Out with the Old Town: your guide to Prague’s alternative nightlife venues

With Prague’s historic centre increasingly off limits to normal residents, Czech artists and musicians are taking to the suburbs to create cutting-edge spaces all of their own.

28 November 2019
Header Image and Artwork: Šárka Pivovodova

With boozy stag-dos and tourist pub crawls maintaining their steely grip on central Prague, real nightlife in the Czech capital is abandoning the city centre.

A new generation of artists and activists is turning yet another painful story of rising rents and gentrification into fresh opportunity, paving the way for vibrant alternative venues, new inclusive spaces, and boundary-breaking music in suburban neighbourhoods.

If you’re looking for a real night out in Prague, head to your nearest tram stop and get a real look at what the Czech Republic has to offer.

Based in a former soap factory and described as a “crafted club space” for the open-minded, Ankali retains a unique position within Prague’s clubbing scene. Armed with its own set of house rules — including a strict no photo policy — Ankali is perhaps the closest one can get to a Berlin-esque club experience in Prague. It also nurtures a community of resident DJs, runs its own blog and podcast, and holds events for music-lovers and visitors who might be new to this kind of clubbing experience. There’s no doubt that Ankali is one of the best spots in the city for up-and-coming electronic acts.

The recently-established Fuchs2 has quickly become a key venue in the city’s burgeoning club scene, offering several stages among the remnants of the former Štvanice Stadium. Named after the stadium’s architect, Josef Fuchs, the venue has kept all the hallmarks of the former clubs that once used the same space, incorperating old mirrors, fragments of drywall, and old nightclub logos into its own unique identity as a venue. Fuchs2 has proven to be an excellent venue for musically diverse club nights, as well as occassionally hosting gigs for local rappers and indie artists.

Best known as a hub for Prague’s queer film festival, Mezipatra, Patra is a welcoming gay bar and art gallery. As well as keeping the drinks flowing, Patra hosts karaoke nights, talks, exhibitions, and performances by Prague’s growing scene of local drag queens. Perhaps most importantly, Patra offers a space for the queer community and their allies to come together as a whole, unlike the city’s many other gay, which tend to cater for individual groups in the LGBTQ+ community.

Affiliated with the larger Underdogs’ collective, the Underdogs’ Ballroom often serves as a live venue for many of the group’s gigs. Compared to the other bars and clubs on this list, Underdogs’ caters to a heavier music taste, be it the occasional DIY punk gig or a Friday-night showing of dark electronic beats. In addition to regular gigs, Underdogs occasionally run other club nights hosted by some of Prague’s local music labels, as well as benefit concerts. And if you’re not feeling like a late-night gig, you can stop by Eternia, a closely affiliated DIY space right next door, with its own skateboard ramp and a cheap vegan eatery serving comfort food staples. The vegan hotdogs are a particular favourite.

More of a cafe with its own record store, Luft first appeared on the scene in January 2019 and became one of Prague’s best hangouts in less than 12 months. As well as selling a curated selection of electronica, Luft often hosts its own DJ sets, making it a great place to spend a night if you’re want to hear the latest mixes, but perhaps don’t quite feel like dancing the night away.

More of a cultural centre rather than a music venue, Punctum hosts talks, readings, and gigs from the local alternative scene. The Sonitus concert series, featuring Czech and international experimental artists and organised by the Punctum club group, is a particular highlight. As well as hosting gigs, Punctum also has its own online radio station, featuring sets by some of the city’s music producers, DJs, and artists.

Undoubtedly closest to Prague’s historical city centre and perhaps the least alternative out of this list, Swim surprises with its curated club nights featuring local and international DJs. Named after the drained swimming pool which makes up most of the club’s dancefloor, Swim is a high-design affair with its own restaurant. Don’t expect anything DIY, but definitely expect a tight club night.

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