A favorite among the late-night set, Prague club Chapeau Rouge will celebrate its 100th anniversary, tomorrow, September 19th, with performances from Tata Bojs, Mucha, and I Love You Honey, cocktail specials, and plenty of historical-themed fanfare. Admission is free.
On the occasion of the club’s centennial, it’s worth looking back at the history of the current site of the current Classicist-Art Nouveau building and its predecessors at no. 647 Štupartská street. The first development on the site was thought to have been a monastery in 1282; by 1333 King John of Luxembourg and his wife, Elisabeth, inhabited the dwelling, as did Charles IV during his first reign.
The building that became known as U Štupartů, extending from Jakubská to Celetná streets, was first associated with debauched activity — and rebellious late-night souls — in the early 17th century. During a period of abandonment witnesses say the desolate building became haunted by noisy evil spirits. Legend has it the devil operated a tavern there and kept a dragon in the attic.
František Štupart inherited the Devil’s Tavern which began functioning in 1703, but his tenure as innkeeper was plagued by a lengthy property dispute, in which he was called upon to prove that the establishment had historically been a pub. The era would see the first recorded mention of the “red hat” that would become associated with the building.
Štupart’s testimony referenced a painting in the house depicting drinking and feasting devils — while several eye witnesses even claimed to have seen a devil hurl a red cap from the tavern at the church of St. Jacob across the street. That event would eventually be commemorated with a sign depicting a hat painted onto the wall of the building.
As the space changed hands it underwent multiple renovations until its eventual demolition in 1911.
The history of today’s Chapeau Rouge begin in 1919 when it opened as a prominent First Republic music club famous for its clientele who even then partied until sun up. Czech orchestra the Melody Makers played there in 1929 and in the beginning of World War II the building was taken over by the occupying army and established a hostel for pilots.
Chapeau Rouge was reopened in 1994 with subsequent major renovations in 2003, 2007, and 2011. Today it boasts three bars and four stages spread over three floors.
For the full line-up of scheduled performers and events, visit the Facebook page for the event. To read more about the history of the Chapeau Rouge (in Czech) see here.