Summer in Prague means spending a lot of time outdoors – unless you’re lucky enough to have air-conditioning. But making the most of the warmer months is part of the city’s appeal, and there are countless beer gardens and restaurant terraces that are perfect to while away a long afternoon or evening regardless of the sweltering heat. Many of these places are well-known, but here’s a list of places that are either relatively new to the scene or have been flying under the radar for some time.
For a drink with an unbeatable view over the roofs of Old Town, T-Anker pretty much takes the cake. And it’s not just any drinks served at this sprawling wood-beamed terrace on top of the Kotva shopping center on namesti Republiky – T-Anker proudly pours a rotating selection of nine beers on tap (mostly Czech brews but also several Belgian ones) and a whopping 100 bottled beers. For food, there’s an outdoor grill nightly after 5 p.m., and the garden is mostly nonsmoking.
The popular farmers’ market along the Naplavka riverbank is one of the highlights of summer – indeed, anything going on along this stretch by the Vltava is worth checking out in nice weather. There’s always been a shortage of seating, though, and now with the June opening of Farmářská loď Petra, there’s both more seating and the chance to sample farmers‘ market foods daily, accompanied by live music every night. The converted tug boat has grilled meats and sausages from Biofarma Medito, burgers courtesy of Crush Street Food and a variety of Balkan and Slovenian dishes to enjoy out of doors. Beers from the breweries Bakalář and Kounice are on tap, and Moravian wines and bio soft drinks are available.
This newcomer on the fine-dining scene has an envious location up by the Troja vineyards, with views over the city, the Vltava and the grape vines. Indeed, the restaurant, which opened in May, also has its own vineyard and winery, and is one of the few places in Prague that grows and produces its own wine. Head chef Pavel Veltrusky formerly worked at the Alcron, Marriot, Le Gare and Les Moules, and has put together a menu of French and Mediterranean cuisine at Salabka.
While this laid-back Prague 7 Italian joint has been around for some time, its renown has only just started to spread beyond its fiercely loyal local customers. In addition to top-notch, creative Italian fare and seafood, Peperoncino has a large garden out back in the courtyard, sheltered by the surrounding backs of apartment buildings and comprising tables spread out on the grass, with candlelight come evening.
A new Italian restaurant that has become a fast favorite is Italo in Vinohrady, taking over the space formerly occupied by Pepe Nero and Gusto before that. Already making a name for itself for its crisp and sweet-sauced Neopolitan-style pizzas, Italo also has the large garden out back that has drawn people to this spot for years. Lots of trees and well-spaced tables make for a pleasant meal just steps from Riegrovy sady park.
There are few places where one can forget the Vltava is a river and not a lake or sea, but at Podolka – a little restaurant with a wooden porch adjoining the yacht club next door – it’s almost possible to imagine. It’s worth getting here early to snag one of the few tables outside, order some fresh snacks like hummus or grilled meats, and watch the yachts and the lazy river go by. It’s also conveniently located just off the bike path that runs south along the river so makes for a refreshing pitstop. There’s also a second outlet in the suburb of Zbraslav that opened recently, at the Zbraslav Pivovar.
While Pruhonice isn’t technically Prague, this expat-heavy suburb is an easy 15-minute bus ride from the Opatov metro station on the red line, and is ideal for a daytrip. As well as boasting a beautiful chateau and vast English-style botantical gardens, the town also has its own brewery and a number of recommendable restaurants, including Babiccina zahrada, which opened a year ago. Run by the chef behind La Veranda, the theme is throwback country-style Czech cooking, with a lovely farmhouse interior and a large garden with private gazebos and an abundance of flowers and vegetable plants, and an outdoor bar for events.
The regeneration of the Holesovice district got a big boost by the reconstruction of Pivovar Marina, a former factory space overlooking the river given new life as an onsite brewery and two restaurants, Czech and Italian. The outside of the brewery features a large beer garden with many tables, and it’s easy to lose track of time sipping on the drinkable house lager. The food can be somewhat hit-or-miss.
Tucked away in one of Vinohrady’s nicest parks, Havlickovy sady, the Grebovka chateau has a lovely cafe attached to it that is popular for events and weddings. There’s an Art Deco feel to the whole place, and the courtyard garden is green and pretty with white wrought-iron tables. The recently renovated historic pavillion is a pleasant backdrop to enjoying grilled meats and paninis or sweet treats like waffles with various toppings and ice-cream sundaes.
This pop-up bare-bones beer garden is ultra-cool and new this summer, built out of a shipping container in a parking lot behind a building in Mala Strana. It’s right on the river, though, and manages to escape the area’s hordes and have a hip, local vibe. Deck chairs (some of them love seats) line up for views over the Vltava, and pints of Rychtar go down easily with the indie tunes blasting from within. At less than 30 CZK a half-liter, it’s also one of the cheapest places for a beer outdoors in the heart of tourist town.
Picnics in the park
If a picnic in the park is what you’re after but you’d still like the ease of ordering from a restaurant, there are several options to laze in the sun (or shade) of Riegrovy sady. One is Bisos, which for CZK 950 CZK prepares ready-made picnic baskets for two, which include 10 fruit or dessert tapas and a selection of cold meats and cheeses, as well as a bottle of still or sparkling water and either a bottle of wine of your choice or two Italian Birra Lara beers. Orders must be made at least two hours in advance; call 608 550 970 or write to email@example.com to book.
Another option is The Tavern, also located close to Riegrovy sady. The American-style burger joint, which has consistently ranked among the city’s top restaurants for burgers, offers picnic blankets for free with any order from the menu, and orders are then given in takeaway bags to enjoy on the grass in the park. If there’s a wait for the food due to the restaurant being busy, you can always order one of The Tavern’s signature cocktails to sip on while you wait.
What are your preferred Prague terraces and outdoor tables?