7 unique cafés in Prague for winter hideout
Last week we brought some tips on what to do in Prague during the cold winter days. One thing we didn’t mention is the rich variety of cosy cafés the city has to offer. If you feel like warming up with a cup of good coffee, this is where you want to start.
The first time I visited Café Sladkovský, I knew it could become my favourite one. Admittedly, the focus here isn’t just coffee. Café Sladkovský is a place with a split personality, which comes together to bring us a café, tea house, restaurant, and a tavern all at once. They serve a staggering array of foods, from burgers with organic meat to ethnic specialties such as vindaloo or mezze. All of this is fresh and skilfully prepared. The coffee comes from CoffeeSource, a roastery that has its own store just around the corner. In Sladkovský they also pour beer from regional microbreweries, including Únětický Pivovar’s wonderful 10º light lager. If spirits are what you’re looking for, ask for some Žufánek, a local family-run micro-distillery, who make a wide breadth of all natural spirits and liqueurs that leave your tongue craving for more.
The general atmosphere in Café Sladkovský is also rather unique. The place is named after Karel Sladkovský, a 19th-century MP in the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. A somewhat peculiar character, Mr. Sladkovský was a political activist, journalist, vegetarian, and a big name during the Czech National Revival. It’s with this story in the background that the bohemian café finds its own particular clientele. Here you can spark up a chat about philosophy or art over coffee and beer until closing time. With an intriguing and unique spirit that is beyond inviting, this welcome-to-all café is well worth a visit, especially if you find yourself in the talkative coming-of-age alternative neighbourhood of Vršovice.
Kavárna Místo opened in 2015 and has quickly gained a fair share of attention. Místo is a modern place to have a drink, work, or just relax. It might happen that you come here for coffee but end up ordering one of their homemade lemonades, tisane tea, or Czech wine instead. You may also ask which microbrewery’s beer they have on tap that day. And that’s just the drinks! They also have food that is good enough to make any lover of taste forget about the nearby Prague Castle. For something sweet, try one of their hot chocolates. These come from local artisanal chocolate makers such as Jordi, whose Rustic Vanilla chocolate shook my entire understanding of this delicacy.
Just like Kavárna Místo, Můj šálek kávy is also run by the Doubleshot team of coffee enthusiasts. That means you will be able to treat yourself to similar kinds of pleasures as in the former place. While a top-quality coffee is to be taken for granted here, the rich variety of foods and snacks on offer cannot escape your attention. You will find Můj šálek kávy in the hip neighbourhood of Karlín, which is a must-see (or rather a must-experience) anyway.
Pekárna Praktika may seem misplaced here, considering it is primarily a bakery. However, this group of friends definitely know how to serve a proper coffee. The particular brand of coffee changes from time to time, also depending on the type you order, but one thing remains constant – it is always done more than well. The bakery is minimalist, modest, and honest. The staff is beyond kind and knowledgeable; you can tell they love what they do and do what they love. In my humble opinion, the bread might possibly be the best in Prague, which is quite a statement in a city of so many tasty breads. Their house sourdough culture makes their bread somewhat more fruity and tart. They also make little pastries that shouldn’t be overlooked.
My recommendations: coffee and a kobliha (Czech for doughnut, but not quite the same). Don’t forget to take a loaf of their spelt bread home with you, you won’t regret it. One last note, Praktika is far from a big bakery, and things tend to sell out; it would behoove you to go in the morning or for an afternoon coffee break.
Another one of our main go-to places is Kavárna Nový Svět. This quaint little nook really cares about what they’re serving you. While their coffee is also supplied by Doubleshot, there is so much more for you to try. They make homemade sourdough bread, various kinds of vegetarian soups, and some café-style bits to enjoy alongside coffee or tea. There is even an ice cream from a top-rated local creamery 2AD. The pistachio is my favourite one, and it even has a normal green colour!
What brings it all together, though, is the setting – a hobbit house within the picturesque “village” a stone’s throw from the Prague Castle. If you’re tired of walking up the hill, the coffee and delicious food will restore your energy. You may also enjoy the beautiful garden surrounding the café’s balcony. Best of all, this tiny place is almost entirely a local affair and, despite its size, always far from crowded. This under-explored area of the city deserves some attention, although the narrow streets can’t handle too much of it. So keep this one for yourself!
Cukrárna Alchymista is another true gem among Prague’s cafés. As the Czech title reveals, it is also a sweet-shop, whose delights are simply unforgettable. The local coffee also deserves some recognition. One may choose from a variety of different kinds, with a guarantee of high quality in all of them. Since the café shares its premises with a coffee museum, they should know what they are doing.
You might also appreciate the unique style of this café. Due to its retro design, you will feel like travelling back in time. Art-lovers will also appreciate the giant painting on the ceiling made by the visual artist Jan Kristofori. If you happen to be in Prague on some warmer days, you may also enjoy the oasis of calm and serenity offered by their mystical garden. Why not have a cup of selective coffee in the midst of wild nature not far from the picturesque Letná Park?
As an honorable mention, BirdSong Coffee is the one brand all the coffee experts among you should try while visiting the Czech Republic. It is the only “Bird-Friendly” certified coffee in the Czech Republic. The Smithsonian Migratory Bird Center, who created the Bird-Friendly certification, states that “every bean is produced organically and under high-quality shade. Our seal of approval ensures tropical ‘agroforests’ are preserved and migratory birds find a healthy haven when they travel from your backyard to those faraway farms producing the beans you so enjoy every morning.” This helps prevent clear-cutting (often for coffee plantations) and environmental degradation, whilst promoting organic farming, biodiversity, and a happy ecosystem.
BirdSong Coffee can be tasted in MoMo Veg Café, a cute little place not far from the city center. Apart from coffee, they offer a rich variety of vegan and gluten-, sugar-, and dairy-free cakes. Another option is to wait for the summer and get a sample of BirdSong Coffee from their stand at the Farmer’s market at Náplavka.
TIP: Prague has a rather developed network of cafés and the ones I mentioned are but a few on the list of amazing places you might come across. After all, every local person has his or her own favourite cafés. To experience some of these in the company of true locals, try our Bohemian Tastes & Neighborhoods or Food by Foot tours.
November 3, 2018