Historic Prague Castle pub reopens following lengthy renovation

The bar area of the historic pub next to St. Vitus Cathedral is now open, the restaurant and a wine bar will follow in early April.

Expats.cz Staff ČTK

Written by Expats.cz StaffČTK Published on 25.01.2023 07:30:00 (updated on 25.01.2023) Reading time: 2 minutes

This week saw the reopening of a restaurant on the grounds of Prague Castle. Outgoing president Miloš Zeman took part in the partial reopening of the famed Vikárka restaurant, which is located in a narrow lane around the corner from the Saint Vitus Cathedral. Prague Archbishop Jan Graubner blessed the opening.

The iconic restaurant, where Václav Havel, Alexander Dubček, and other dignitaries hammered out the details of the Czech and Slovak constitutions following the fall of the Iron Curtain, closed down in the summer of 2014.

Reconstruction ended in 2022. One of the conditions of the tender for the operator of the restaurant, which the Prague Castle Administration announced last November, was that the bar had to open by Monday, Jan. 22, 2023.

The restaurant and a new wine bar are due to open by April 1 at the latest. The restaurant includes a garden seating area on Vikářská Street in front of the restaurant and a back garden seating area.

According to data from 2020, the Presidential Office spent about CZK 30 million on its reconstruction.

At the opening on Sunday, president Zeman remarked, "At present, it is fashionable to remember former president Václav Havel on all possible and impossible occasions. I would like to remember him too, but this time, on a possible occasion."

Photo via Facebook page Stara Krasna Praha
Photo via Facebook page Stara Krasna Praha

"In fact, it was Václav Havel who made this place one of his offices, in the best sense an office can have," Zeman said.

Vikárka was named after the original inhabitants of the medieval space, once housing the St. Vitus Chapter of Vicars. The restaurant's opening dates back to the mid-1850s.

In addition to featuring in key moments of modern Czech history, the restaurant also makes an appearance in Czech literature. Matěj Brouček, the hero of a series of books by 19th-century author Svatopluk Čech falls through Vikárka's underground passages, which take him to the Hussite era.

The current reconstruction was designed by Masák & Partner, the firm which was behind the reconstruction of some parts of the Old Royal Palace in the Prague Castle area.

Visualization Masák & Partner

With Zeman's term ending in March, a number of changes have gone into effect that aim to make the Castle more accessible to the public. In December, the Prague Castle Administration announced that the checks at the entrances to the Stag Moat and the Royal Garden would be lifted as these Castle areas had been removed from the "security perimeter" guarded by police and soldiers.

On Dec. 15, the Stag Moat reopened to the public. The Castle also recently announced that it would be adding special tours intended to generate more income while keeping admissions fees the same. The tours allow the public to see a number of formerly inaccessible spaces including the St. Wenceslas Chapel and the New and Old Royal Palaces.

In recent years, Hradčany, the district surrounding Prague Castle, has seen the opening of restaurants and pub that appeal to locals. Among them the newly opened Vinobona in the Nový Svět quarter and the Ambiente group's Kuchyň which faced closure following Covid but remains an inviting option in the Salm Palace.

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