Prague's Music Bars

Modern jazz or hardcore punk in Prague...

Ryan Scott

Written by Ryan Scott Published on 23.09.2009 14:09:58 (updated on 23.09.2009) Reading time: 5 minutes

In Prague, all music is underground. Whether your tastes are modern jazz or hardcore punk, chances are you will descend into one of the city’s many cellar or basement pubs to hear the music. Ryan Scott spent a week sampling what Prague’s music scene has to offer.


Národní třída 25, Prague 1, near Národní třída and Můstek metro stops
On Tap: Gambrinus, Pilsner Urquell, Kozel Dark

The stairs lead down to a large heavy door. Behind it is what can only be described as a basement, and I’m not referring to the historic variety. On a good night there is a carefree vibe as people from all walks of life mingle to everything from the legends of the Czech music scene, like Plastic People of the Universe or Psí Vojáci to revival bands as well as newer acts. On quieter nights, you might find yourself having a beer with a member of the band. There’s quite a bit of seating, but get there early if you think it will be a big night because they are taken fast. On my most recent visit, they had a screen at the back, so the crowd-shy among you can watch the band in comfort. Or if the music is not to your liking, try out the foosball tables at the back.

XT3
Rokycanova 29, Prague 3
Take the 175 Bus from Florenc, get off at the third stop “Rokycanova” and cross the street to the club.
On Tap: Staropramen, Stella Artois

This club is definitely in a historic cellar – or it smells like it. But the dank only adds to the grungy appeal, a feeling accentuated by the old furniture and collection of number plates and street signs on the wall. The capacity is quite small, with a few chairs and stools. The crowd is mixed but there does seem to be a strong rocker contingent and a smaller group of students. As the cellar is dog-legged, the view from the bar is a little obscured, so if you expect a big night you might want to get in early. One cool feature is the small balcony, which hangs just above the main hall of the club. It’s nice to think they’ve catered for crowd surfers.

FEATURED EMPLOYERS

Strahov Klub 007
Chaloupeckého 7, Prague 6
Take the 217 bus from Na knížeci (the bus stop by Anděl) or the 149 from Dejvická.
On tap: Only bottled beer, Staropramen, Gambrinus Premuim, Pilsner Urquell, Stella Artois, Guinness. 3 CZK deposit on the bottle.

Located in Strahov College, Klub 007 Strahov is billed as Prague’s premier venue for punk, ska, indie and electroclash. The club also hosts local and a large variety of international underground artists. Basically, anything left of center musically gets a look in. And a little left politically, if the stickers which cover the bathroom tiles are anything to go by. Veganism, anti-fascism, anarchism is all on display. Keeping in line with this, only vegetarian pizzas are served as bar food. The bar, while nice and long, is hidden from the stage by one of the pillars. The crowd depends on the night, making the club a meeting ground for Prague’s different subcultures rather than a melting pot like some other places. However, the mood is not too cool or exclusive. Even a square like me had no problem hanging out watching a hard-core punk gig.

U Staré Paní
Michalská 9, Prague Old Town
On Tap: Pilsner
Bottled: Heineken, Guinness and Corona

This club is stylish and maybe a little bit too trendy. Sleek black tables, red seats and stools provide comfort for a selection of mostly well-dressed patrons, including the occasional Czech TV personality. On any night you will here smatterings of English, Russian, Spanish and Czech. Though they attract some of the cream of local jazz musicians, the clientele seem more content to chill out and chat quietly, sipping wine or cocktails. It might not always be necessary to book as the night I was there a few people came in off the street without a reservation.

U Malého Glena
Karmelitská 23, Prague Malá Strana, Take trams 12, 20 or 22, get off at tram stop Malostranské náměstí and head about 100m in the direction of Smichov.
On tap: Bernard (Downstairs) Bernard, Budvar, (Upstairs)

The motto of the club is ‘You were never so close to the music.´ There’s no arguing with this statement. A small rectangle of carpet forms the stage at the back of the cellar. The audience huddles in close to listen to mostly Czech and occasionally international acts. The mood is genuinely one of serious fans, and it isn’t strange to see people chatting music with the performers during the break. The mix was local and international, old and young. You might want to book as the place fills up pretty quickly. Apart from beer, there’s a choice of wines, cocktails and meals. The latter can be eaten downstairs or upstairs in the larger pub.

Blues Sklep
Liliová 10, Prague Old Town. Liliová runs off Karlova, about a block from the river.
On tap: Staropramen, Granat, Stella Artois

As the name suggests, this is a cellar, so while it might not be as small as some other clubs, you will still want to arrive early to avoid being behind the central pillar. I guess Renaissance builders didn’t have bands in mind when they built the place. The atmosphere is very casual and relaxed, with people trying their best to dance in the space provided. The crowd is mostly local which might account for this more relaxed atmosphere.

Other places to check out:
The Brick Bar is located underneath the A&O Hostel (Vystaviště 1, Prague-Holešovice). This pub offers another intimate setting to enjoy Prague local acts. The staff is also pretty friendly.

Located in the Old Town, Agharta is one of the most popular jazz clubs. The range of styles is broad from traditional through Latin and modern. One word of advice, book or come early because if you don´t, you might find yourself huddled up on the stairs.

Reduta is next to the Rock Cafe on Narodní třída. When former US presidents are not playing saxophone here; it is the place to go for more traditional jazz.

Showcasing mostly rock, punk and metal, Modrá Vopice (Spojovací 1901, Prague-Vysočany) is actually an outdoor club. Given that those cellars can get awfully stuffy in the summer, it might be a nice change.

Where´s your favorite spot to catch a live act in Prague? Share it with us below!

Would you like us to write about your business? Find out more