Visitors come to Prague not suspecting how much walking they will do: the centre is very compact and it just makes sense to walk everywhere. But boy oh boy, when it gets hot during the Prague summer months, a day of sightseeing can get pretty exhausting. That’s when it is very important to hydrate. And does a splash of alcohol in your drink really hurt? No, we don’t think so either. Recently, a group of Australians who joined our Prague food tour spent the next afternoon in a wine bar opening seven (not a typo, seven) bottle of wine. I think they made more memories - and friends - they ever would walking the city. So really, in a way, this post is not about cool drinks in Prague. Let’s think of it as a post about making cool friends in Prague. (Yes, it is important to rationalise your day drinking on vacation, and we are happy to help.)
“First kiss” at onesip coffee
We may write a full post on affogatos - the beautiful mixture of a shot of espresso and a scoop of ice-cream - in a separate post, but if there is one that stands out for us, it’s the “First Kiss” at onesip coffee in the Old Town. A scoop of cold ice-cream, a shot of delicious espresso, and a small shot of rum. (To be historically accurate as a first kiss for Jan, you’d have to triple the shot and add a healthy dose of awkward.)
No, really, we’re partial here to drinks that combine sweetness, caffeine and alcohol, which in our book hits all the three major food groups. And the drink is a testament to the fact that Adam and Zdenek, the lovely owners of onesip, always try to go one step further to bring some novelty even to standard issue items such as an affogato. Just sit on the curb of the lazy Hastalska street in front of the dimunitive espresso bar and enjoy.
Creme de Vin at Bokovka
Let’s divide this into two parts: first, the drink. Let’s just agree that sparkling wine is the best drink for a hot day (if beer is not readily available). And the Creme de Vin by Mr Nejedlik of the Moravian Dobra Vinice winery is just perfect for any day: cloudy (no degorsage is applied, which means all the yeast is still in the bottled covered by a simple beer cap), rustic and beautifully acidic, it tastes more like an apple cider or a Lambic beer than wine. We call the the perfect “breakfast wine”, but there’s nothing stopping you from having it later, either. Mr Karpisek, one of the most respected restauranteurs in Prague, called Mr Nejedlik the "Czech Jacques Selosse", and you can test that claim yourself. And for a fraction of the price.
Second, the location. We love the Bokovka wine bar, hidden in a 16th century brewery courtyard just steps from the busy Dlouha street. How much do we love it? Well, we had our wedding party there. ‘Nuff said. This is the place where the epic 7-bottle adventure of our four Australian guests took place. And that’s the best way to spend a hot afternoon in Prague in our book.
A cold Pilsner
A cold Pilsner tastes great under in weather conditions, but it’s just that much better on a hot day. And while other parts of the world prohibit you from enjoying an alcoholic beverage the way it should be - outside (looking your way, US) - Prague does not have any of these annoying limitations, except some parts of the city centre. So where do you have a Pilsner outside? We have three tips.
First, the Letná beer garden in the Letna district, just across the bridge from the Old Town. Sure, the Gambrinus beer is standard-issue lager that is unlikely to blow your mind, but the view might. Bring your own food. Second, the Riegrovy sady beer garden on the border of Vinohrady and Zizkov districts, with a capacity of 1400 people and kegs that don’t last more than 15 minutes. Pro tip: just take your beer (and, optionally, burgers from the nearby Tavern) to the sloped park just 3 minutes away that oversees the entire city centre. The best spot to see the sun set over Prague. Third: Lokal Hamburk in the Karlin district. The fresh Pilsners served by Lokal pubs are good by themselves, but renting a beach chair and sitting down among the locals in the Karlinske namesti square park is a thing lasting travel memories are made of.
Lemonade at Bio Oko
Is it okay to get excited about something as simple as lemonade? (And no, we’re not talking about the Beyoncé album.) Sure. When we have a problem with the fact that most sodas made in-house are fairly sweet (and we don’t like too much sugar on a hot day), Bio Oko’s sugar-free version (you have to ask for it) comes to the rescue. Just lemons, limes, oranges, soda water and ice. We’re sold. (And it does not stop there. For an independent cinema, Bio Oko’s bar is surprisingly well-stocked, with six local craft beers on tap and natural wines supplied by Marko Jelic, aka Winegeek. And btw, why not see a movie when you can’t stand the heat on an exceptionally hot day?
Gin and Tonic at Parlor
To say Parlor Cafe in the Karlin district is a cafe perfect for the summer would be an understatement. They serve two things and two things only: ice-cream sandwiches and gin and tonics. We suggest both, and the guests of our food tours usually end up in Parlor after we finish our Prague Foodie Tour nearby. We don’t blame them. As for a G&Ts with the OMG (which stands for Oh My Gin), a beautifully spicy gin made specifically for cocktails by Mr Zufanek, the no 1 boutique distiller in the country, and the flavoured Bohemsca tonic. (Ask them about their pickle-infused gin if you dare.) They are delicious, and go surprisingly well with the ice-cream sandwiches made with ice-cream by Creme de la Creme, one of our favorite ice-creams in Prague. And if you haven’t had enough, ask for their Bohemian Gimlet made by the owner-bartender who doubles as one of the bartenders of the beautiful Public Interest in the Old Town.