Indoor Sports in Prague

Ping-pong, pool and more in Prague

Nick Young

Written by Nick Young Published on 12.01.2010 15:41:48 (updated on 12.01.2010) Reading time: 4 minutes

As a long, dark winter blankets the city and a freezing, sub-zero cold takes over, the idea of moving around outdoors for longer than absolutely necessary seems like a less than promising proposition. For people used to being active, being penned up for several months in their apartment is certain to be difficult. The cold weather means no more kicking around the football, no more heart pounding games of tennis, no more petanque in the park.

But fear not, as for just about every outdoor activity that one must abstain from due to the season, there is an equal indoor counterpart available in the winter. In place of football, one can play Fotbálek or stolní fotbal (aka Foosball). Instead of tennis, one switches to stolní tenis, (aka ping pong or table tennis). Instead of garden petanque, one picks up the heavy ball and participates in some bowling, (mercifully spelled the same and sounding pretty much the same in Czech as in English). Additionally, some of the most popular and common indoor games in Prague include Billiard (aka Billiards or Pool) and šipky (darts).

Loads of indoor games exist that can get the competitive juices flowing again, and the places where they can be played are surprisingly abundant throughout the city. Of course some venues offer a higher quality atmosphere and others offer a more seedy charm. The variety is definitely there for you to choose from.

Perhaps the most impressive of all of the venues in Central Prague is the grandiose, yet dilapidated Billiard Centrum v Cípu hidden in a dingy little alley at V Cípu 1, not too far from Václavské Náměstí. The entry view to the club is almost breathtaking, as one looks upon impossibly high ceilings decorated with crystal chandeliers and down below a sea of green felt surfaced pool tables. Throughout the cavernous, multi-leveled building are several rooms with more pool tables (75-125CZK/hr) a bowling alley (200-300CZK/hr), and then a ping pong room (80CZK/hr) that boasts seven tables. As you look for the ping pong tables upstairs you may want to leave a trail of breadcrumbs to find your way back, as it´s quite a trek from the main room. Other games on offer include foosball and electronic and steel dart boards.

There are dozens of billiard halls throughout Prague, meaning there is probably one just around the corner from where you live. Some of the nicer ones include Megasportsbar in the Chodov shopping center (95-125CZK/hr), and Akademie Billiard near Letenské Náměstí. As is the rule in any country you play pool, beware of gambling with the guy that brings his own stick and is nicknamed after a city.

Should you be searching for a bowling alley with an old school vibe then Bowbar Bowling in Žižkov will provide you with what you want. They offer 10 pin bowling at reasonable prices (180-290CZK/hr) and their shorter than standard lanes are certain to help raise your score to new peaks. Also inside are dartboards, pool tables and a foosball table.

If you are looking for a more traditional, modern bowling alley there are several throughout Prague. Bowling VIP Centrum near Náměstí Republiky has all the modern amenities and is at a great location for those living near the center. Prices are a bit higher than other bowling alleys (360-450CZK/hr), but if you want a top notch bowling alley then this is one of the best places in Prague.

Dispersed throughout the city are several other great bowling alleys, such as Bowling Chodov (150-290CZK/hr) located near the Chodov shopping center; Planet Bowling (175-375CZK/hr) and Best Bowling Centrum at the Zličín shopping center (190-390CZK/hr). All places will supply you the necessities at no extra cost, meaning those horribly goofy bowling shoes and your choice of several different “house balls.”

Should you go all the way out to the Zličín shopping center for some bowling then you should make a trip across the food court and check out Svět Zábavy, a video arcade and game parlor known for its wide selection of games such as foosball, darts and the difficult to find but always entertaining air hockey (20CZK per game) and table hockey (20CZK per game). 

For ping pong, your best bet is to go to your nearest gym and inquire about whether they have a table. There are tables which can be found at Hit Fit Flora (100CZK/hr) near the Flora Metro; Sport Centrum Evropská (90CZK/hr) close to Divoká Šárka and a cool, friendly spot with one table at a place called Vyletna in Letná Park near the beer garden (80CZK). Be careful, as some places try to sneak in a charge for paddles and a ball. And it´s always better to phone ahead and reserve the table.

So the next time you are looking for something fun and active to do on a dreary, grey, snowy Saturday; head out to one of these warm, welcoming locales for some table sports and work yourself up a nice mini-sweat. It´s good for the athletes that need a little competition to get them going as well as for the people that prefer activities which can be done with a beer in hand.

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