Curtains for the Globe? An expat landmark may be facing its final act

The English-language bookstore and café is currently fighting for survival due to the COVID crisis; here's how you can help

Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas

Written by Elizabeth Zahradnicek-Haas
Published on 15.10.2020 10:46 (updated on 15.10.2020)

The Globe is the sort of café that's hard to come by in Prague these days, book-lined and shabby chic with a menu of American comfort food, a place where no one judges you for putting sugar in your coffee.

For 27 years the bookstore-café has been a way station for the English-speaking community in Prague, hosting book clubs and brunches, trivia nights and an annual Thanksgiving dinner. And now due to the COVID-19 pandemic it may close its doors for good, says General Manager Tomáš Soták.

"We're a place of literature and culture, offering a social service to expats in Prague," says Soták who is currently fighting to save a place he believes has had a massive impact on many lives, a place where newcomers to the Czech capital can meet people, get advice, and enjoy a great cup of coffee.

Shopping the stacks at the Globe Bookstore and Cafe
Shopping the stacks at the Globe Bookstore and Cafe

Soták and his Australian wife Carissa and their baby daughter Emma, returned to Prague from New Zealand in November 2019. A Prague native who'd lived abroad managing hotels and restaurants for 15 years, he felt like a bit of an expat himself, and jumped at the opportunity to take over the café in February 2020.

After just a month, he was forced to close down. "I spent lockdown going to work every day anyway, repainting and redoing the floors and waiting," says Soták. Following the May reopening the bookstore, which represents just a small percentage of the Globe's income, began to outearn the café.

"We lost a big part of our customer base due to the closure of Prague Film School," says Soták of the neighboring building, now empty. With sixty to seventy percent of the Globe's regulars coming for flagship events like quiz nights and karaoke, the government-mandated closing times also hit the business especially hard.

Because the Globe's owner is American, Soták says the café has not been eligible for any kind of government support.

From October 14, the Globe like all other restaurants in the Czech Republic, closed its doors for the foreseeable future -- the government has said it will reassess the coronavirus numbers in three weeks and repeal or extend the measure. 

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Soták hopes book sales and delivery orders will keep the Globe afloat. He took to social media Wednesday to encourage the expat community to support one if its own by ordering delivery via Wolt or shopping in the bookstore which will remain open.

"We have awesome burgers and veggie burgers," he says of the delivery menu which includes mac-and-cheese, New York Style cheesecake, and other comfort food classics. "Since I took over the business we do everything from scratch with fresh not frozen ingredients," Soták adds.

"We are on the razor’s edge of survival. We are seriously concerned about the future wellbeing of our staff and the survival of the Globe itself," Soták wrote on Facebook; he also thanked patrons for their years of support.

"It's really been a labor of love and we greatly appreciate all the people who have passed through our doors."

Here's how to support the Globe

  • Order delivery from Globe Bookstore and Cafe on Wolt.
  • Shop in the bookstore at Pštrossova 6; if you live in the Prague area and can't come in they'll (write to info@globebookstore.cz or call +420 224 934 203 for more information).
  • Follow the Globe on Facebook and Instagram.