36 Hours in Prague: If you’re a hipster
Discover the soul of Prague in an unassuming place by walking around an old working class street with crumbling curbs and vine-covered building facades. Vršovice, a small neighborhood a few metro stops away from the center of town, does not seem like much at first glance, but the new trendy neighborhood is transforming Prague’s urban culture. With alternative stores and cafes popping up faster than a hipster can light an American Spirit, Vršovice boasts an impressive array of hip locales that rivals any trendy area in the United States while spanning only a few small streets. Vršovice reveals Prague through a unique lens for those travelers who wish to stray from the beaten track.
12:00 – Czech Inn
Check in to the clean and hip Czech Inn Hostel for a two-night stay at their cheap rate-per-night, even if you prefer a private room. It is as close to luxury hostel-ing as a traveler can get, and its location in the Vršovice district makes it within reach of all of the trendy cafes and shops. You can find a largely young clientele in the lobby or outside of the front door at practically any hour. The hostel is also within walking distance to the metro and tram, as well as to the many low-key cafes and restaurants of Vršovice. Note: the staff is very helpful, answering any questions and giving sound advice on do’s and don’ts of experiencing Prague.
14:00 – Boho Vintage
After you’ve settled in, you may want to head next door to Boho Vintage to check out some vintage threads. Boho Vintage is a petite pop-up store where you can easily find that one-of-a-kind souvenir to wear home, like one of their vintage jackets or antique jewelry pieces. Every piece is different, so you will not catch it on anyone else. Whether or not you find a vintage piece though, the thrifty, eccentric atmosphere will set the mood for the rest of your Vršovice exploration.
17:00 – InCider Bar
Get in the adventurous spirit by visiting the first craft cider pub in the Czech Republic located in the heart of Vršovice. With an array of more than 35 craft ciders on the menu, InCider Bar offers a truly novel experience to those travelers trying to branch out from the typical Czech beer scene, and you will find ciders here that are only sold in a handful of places. Fun note: If you want an expert’s help to make your selection, the owner is often in to help travelers pick a unique cider brew.
20:00 – Plevel
With mismatched wooden furniture and vintage floral wallpaper, Plevel seamlessly fits into the Vršovice aesthetic, while also standing out because of its alternative cuisine. Dinner at this trendy restaurant has the added flair of featuring a primarily vegetarian menu. For those concerned about sustaining themselves on “rabbit food,” don’t worry. The food is filling and delicious in its own meatless way. For a personal recommendation, the avocado tartar appetizer is a delectable example of Plevel’s unique raw cuisine.
23:00 – Basement Bar
Round off your first night in Vršovice in Basement Bar, located just below the Czech Inn lobby. Walk down the outdoor stairs into the stonewalled bunker that moonlights as a funky music venue that attracts an eccentric crowd. Modern accouterments contrast with the stone architecture and lend a distinctive atmosphere to the venue. The underground bar is filled with live music almost every night of the week and features all different genres of artists. The small stage framed by deep red velvet curtains furnishes a rich drama to the space, adding a discreet magic to the end of a great first day.
9:00 – Coffee House
If you enjoy your morning coffee, the Coffee House on Francouzka Street in Vršovice provides a great start to your day. Walk into the charming café and feel as though you are visiting a friend in their cozy home. The rooms are tiny, the floor creaks with every step and picture frames are filled with old black-and-white photographs. You will find the cheapest cappuccino and the flakiest croissant in the area. Walk further back into the café and find the magical outdoor garden where the barista will kindly deliver your coffee. The garden offers a serene environment in which travelers can read their morning news and plan their day.
11:00 – Farmer’s Market
A ten-minute walk from Coffee House will lead you to the farmer’s market located in the Jiřího z Poděbrad Square. There, local Czech farmers set up booths every Wednesday through Saturday and sell their fresh produce. As you stroll through the square, you will see countless types of colorful produce as well as specialty baked goods from Czech vendors. You can easily spend plenty of time in the square admiring hefty bundles of greens and juicy bunches of fruit, but your appetite will undoubtedly lead you back to Krymská Street for a bite.
13:00 – Café Sladkovský
Funky décor, laidback atmosphere, damn good burgers. Café Sladkovský is notable for its funky 1950’s-style wallpaper and mismatched furniture that craft its low-key, eccentric personality. The fresh mint lemonade and selection of Czech beer offer any traveler a satisfying refreshment. Owner Katerina McCreary states that she founded Café Sladkovský in 2010 with the purpose of creating its own niche in Vršovice as the best hangout for locals and hip travelers alike.
15:00 – Baobab
If you are into checking out some unique books, Baobab is a worthwhile stop. The owners began Baobab publishing company in 2000 to provide creative, one-of-a-kind children’s books illustrated by up-and-coming Czech artists. You will find the illustrations of the famous children’s author and illustrator Miroslav Sasek who happens to be a Prague native and former Radio Free Europe correspondent. You do not need to be in the under-12 demographic to enjoy, so go ahead and flip through a few.
17:00 – Kavárna Slagr
After shopping and walking around the neighborhood, you can find a much deserved mid-afternoon snack at Kavárna Slagr, a 1920’s-inspired sweetshop with a mouthwatering cake display and a tasty array of gelato flavors. Listen to the cheerful vinyl music playing throughout the café as you choose your dessert and settle into the lofted lounge filled with antique furniture and 1920’s-era lighting fixtures. The retro feel sweetens your visit even more than the coconut gelato.
20:00 – Osteria da Clara
Osteria da Clara is an Italian restaurant located in the heart of Vršovice that features a carefully thought-out menu of warm, rustic Italian dishes for those searching for an alternative to traditional Czech cuisine. There is a unique authenticity in the fact that the chef changes the antipasto appetizer’s delicious components every night based on his mood. A meal here provides a cozy experience with even better food. Due to the intimate number of tables in the small one-room restaurant, it will never hurt to call ahead to make sure a table is reserved so as to not miss out on this Vršovice treasure. After all, Osteria’s motto is “time spent at the table is never time lost.”
23:00 – Café v Lese
The end of the 36 hours in Vršovice finishes where the neighborhood’s hip revolution began. Café v Lese is located in the exact location where the Shakespeare and Sons bookstore started the revival of Vršovice.The owner Ondrej Kobza is the Renaissance hipster who installed pianos in public spaces in Prague for anyone to play. Like all of Vršovice, the atmosphere is what makes it sublime and distinct. Decorated in a retro 70’s fashion, the café finds its hominess in its dingy furniture and amusing wall décor. Café v Lese, which means “café in the woods,” is located far from any woods but represents the idea of a place in which any person can come together with others, whether it be neighbors or travelers from far away places. Order a drink from the impressive seventeen-page drink menu and enjoy some live music or just straight up people-watching—famous Czech musician Vratislav Brabenec still frequents the café. No matter what, it will satisfactorily conclude your Vršovice experience.