There are seemingly thousands of cafés here in Prague—most of them with a new-age sense of chic that we know and love. But older establishments come with a particular charm that you just can’t get at a juice bar or vegan café. Here, famous socialites and intellectuals of the First Republic like Franz Kafka would go to sip cocktails, debate with friends or simply get their daily news. These cafés ultimately survived communism, two world wars, and three country names without losing their original turn-of-the-century style. Here’s six of the surviving traditional cafés that exist in Prague.
This Vienna-style coffee house has been standing for over a century—since 1902. Their menu offers local favorites along with tastes from other European counties, and even America. Café Louvre has a cosmopolitan atmosphere, while still maintaining the specific charm of old school Prague. Its unique hospitality appealed to the likes of famous intellectuals from Franz Kafka to Albert Einstein. Get lost in time, and pay a visit to the Café Louvre.
Luminously modern with an old-school touch; Café Savoy will give you the best of both worlds. The cafe has been restored from its original opening in 1893.The showpiece in this café is the ceiling, which is remnant of Czech art nouveau-ist Alphons Mucha. Order anything from an elegant breakfast to hearty roast meats, and top it off with a sweet delicacy baked in-house. Walk through the corridor by the counter to find a window overlooking the bakers at work.
Café Lucerna, or “Café Lantern” in English, is a 20th century eatery with dim lighting and a mysterious atmosphere that matches the building’s rustic appeal. Along with Lucerna Music Bar and Lucerna Cinema, Café Lucerna is part of Lucerna Palace, a complex built in the early 1900s in the late art nouveau style. Its floor to ceiling windows look out on to the Lucerna arcade, as well as David Černy’s famous sculpture of St. Wenceslas riding his horse upside down. For mellow feels and wacky views, try this café.
Smetanovo nábřeží 1012/2
Originally established in the 1920s, Café Slavia has more of a modern vibe than the other old-school café of Prague. It served as a well-known gathering place of the literary community of the 20th century; pupils include Franz Kafka and Rainer Maria Rilke. Dine and discuss art and politics with the locals, while enjoying a stunning riverside view.
Grand Café Orient
Ovocný trh 19
Just a few blocks from Old Town Square, Grand Café Orient is the only fully cubist café (down to the coat hooks) in Prague, and maybe even the world. It is located on the first floor of the House of the Black Madonna, a cubist structure created by renowned architect Josef Gočár. It maintains a sort of diner charm, with splashes of green to complement its cubist furnishings. It was originally established in 1912, but closed when cubism became unfashionable in the ‘20s. It reopened in 2005, and was renovated back to its original style. Stop in to dine from a classic café menu, and grab a seat on the balcony for a charming view of Celetná.
Na Poříčí 15
Café Imperial is an art deco eatery with an upscale vibe and high-end dishes. Its interior design is over-the-top in the best way; the ceiling and furnishings are a mosaic of ceramic tile and sculpted porcelain that complements its swanky 20th-century ambience. Enjoy breakfast all day at Café Imperial, and cocktails as the sun turns to moon. The cuisine is crafted by celebrity chef Zdeněk Pohlreich, so you’re guaranteed a next-level dining experience.