An American, Australian, Canadian and Englishman walk into a bar in Prague and it was non-smoking. No joke. The bar was Baračnická Rychta (Tržiště 23, Malá Strana, Prague 1), up and around the corner from the US embassy. The bar had a good range of food and Svijany and Pilsner on tap all in a traditional Czech pub setting minus, of course, the tobacco haze.
The real joke is the new smoking laws for pubs and restaurants that went into effect July 1, 2010. These regulations only require pubs to have to show whether they are smoking, non-smoking or both. A walk around Prague pubs will reveal that most establishments display the KOUŘENÍ POVOLENO (Smoking Permitted) sticker, with the yellow triangle and a picture of a lit cigarette within. A smaller number have both a non-smoking and smoking area and an even smaller number are completely non-smoking.
The list below, while not exhaustive, shows some of the non-smoking or virtually non-smoking establishments in Prague’s districts.
La Casa Blu (Kozí 15, Old Town, Prague 1) is famous as an expat haunt. Along with its wide range of Mexican dishes it offers a variety of Chilean wines and has Pilsner and Staropramen on tap.
Bistro Quido (Mariánské náměstí 1, Old Town, Prague 1) is located at the main branch of the municipal library. Apart from grabbing a Gambrinus they serve quite cheap meals.
U zlatých nůžek (Na kampě 6, Kampa, Prague 1) gives you a chance to take in some history with your Krušovice. Despite being off Charles Bridge, the square is not so crowded – at least not comparatively.
Potrefená Husa (Hlavní nádraží, Prague 1) allows you to enjoy a Staropramen, Stella or other associated brew while waiting for a train. They also serve meals from bar snacks to main dishes.
The Monastery Restaurant at The Augustine (Letenská 12/33, Praha 1) was awarded as EURO´s Top 50 restaurants in Prague in 2009. Their menu is changed to the seasons and they offer also a Brewery Bar.
In V Zátiší (Liliová 1, Prague 1) they serve the main dish with two sauces. They call it „double pleasure“ concept. The restaurant doubles as an art gallery – paintings by leading Czech artists are on display and can be purchased
Zlatá Praha (Pařížská 30, Praha 1) offers free food for children under four and 50% discount for children aged between 5 and 12. For adults they have a good selection of beer including Pilsner, Stella and Krušovice.
Belushi’s Bar & Restaurant (Odborů 4, Prague 2), a newly opened sports bar & restaurant at Karlovo náměstí, is entirely non-smoking indoors. Smoking is allowed at the outdoor terrace.
U klíčů (Náměstí Míru 4, Vinohrady, Prague 2) looks like a juice bar, but they have Pilsner, along with wines, cocktails and, well, juice. The interior is non-smoking.
Al Cafetero (Blanická 24, Vinohrady, Prague 2) is a tasteful cafe at the base of an apartment block. Purists may scoff that they don’t have draught beer. However, the bottled Pardubický Porter is worth a visit.
Mlsnej Kocour (Belgická 42, Vinohrady, Prague 2) has a non-smoking restaurant with the smoking bar tucked around the side. They have Pilsner from a tank and a wide range of food, not to mention quite a spacious dining area. Used to be Cheers.
Restaurace Pod Slavínem (Svobodova 4, Vyšehrad, Prague 2) is a great low-key place not far from the train tracks. They have Budvar 10 and 12, light and dark as well as Pilsner. The place would almost be ideal if it weren’t for the fact that while smoking is prohibited inside, it is still allowed by the bar.
U dobré myšlenky (Podskalská 27, Nové Město, Prague 2) is a quiet restaurant a block away from the river. Their non-smoking section is a separate room, though it’s not the one with the bar. They have Pilsner, Staropramen, Hoegaarden and Granát.
Big Lebowski (Slavíkova 16, Žižkov, Prague 3) is a friendly bar beside and above a newsagents. They have dark and light Rohozec on tap or bottled Pilsner. And, yes, they serve White Russians.
Merenda (Husitská 74, Žižkov, Prague 3) is divided into a ground level non-smoking restaurant with a cellar smoking bar. They offer a variety of beers, usually from the lesser known breweries. Check the ‘pivní kalnedář on the website to see what they’re pouring.
Magická Zahrada (Nuselská 114, Michle, Prague 4) has designated its winter garden as non-smoking. The menu is quite extensive and the mood here seems to be one for more serious dining than knocking back a Pilsner.
Kolkovna (Budějovická 13a, Michle, Prague 4) might have a shiny new exterior but its inside is old world – high wooden stools, turn-of- the-century decor and ceramic beer mats. The food is traditional Czech with a twist. Or you can enjoy a Pilsner, Kozel dark, non-alcoholic Birrel or Master – all on tap. Apart from Master, the beers also come in liter glasses.
U čerta (Zubatého 6, Smíchov, Prague 5) shows that you can keep the air clean without sacrificing atmosphere. Another great little local with Svijany on tap as well as a range of barrel wines.
Lokal Blok (náměstí 14. října, Smíchov, Prague 5) is all non-smoking except the designated smoking room. On tap they have Pilsner, Kozel and Gambrinus, the latter from a tank. Before sitting down to a drink though, try out the climbing wall located next door.
So with this list you, and our four friends mentioned above, can find somewhere to drink without bringing that distinctive pub smell home. We might not be doing much for your liver, but at least we’re saving your lungs.
If you have any other tips for non-smoking pubs in Prague, please share!