Coffee houses in the Best of Czech Tradition
Coffee lovers can satisfy their craving in one of the many coffee houses dotted all over Prague. Coffee is immensely popular and the Czechs claim their coffee is the best, even under Communism when beans were shipped from Cuba. Coffee houses have always been meeting places for politicians, artists and dissidents. In Communist days they were under close surveillance of the Secret Police.
In the old days coffee houses were meeting place for politically engaged students, writers and artists. Follow in the footsteps of Franz Kafka, Albert Einstein and Václav Havel.
4x Coffee Houses in the Best of Czech Tradition
1. Café Savoy, Vítězná 5, Nove Mesto, Prague
Savour your Viennese coffee surrounded by Art Nouveau splendour and take a seat on the balcony overlooking the main floor for a closer view of the period details and chandeliers.
Nestled in a nineteenth-century building close to the Vltava River and Kampa Island, Café Savoy started life as an imitation of a Viennese coffeehouse. The café became a popular meeting place for dissidents after the Velvet Revolution in 1989. In 1992, the Savoy was lovingly restored to its original design, an elegant mix of wood and marble. Even if you don’t like coffee, pop in to admire the dramatic hand-painted ceiling. Café Savoy promises a charming stop for a morning coffee or afternoon tea. Sample Savoy Café au Lait, espresso with milk chocolate and cinnamon, or Algerian coffee, espresso with egg liqueur and whipped cream. This is also the perfect place for a gourmet lunch or a glass of red away from the crowd in the Old Town.
Opening hours: Monday to Friday 08.00-22.30, Saturday and Sunday 09.00-22.30
2. Kavárna Obecní dům, náměstí Republiky 5, Nove Mesto, Prague
Step back in time and sip your coffee in opulent Art Nouveau elegance of the café in Obecni Dum, the Municipal House.
Kavárna Obecní dům, sparkles with early twentieth century splendour. In summer, tables spill out onto the pavement, but if you wish to appreciate the opulence of Art Nouveau interior decoration, you’d better sit inside. Choose tooth-jangling pastries from the cake trolley. Select cheesecake with strawberries, walnut cake with whipped cream, raspberry temptation or Schwartzwalder cherry cake for all far too tempting. Do a bit of shopping in nearby Na Prikope street and return at lunchtime for the two-course tourist menu. Be sure to taste palacinky, French style crepes oozing with ice-cream and mounds of fresh fruit.
Opening hours: daily 08.00-22.00
3. Café Imperial, Na Porici 15, Nove Mesto, Prague
It is impossible to ignore the pastry counter laden with scrumptious honey cakes, apple strudel, cheesecakes and cherry pies. Be sure to savour one decorated with sugary letters saying ‘Imperial’. Sit back and drink coffee in beautiful Art Deco surroundings.
As if time stood still, that is what you experience when you enter Café Imperial. Hundreds of ceramic tiles with bas reliefs of birds, flowers and mystic figures give the café an oriental feel. Franz Kafka and many other famous pre-war Prague citizens were frequent guests. When German soldiers began to have their meals here, Czechs stopped coming. After the war, the café became neglected but was restored to its former glory after a complete make-over in 2005-2007. The coffee is excellent, the cakes are delectable. Try one of the specials: Karlsbad coffee – espresso, Becherovka, cinnamon and whipped cream or hot chocolate Imperial with gingerbread and whipped cream.
Opening hours: daily 07.00-23.00
4. Kavarna Slavia, Smetanovo nábřeží 2, Nove Mesto, Prague
Coffee with a view of the Vltava River and the National Theater in Art Deco surroundings. Kavarna Slavia was once the meeting place of intellectuals, including former president Vaclav Havel, and now the haunt of locals and tourists alike. Whether you come for a morning coffee or a pre-theater drink, ask for a table with a view.
Kavarna Slavia is undoubtedly one of the most famous cafés in Prague. This was the meeting place of Czech Avant-Garde in the early twentieth century and of dissidents during the Communist regime. Café Slavia is located right across from the National Theatre and the perfect spot for a pre or after drink. In the morning is the favourite spot of coffee lovers. Be sure to taste Vídenská kava, strong coffee topped with whipped cream. Eat it with Sachertorte or crispy apple strudel and you can skip lunch.
Opening hours: daily 10.00-22.00