After what has been a frustratingly cold and rainy start to the spring season in Prague, there is finally warmth and sunshine on the horizon. It seems like next weekend could be the first “sitting outside drinking beer in a T-shirt” weekend, which for me at least, is a massively significant date in the Prague calendar. The Czech Republic is famous for its top quality beer and Prague is of course one of the most beautiful cities in the world, so relaxing in the sunshine with a glass of cold beer whilst enjoying views out over the city seems like the best way to take maximum advantage of these things. The good news is that Prague is home to many fantastic venues for outdoor beer drinking. Here’s a few of the best:
Letna Park: Main Beer Garden
Overall: I may be a little biased on this on, as I spent many years living in this neighbourhood and Letna Beer garden was very much my go to summer hangout. However, I think that this beer garden is just a leafy green paradise. The views are of course sensational and at this time of year, the park is really coming into its own, with tulips spouting from the flower beds, birds singing over head and the leaves unfolding on the trees. It’s certainly one of Prague’s more peaceful and tranquil beer drinking locations.
Atmosphere: The fact that Letna Park is on the other side of the river makes it somewhat removed from Prague’s touristy centre. This means that although the beer garden can get pretty full in the evenings, it’s a little calmer here and although it’s steadily becoming more popular with tourists, it’s generally free from the excessively drunk and irritatingly loud breed of tourist.
Views: The big pull here is of course the views out over Prague, they are just phenomenal and after nearly 6 years of living in the city, I still feel a little tingle every time I come here.
How to get here: You have 2 options. If you’re happy with a bit of a vigorous uphill climb, you can take a 5 minute walk up the hillside from Cechuv Most tram stop (trams 15 or 17). Alternatively, you can take the tram to Letenske Namesti (trams 12, 1, 25, 8, 26). From here, Letna Park is a flat 5 minute walk away
Letna Park: Stalin
Overall: Stalin is a bit of a new kid on the black in terms of Prague beer gardens but it boasts an absolute killer location. It’s based right at the foot of the Metronome and as much as I hate to use the word “cool”, Stalin is just a super “cool” spring hangout. The giant, functional metronome, which looks out over Prague is really impressive to see close up. There’s actually something a little eerie about the way it creaks slightly as it swings backwards and forwards. Stalin isn’t quite as green and leafy as the main Letna Beer Garden. It’s actually a bit of a concrete paradise, which is popular with skateboarders. There aren’t a massive amount of tables, but who needs them when you can grab a sun lounger or simply take a seat on the wall of the Metronome to really take in the views?
Atmosphere: Stalin boasts a really special and unique atmosphere thanks to the grand and imposing presence of the Metronome. It is generally popular with a younger crowd and there are often live DJ parties here at night and from time to time, the base of the metronome is opened up for a really special underground rave. See their website for more details about up and coming events.
Views: Its position high up on the hillside means that this is another spot where you are guaranteed absolutely spectacular views. Just like the main Letna Beer Garden, it’s really heart stopping stuff.
How to get here: Again, if you don’t have a problem with hills, take a 5 minute walk up the concrete steps from Cechuv Most tram stop (trams 15, 17). Alternatively, you can take a more level 10 minute walk from Chotkovy Sady tram stop (trams 2, 18, 12).
Overall: Riegrovy Sady is a park in Prague’s Vinohrady district and its beer garden really popular with expats living in the city. Riegrovy Sady has a really good range of beer available and also a lot of food and snacks. One of its big draws is also that it has a large outdoor screen, which is generally used for showing live sports events. Since the ice-hockey world cup has just kicked off, Riegrovy Sady is bound to be a really popular spot for ice-hockey fans. The Czechs just love ice-hockey, so the atmosphere here is going to be electric if the Czech team does well. The screen is also used to show films on summer evenings.
Atmosphere: The atmosphere here is generally pretty lively during warm summer evenings, especially when there’s a game on the big screen.
Views: Riegrovy Sady is a beautiful hillside park, with some great views. Unfortunately the beer garden is fenced off, so much of the potential for views is lost. Sometimes this beer garden can feel a little claustrophobic, particularly when it’s full of people.
How to get here: The closest Metro station is Jiriho z Podebrad (A Line), from here the park is a 10 minute walk away. You can also take trams 11 or 13 to the same stop.
Overall: Naplavka is just a great place to spend a warm, sunny afternoon. This stretch of riverside has become massively popular over the past few years and as a result, more and more boats and stands have sprung up offering a wide range of drinks and refreshments. Many stalls have small seating areas, or you can just grab a beer to go and wander along the riverside. Alternatively, you can pull up a chair on the deck of one of the many boats which are moored up here.
Atmosphere: There is a real party atmosphere along this stretch of river bank and things are going to get more and more lively as the days get warmer and sunnier. Naplavka is popular with tourists, locals, expats and students and as you walk along the river’s edge you’re going to hear a lot of different languages being spoken and see people of all ages.
Views: Naplavka is a great spot just to sit and watch the world go by. The Vltava is very much the beating heart of Prague and I just love sitting and looking out over the city from down by the riverside.
How to get here: Naplavka is the name given to the stretch of river between the Dancing House and Vysehrad. To Vysehrad end is close to Vyton tram stop and the Dancing House end is close to Jiraskovo Namesti tram stop.
Overall: Although it’s a little off the beaten track, it’s well worth visiting the charmingly eccentric Pristav 18600. You certainly won’t find many tourists here, as this little riverside bar is pretty well hidden and that really adds to its charms. The décor and furnishings here really go back to basics. The bar is made from an old metal shipping container and the seating is an eclectic selection of logs, sun loungers, old picnic benches, hammocks and wooden crates. There are spaces here where you can have a campfire and there’s also a beach volley ball court.
Atmosphere: Pristav is pretty small and also fairly well hidden but it’s really been growing in popularity at the moment and on warm sunny evenings, you’ll find a good crowd of people here. It’s a big favourite amongst Prague’s artistic community and they actually hold a competition each year for young architects, who create additional furniture and installations to further expand the space.
Views: Pristav is right down by the riverside and it’s a great spot to look out over the water. Because it’s set away from the road, this place feels genuinely quiet and peaceful, it’s almost like you’re not in a city at all.
How to get here: Getting here is a bit of an adventure. It’s actually possible to take a boat (which is integrated with the Prague Public Transport system, so you can use your regular transport pass). The boat leaves from Prazska Trznice and will take you to Karlin-Rohansky Ostrov, which is only a couple of minutes walk from Pristav 18600. Alternatively, you can try to walk here from the district of Karlin (the closest Metro station is Krizikova). From here it should only be a 15 minute walk but be warned that you will have to go off road, as the bar is not connected to a main street. Pristav has just opened for the spring season and is open everyday from 1pm. Have a look at their website for more information and details on up and coming events.
Overall: This is a really surprising place. Bang in the centre of town is just the last place where you would expect to find a spacious, sunny and reasonably priced beer garden, but Pivovar Narodni is all of these things and more. Pivovar actually means brewery in Czech, so this place also brews its own beer, which is called “Czech Lion”. There are a few different kids to choose from including light, dark, half dark and unfiltered. Prices here are reasonable at 45CZK a beer, although this is unfortunately for a 400ml rather than the full 500ml.
Atmosphere: As you would expect owing to its location, this place is popular with tourists and so it unfortunately lacks that “local” atmosphere. However, the staff are very pleasant and the atmosphere here is relaxed and laid-back.
Views: The restaurant’s beer garden is in a courtyard, so there’s a bit of a limit to the potential for spectacular views here, but they’ve done their best with what they have. The courtyard is pleasant and reasonably sunny with some nice touches of greenery. There’s also an intriguing stone statue of a lady, who I think has been taking hairstyling advice from Princess Lea (if you see the statue you’ll know what I mean).
How to get here: This one is nice and easy. Pivovar Narodni can be found at Narodni 8, Prague 1. The closest Metro and tram stop is Narodni Trida (B Line, trams 18, 9, 2, 22). Pivovar Narodni is open everyday from 11am-11.30pm. Check out their website for more information.