If you’re looking for an underground, alternative bar where you’ll meet travellers and locals alike, this is the place..
Expect a great atmosphere, cheap beer and perhaps an Irish wolfhound!
We visited Vzorkovna on our last night in Prague with the intention of having a drink/explore and then moving on to one of the many other places on my list. Didn’t happen…this place is amazing. It looked closed to start with, crime scene tape was over a road sign at the front, there was complete darkness inside and the door seemed shut tight. Just as we walked away a much braver tourist gently pushed the door, it opened revealing a prison-like barred gateway and an angry looking man in a ‘booth’. With nothing to lose, we ventured in. You don’t use cash at the bar in Vzorkovna, as you enter, you give the scary gentleman some money and he gives you what is essentially an invisibobble with a fob attached. Then you just wave it at the bar and magically your drink is given to you! More like a token system at a festival, but you get your money back if you don’t use it all.
As we descended in to the dimly lit venue I couldn’t help being mesmerised by the decor. Vzorkovna belongs to the people. The swings are old skateboards, the walls are covered in graffiti, there are people sat on platforms high above us with full pints in their hands! I spent a fair amount of time watching them get up and down, wondering if in a few more beers time I’d even be able to stand let alone climb the walls!
The first room you enter is also the most brightly lit, with foosball tables all around. Then there’s a small, more intimate music room with one cable light overhead and candles stuck in bottles with so much wax covering them and the surrounding area I’m not sure they’ve ever been moved. A larger music room with a dance floor follows. It’s not always music though, it can just as easily be poetry, jazz or comedy. They also serve traditional Czech food and coffee.
I wish I could remember all the great beers available here, and there were quite a few, but to be honest, they could have been serving dregs and I’d still stay. The atmosphere is awesome. When we arrived, there was one person playing guitar and one on bongos plus no queue, when we left there were three drummers (one playing the floor) two guitarists, a harmonica and people queueing half way up the street.
The beauty of Vzorkovna and Prague…
Prague is a relatively new city. Up until the velvet revolution of 1989 it was still under communist and soviet influence, and then didn’t become the capitol of the Czech Republic until 1993 when Czechoslovakia split. Prague is still evolving, and i think Vzorkovna is the perfect example of this. It’s what a hipster bar in London wants to be, without the pretence and price! I’d visit here again and again and again, and I’m pretty sure it’d be a new adventure every time.
- All of them, and then try not to walk off a precipice…Or lose your fob, you don’t wanna see the scary booth man when he’s angry.