterior greets with complex combinations of wrought iron sculptures shaped into seating suitable for groups or those wanting a breath of fresh air. The competitive clubbers will be happy to find foosball tables both inside and outside the venue. Cross Club is a deep Labyrinth that has left me searching for my companions on many occasions, the sizable venue attracts younger audiences and thrill seekers but older ravers don’t look out place. Beers, ciders and spirits at regular prices with food served until late from the ground floor take-away bar or from the upper level’s Cross café serving daily 2:00PM – 11:00PM (00:00 during the weekends). A venue that knows no limits and regularly sees parties going on well into the following morning. With that said, some care should be taken as the club’s late night policy can attract questionable individuals.
Key Words: Must-see interior, good sound system, late night munchies
LUCERNA MUSIC BAR (Vodičkova 36 Prague 1)
Another venue that has attracted both big names and big crowds over the years. Lucerna’s a spacious yet intimate sized venue, which often gives the punter the rare opportunity to be touching distance from their idolized performer. On sold-out nights the club’s atmosphere is electric, if a little hot and sweaty. With two bars on both the upper and lower floors queuing for drinks is rarely a problem. There is only one main room in this centrally located club (closest metro Mustek -yellow line exit) so be prepared to party in one space with no alternative or chill-out space. Saturday nights have become somewhat of a pilgrimage for select locals and many tourists who revel in the ’80s jams pumped out with accompanying visuals. A great place to catch rare intimate performances or party like it’s 1980!
Key words: good size, ’80s party, regularly updated website
MEETFACTORY (Ke Sklárně 15, Prague 5)
This cool and trendy space has been steadily providing interesting and progressive events and exhibits, these days curated by Karina Pfeiffer Kottová, for the city’s inhabitants since it opened its doors back in 2001. The first venue to provide solace for Prague’s bohemians with a program that often has me rubbing my hands together in anticipation. The industrial and rugged interior, with a ample space for bands, DJs and more often than not art installations and or exhibitions. The Meet Factory under the watchful eye of its founder artist & sculptor David Černý, is a simply interesting venue. Expect ice-cold, scenester types hob-nobbing with Prague’s wild & wonderful creatives. Many feel that the venue’s Smíchov location is too far out of the centre to have an enjoyable evening. Don’t believe the hype. It’s not far at all (trams 12, 20, or 14 to the stop Lihovar). I recommend gathering some mates and heading down to the industrial party spot!
Key words: Progressive, industrial, varied, regularly updated website
AKROPOLIS (Kubelíkova 1548/27, 130 00 Praha 3)
Akropolis is more of a live venue than a night club, its impressive two-tiered main room is the perfect size for live shows. The non-smoking main room has an elevated stage with excellent lighting and sound-system. Akro’s residential location however, means that all live shows finish at 22.00 on the dot. This is when the venue’s two bar areas come into their own, with vibrant and energetic parties merriment continuing late into the night. Expect diverse sounds from the small DJ booths, with genres often mingling together on the same night, resulting in an up-beat party atmosphere on the small well-attended dance-floor. Hip hop, balkan beats, reggae vibes, dub step and all in between await! There’s a plentiful bar with friendly staff serving drinks at regular prices.
Key words: Non-smoking main room, early finish, small bars, mini dance floors
STORM CLUB (Tachovské náměstí 290/5, 130 00)
Long term Prague residents might know Storm Club by it’s previous moniker; Matrix. The Prague 3 venue received a name change and “renovation” but its soul, spirit and target audience remained pretty much unchanged. The spacious yet dated interior lends itself to live shows and DJ based events. The venue has plenty of seating which is usually occupied by inebriated youths who’ve fallen victim to one too many smuggled drinks. The venue tends to have drum & bass, grime or rock events so if your looking for some thrashing sounds or warbling bass then this is your place. Relatively cheap drinks and good vibes from this non-central night club.
Key words: dated interior, young crowd, drum & bass, grime, rock
KARLOVY LÁZNĚ (Smetanovo nábřeží 198, Prague 1)
The same burly bouncers, the same sticky floors with bog-standard DJs or playlists playing the same soulless pop music as wide-eyed punters shuffle around drinking over-priced drinks. Apparently this combination of traditionally negative qualities ticks all the right boxes as Lázně’s generally busy. The venue has experienced a slight face-lift (renovated toilets and a lick of paint here and there). A sticky tourist trap spanning 5 floors with the Ice bar in the basement.
Key words: 5 floors. tourists, pricey
RETRO MUSIC HALL (Francouzská 75/4, 120 00 Praha 2)
The jewel of Namesti Miru, Retro bangs out house jams to an absolutely packed dance-floor. locals
Weekend warriors grip their glow sticks and throw shapes late into the night. Expect podium dancers and fist pumping DJs adding to that Ministry of Sound vibe. The two tiered venue boasts a number of bars where you’ll find well-stocked shelves and friendly mixologists. A great place for groups or those out on solo missions. No nonsense bouncers keep the peace using no nonsense policies. Hard house fans will enjoy both the sounds and atmosphere.
Key words: House music, live DJ, clubbers, locals
SASAZU (Bubenské nábřeží 306, Prague 7)
The super-club in the unlikely Holešovické tržnice location. SaSaZu has a glowing reputation for its culinary delights but its clubbing capabilities shouldn’t be over-looked. The venue’s sleek interior hosts revelers late into the night as DJ and live acts pump out the latest dance anthems. A perfect location for those wanting a posh clubbing experience.
Key words: luxury, super-club, sound system
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