The Viennese coffee house culture spread to all corners of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the end of the nineteenth century, including to Prague, then a provincial capital. Prague cafes ( coffee house or cafe is “kavarna” in Czech) later fell into disfavor during the Communist era but have bounced back strongly since 1989. Century-old cafes have been carefully restored and are regaining their status and popularity amid the rise of newer types of cafes experimenting with different offerings. Still, the Viennese coffee house formula is alive and well in Prague: a relaxed atmosphere, coffee ( “true” Viennese coffee houses provide a small glass of water with each coffee serving), excellent Czech food and mouth-watering pastries, a wide selection of newspapers, and at times live piano music!
A restored nineteenth-century building near the Legion Bridge in the Lesser Town area of Prague houses the chic and modern Cafe Savoy, which has become popular with locals and tourists alike. Read our posting about Cafe Savoy here : Cafe Savoy, the best brunch in Prague!
Probably Prague’s best known cafe, Cafe Slavia occupies a very visible and prominent location at the corner of Narodni Avenue, across the street from the National Theatre. Sitting at or near a window table on the side of the Vltava River will give you superb views of Prague Castle. Cafe Slavia was a favorite of Vaclav Havel and many notable writers and intellectuals of the city.
Cafe Louvre is a very elegant century-old cafe located on the first floor of a building along Narodni Avenue in Prague. Franz Kafka as well as Albert Einstein during his professorship in Prague are said to have been regulars here.
Grand Cafe Orient
The Grand Cafe Orient calls itself the first cubistic cafe in the world. It is located on the first floor of the “House of the Black Madonna” building in the Old Town of Prague. Look for the statue of the Black Madonna on the building, right at the corner of pedestrian Celetna Street.
Prague Cafes are an experience not to be missed while visiting the city. It really is not about coffee, although the coffee served in Prague cafes is excellent. It is about experiencing a way of life covering the entire course of the day, from breakfast to dinner, as people socialize, reflect or read a newspaper without being rushed over a cup of coffee, a delicious torte, or over an entire meal.
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