I gave much thought as to what would be the best way to write this article. My remit is to provide you, the reader, with a bird´s eye view of the bars and restaurants that Žižkov´s (in)famous Bořivojova street has to offer. The obvious approach (and in all honesty, my favorite) was to take a day off and have a beer or two plus the occasional shot in every bar/eating establishment on the 1,165 metre long street. After talking to friends who´d experienced many of the streets offerings, I decided that this wouldn´t bode well for my aim of producing an interesting & informative report. Granted, it would be fun for me, but the ranting of a man getting slowly drunk might not be the best angle for those reading. So the adult in me opted for a happy medium, a few beers in a few of the places and no shots until the very end. Compromise is the name of the game!
Bořivojova can be found in Prague´s Žižkov district. It´s rumored to be the street with the most pubs per meter in the Czech Republic. With over 20 bars and restaurants, there´s always plenty to see and do. The closest metro to the pub-filled street is Jiřího z Poděbrad (green line A) or you can use the Lipanska tram stop (trams 5, 9, and 26). My first visit to the street took place in the cold light of day; well, lunchtime to be specific. The street was busy on the sunny day, with lots of people coming and going out of the various bars and shops. The street stays true to Žižkov´s reputation: a relaxed atmosphere with jaded pavements littered with discarded rubbish and dog mess. The latter proved to be more of a problem the further I journeyed down the street!
I have decided to divide the various establishments that Bořivojova provides into the following categories: New style, classic Czech and fun & games. Where applicable I´ll mention the food on offer too. So here are my findings after spending some time and crowns down the old Bořivojova!
Restaurace Kopyto (Bořivojova 116) is the first restaurant/bar you find at the Riegrový sady end of Bořivojova. The newly refurbished building has a large open plan eating area (capacity of 120 people) which was fairly busy when I peeked in. Their menu is in Czech but English is available. They serve Czech cuisine all day with a lunch menu in Czech only. They serve Lobkowicz Premium beer from the tank, which was a nice touch! They also have an impressive set of plasma TV screens, where you can watch sports events to your heart´s content. I would say that this is an ideal spot for sports & pub grub enthusiasts. Tank beer, plasma screens, and sports tick quite a few boxes! They will also have a garden space which should be open in the next month or so.
A few doors down you can find Restaurace U Houdků (Bořivojova 110). U Houdků is far more classic Czech when compared to Restuarnce Kopyto (just a few doors away). The interior is pretty rugged but charming with lots of signs and images from the past decorating the walls. The food is surprisingly good and very cheap, with English menus. You can regularly find great drink offers at all times of the day. 20 CZK for a vodka shot, for example! They serve Gambrinus and Kofola on tap. They also have a garden space which is great in the summer months. There´s a good age group mix. There were students and pensioners all enjoying their food and drinks. Don´t be fooled or put off by Houdků´s exterior, it´s really quite nice!
Across the street from Restaurace U Houdků you´ll find Pizzeria Piacenza
. There were a number of young student types taking full advantage of the very reasonable prices on offer. The pizzeria also offers a lunch menu, and free Wi-Fi for the tech heads. They serve Pilsner & Gambrinus on tap. I didn´t eat there but there certainly seemed to be a lot of satisfied customers during my visit. It seemed the further down Bořivojova I went, the more old-fashioned the pubs got. Take Víčep u Pupkounů
(Bořivojova 79) as a prime example. With plastic plants and net curtains in the window, I knew what was in store for me! On entering it was no surprise to be met by a wall of cigarette smoke, Beyond that, the yellow stained walls and the familiar glare from nearly every mature pair of eyes in the place! On a positive note, they sell Branik beer on tap for only 19 CZK! I´m a sucker for Branik so I stayed a while. I think Víčep u Pupkounů is the most classic Czech pub on Bořivojova.
Fun & Games
There are actually a lot of activities on offer on Bořivojova, other than drinking of course. First up, Boulder V Siti
(Bořivojova 104). Boulder V Siti offers a number of foosball tables. They had young and friendly staff that were happy and relaxed. They serve Staropramen & Pilsner on tap and surprisingly Hoegaarden and cocktails. There was a strong smell of marijuana with a very friendly atmosphere.
(Bořivojova 83), further down Bořivojova, is a huge hidden gem. Inside they offer 4 bowling lanes, pool tables, darts, arcade machines and a big screen! It´s also worth noting that they open late (15:00 - 02:00 Monday - Saturday) but are closed on Sundays. The drinks were cheap and the fun & games plentiful!
There are a couple of places that definitely should be mentioned in this category. The first is Bukowski´s
. It describes itself as ‘The premier place for cocktails and the glamorous people who drink them.´ I guess I would agree. With generous drink offers such as ladies night on Tuesdays (free sangria for the ladies from 19:00 - 22:00) and ‘7 Crown Sundays´, where they offer small beers for the small price of 7 CZK, Bukowski´s does well in tempting the city´s young folk through its doors. I had a brief chat with Bukowski´s owner Glen Emery. He gave me the first real insight into Bořivojova life. Glen opened Bukowski´s nearly 4 years ago after moving from a bar in the center of the city. I asked if he has had any trouble since opening Bukowski´s and he was quick to say that the area is peaceful. No fights & no theft. I must admit that during my trawl I felt incredibly safe and relaxed in all of the venues I visited. I was happy to have Glen cement my hunch. Bukowski´s offer Ježek 11 degree beer and bottled Pilsner. They also make a mean cocktail. The setting is trendy, reminiscent of an East-London hang out. It´s a great place to go. During the week it´s pretty relaxed, more of a neighborhood pub, but by Friday the place comes alive and is filled to the rafters with Prague´s hipsters. Worth a visit if that´s your scene or even if not!
Much further down the street on the corner of Ondříčkova, you´ll come across the recently opened Big Daddy´s Garage
. BDG is a spacious and open bar that serves food and has a downstairs music bar/disco area which is open from Wednesday to Saturday 20.00 - 05.00. It´s kind of Žižkov´s answer to TGI Friday's! The staff were friendly and happy to talk about what they offer in English. The interior was clean and fresh with a vibrant young atmosphere. They have a very reasonable lunch menu, which makes it a great place to visit during the day. The ‘music bar´ makes it a good option for evening action, too. I later found that technically Big Daddy´s Garage isn´t on Bořivojova (their address is Ondříčkova 503), but while walking down Bořivojova you´d easily think it was on the same street, so I thought I´d include it!
Other notable Bořivojova mentions come in the shape of Alcatraz Cub
(Bořivojova,58) which I believe is Bořivojova´s only gay club. The exterior is a intriguingly jaded with a strictly male clientele door policy Also, Jídelna Restaurace
(Bořivojova,43). Jidelna offers a wide range of Czech food with English menus and Rychtář beer. A spacious old-worldy place with a warm vibe. For Live music on the street, check out Café Bar Blaze
(Bořivojova 37). They boast live music ranging from rock to poetry recitals. They serve Dudák beer to the mixed crowd of artisans.
And that´s where the Bořivojova review ends. A long street with all manner of bars and restaurants. Catering for all different types of people of different ages. Safe during the day and night, I felt that the only real danger was the dog mess and crazy paving which are both hazardous once the sun goes down and the alcohol consumption goes up!