The word ‘hipster’ gets thrown around a lot these days. Nobody is really sure what it means, but when applied to neighborhoods we can risk a rough definition: fashionable and cool places, mainly appealing to young people, with a big focus on edgy bars, cafes, and shops.
Prague has always been a cool city in the cultural sense, attracting old-school hipster types such as Franz Kafka and others, who have flocked to the ancient city to take inspiration from the breath-taking architecture and Bohemian (in both senses of the word) vibe.
Today, Prague retains its artsy, hip image, and draws like-minded people from across the globe. One result of this is an impressive collection of cool neighborhoods and districts, filled with all the necessary ingredients for a hipster paradise.
And they’re pretty impressive. Plus, you don’t have to be impeccably dressed in Doc Martens and a beany hat; these places have a lot to offer anyone who appreciates gritty all-night bars, unique coffee shops, and crazy street parties. The hippest districts in Prague are definitely Karlín, Vinohrady, Letná, and Holešovice. Let’s check out some of their best…
Karlín is one of my favorite places in Prague. It’s situated about twenty minutes’ walking distance outside of the center and can be accessed fairly easily by metro (go to Florenc or Křižíkova) and tram. Karlín is also home to regular events and festivals, such as the United Islands of Karlín festival which took place recently. This post contains some cool examples of the activity and excitement that consumes the neighborhood on a regular basis.
When Prague flooded back in 2002, Karlín took a pretty big hit due to its low-lying location on the banks of the Vltava River. However, thanks to a concerted effort by the city of Prague and local residents, it has since risen from the ashes as one of the most modern and promising areas in the city.
Part of this renovation included a springing-up of many new cafes and bars, which appeal to the youth of the city and those with a taste for the cooler things in life. A stroll through the district will reveal to you a seemingly endless procession of these neat little hangouts, but I’ll run you through some of the more notable ones:
1. Poutine GarageBISTRO Poutine is a Canadian delicacy consisting of fries, cheese, and various kinds of meat in a mouth-watering sauce. Garage, located on the street Křižíkova, serves extremely generously-sized portions of this in boxes at very reasonable prices, allowing visitors to experience a taste of Canada in the streets of Prague.
- Address: Krizikova 134/58, 18600 Prague 8 – Karlin
- Opening hours: Monday to Friday 11:00 – 14:00; 16:30 – 19:30
- Bookings: +420 608 892 476
2. mamacoffeeCAFE BISTRO A stone’s throw away from the Křižíkova metro station, Mama Coffee serves an awesome range of hot drinks, cold drinks, and snacks. It’s laid-back, the hip atmosphere makes it the perfect place to spend an hour or two, and it’s also pretty affordable.
- Address: Sokolovska 6/85, 18600 Prague 8 – Karlin
- Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8:00 – 21:00; Saturday to Sunday 10:00 – 18:00
- Bookings: +420 775 568 647
3. Pivovarský KlubBEER PUB CZECH CUISINE Close to the Florenc metro station, Pivovarský Klub offers a wide selection of craft beers from all over the country. You can partake in a variety of different types, and even purchase bottles to take home. There’s also a range of meals on offer, and the chance to hang out in a relaxed and friendly environment.
- Address: Krizikova 272/17, 18600 Prague 8 – Karlin
- Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 11:30 – 23:30
- Bookings: +420 222 315 777
Vinohrady is close to Prague’s city center and combines old gothic architecture with modern restaurants and nightlife. It covers a wide area, and different parts of it can be reached from the metro stations I. P. Pavlova, Muzeum, Náměstí Míru, and Jiřího z Poděbrad. There are also plenty of tram and bus links.
It’s a popular area with expats, many of whom live here, but it also attracts a lot of locals. Vinohrady is too large and all-encompassing to be considered solely a ‘hipster’ district, but it’s packed with stylish bars and restaurants.
Much of what Vinohrady has to offer costs nothing at all, such as Riegrovy Sady Park and JZP square (Namesti Jiriho z Podebrad). If you really want to immerse yourself in the trendy atmosphere part of the city, however, here are some establishments to check out:
4. Vinohradský PivovarBEER PUB CZECH COUSINE This modern and up-market venue consists of a brewery with an on-site bar and restaurant (or maybe it’s the other way around…). Visitors of Vinohradský pivovar can enjoy a home-brewed beer at friendly prices, in a welcoming and spacious environment. Regular events such as improv comedy performances take place here often and are relatively cheap to attend.
- Address: Korunni 2506/106, 10100 Prague 10 – Vinohrady
- Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 11:00 – 24:00
- Bookings: +420 222 760 080
5. Thrift ShopsSHOPPING If you enjoy expanding your wardrobe at minimal expense, you’ll be familiar with the concept of the thrift shop. These places – stocking second-hand clothes at low prices – aren’t too common in Prague, but the place to look is Vinohrady.
6. Soma BarBEER PUB If you’re looking for a bar with a cool vibe, a GREAT soundtrack, and a wide range of extremely reasonably priced beer, then you need look no further than Vinohrady’s very own Soma Bar. Be sure to make it there in time for the happy hour between 5 and 6 PM, when drinks are significantly cheaper than normal.
- Address: Budecska 851/28, 12000 Prague 2 – Vinohrady
- Opening hours: Monday to Friday 17:00 – 2:00; Saturday to Sunday 19:00 – 2:00
- Bookings: +420 720 659 586
Holešovice & Letná Districts
And this reputation is well deserved. Holešovice is home to a culture of art, creativity, and urban cool reflected in the wealth of awesome things to do here.
7. Cross ClubNIGHT CLUB Whether or not Cross Club can be described as a ‘hipster’ joint is perhaps debatable. But that’s only because Cross Club evades all attempts at labeling or description. It’s a bizarre, insane, utterly unique venue that plays host to some of the biggest names in the Drum and Bass, Techno and House genres, along with many more. If you’re even slightly into underground music (or crazy architecture, or unforgettable nights out) it simply can’t be missed.
- Address: Plynarni 1096/23, 17000 Prague 7 – Holešovice
- Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 18:00 – 5:00
- Bookings: Not available (and needed)
8. Letna Park and Beer GardenPARK BEER GARDEN Perched on the edge of a steep hill overlooking the Vltava River, Letna Park is a magnet for young, fashionable Praguers and expats. When the weather starts to brighten up, Letna park and beer garden rapidly fill with people looking to enjoy a cold beer with an impressive view.
- Address: 17000 Prague 7 – Letna
- Opening hours: Monday to Sunday 11:00 – 23:00; park is open to public non-stop
- Bookings: Not available (and needed)
9. Bio OkoCINEMA As hipster hotspots go, it’s tough to beat Bio Oko. This small, independent cinema, located on the Františka Křižka Street, is a popular haunt of film buffs, art students, and anyone with an interest in culture and cinema. Films are reasonably priced at around 120 CZK (definitely beats the IMAX) and are usually in either Czech or English (with relevant subtitles).
- Address: Frantiska Krizka 460/15, 17000 Prague 7 – Letna
- Opening hours: Monday to Friday 10:00 – 1:00; Saturday to Sunday 11:00 – 1:00
- Bookings and tickets: +420 608 330 088
10. Bar CobraBAR Located in the heart of Holesovice, Bar Cobra offers a great selection of cocktails, beers, and simple yet delicious food. It used to be a dirty casino, but new owners decided to remake it completely and give the place some vibe. It’s a very friendly place where you are welcome to work or bring your dog (or cat, or tiger).
- Address: Milady Horákove 688/8, 170 00 Prague 7 – Holesovice
- Opening hours: Monday to Friday 8:00 – 2:00; Saturday 10:00 – 2:00; Sunday 10:00 – 24:00
- Bookings: +420 778 470 515
11. Art and Food ZOOnaFOOD MARKET Not located directly in Holešovice, but next to it in Troja. Art and Food ZOOna is festival of street food, art, and drinks. It takes place every weekend in the areal of former Trojsky brewery next to Prague ZOO. It’s famous for crazy waffles and Asian cuisine. Best way to get there is from Stromovka Park by foot. There is no entrance fee.
- Address: U Trojskeho zamku 4/1, 17100 Prague 7 – Troja
- Opening hour: Every weekend from April 2018
- Bookings: +420 602 641 927
Of course, there are many other places in Prague that will appeal to your inner cool kid – these are just a select few. So dig out your finest checked shirt, squeeze into those skinny jeans, and get exploring.