The Art Nouveau Cafés of Prague

I love a good latte…. and I knew that when I got to Prague, I was going to find a very good coffee from the plethora of coffee shops that have sprung up in the last few years.

There are hundreds of cafés (or what the Czech call “Kavarna”), virtually everywhere in Prague, and there seems to be one on every street corner.  As the City has become progressively cosmopolitan, the number of trendy cafés has risen and after walking around all the tourist sights, it’s nice to sit in one preferably with a bit of history.  Most of them serve great tasting coffee, and also offer an amazing array of pastries and cakes to rival that of any in Paris or Vienna.

Pastries and Gateau

Pastries and Gateau

Café Culture

The café culture in Prague was at its height in the late 19th century to the 1930’s, when the coffee bars in the city allowed a place where writers, political activists and artists could meet.  Lots of these cafés were in a sorry state after WWII but a handful are still standing or have been resurrected to the glory of their Art Nouveau heyday.

Here are four of the most impressively ornate ones that I had on my list to visit, that have been lovingly renovated.

Café Imperial

This café originally opened in 1914 and was completely restored to its former glory in 2007.  It shows a perfect example of Art Nouveau tiling with the ceiling and walls decorated in mosaics, ceramics, bas-relief figures and sculptured panels, and fabulous original light fittings.  The coffee and cakes are great, and the menu offers an all day American and English breakfast as well as a vast choice from the menu.  As you can see the restaurant is gorgeous. I really loved just staring at the mosaic of blue and purple flowers on the ceiling while I waited for my French Onion Soup.

French Onion Soup in the Cafe Imperial

French Onion Soup in the Cafe Imperial

Bas-Relief Clock

Bas-Relief Clock

Sculptured Figures

Sculptured Figures

The Seating Area

The Seating Area

The Cafe Interior

The Cafe Interior

Address:  Na Poříčí 15, 110 00 Praha 1 – Open from 7:00 to 23:00.

Cafe Imperial Website

Café Louvre

You’ll find the Café Louvre on the second floor of this old building, with several rooms including a restaurant, a billiard room, a terrace, a café as well as cozy lounges to sit in while enjoying your coffee and watching passers-by from the large bay windows. When it first opened in 1902, the Café Louvre was one of Prague’s top cafés.   Franz Kafka used to come here with his friends and Albert Einstein even frequented this café during his stay in Prague in 1911-1912.

The Cafe reopened in 1992 after an extensive renovation, with its rose pink paint and cream mouldings on the walls, and its lowered archways, the Louvre exudes the atmosphere of cafés from the Austro-Hungarian Empire.   It’s always packed with both locals and tourists alike, especially at breakfast time. They offer daily lunch specials for reasonable prices and you won’t have to spend a fortune when dining here.  This historic Parisian-style café is a place for a great coffee, and by the way, their choice of cakes is fantastic!

The Exterior

The Exterior

Chocolate Cake!

Chocolate Cake!

The Cafe Louvre

The Cafe Louvre

The Rose Walls of the Interior

The Rose Walls of the Interior

Cosy seating area in the Cafe Louvre

Cosy seating area in the Cafe Louvre

The Billiard Room

The Billiard Room

Address: Národní třída 20, Old Town – Open from 8:00 to 11.30 Monday to Friday and 9:00 to 11:30 on Saturday and Sunday

Cafe Louvre Website

Café Savoy

The coffee I had in here came in the biggest white china cup that I’ve ever seen, it was huge!  It was also beautifully presented on a silver tray and it cost less than £2!  Built in 1893 and then renovated in 2004, this café has a Baroque style charm, with its bright, ornately embellished ceiling adorned with glamorous chandeliers and shelves full of wine bottles to give it a contemporary feel.  The waiting staff are all attired in matching red ties and waistcoats.  It serves lovely coffee, rich hot chocolate and has a bakery at the bottom of the premises with a glass wall where you can watch the bakers at work.  The food is amazing here and there’s a great choice including a fabulous breakfast.

Cafe au Lait

Cafe au Lait

Cake at the Cafe Savoy

Cake at the Cafe Savoy

Interior of the Cafe Savoy

Interior of the Cafe Savoy

The Bakery

The Bakery

The Wine Wall

The Wine Wall

Address: Vítězná 5, Lesser Town – Open from 08:00 to 22:30 Monday to Friday and from 09:00 to 22.30 on Saturdays and Sundays;

Cafe Savoy Website

Grand Café Orient

Otherwise known as the House of the Black Madonna, this café is quite a sight to see for art lovers as it’s the sole cubist café in Prague, and was conceived by the architect Josef Gočár.  The café is found on the first floor of this old building and is decorated in the cubist style right to the tiniest detail, including the coat-hooks and lampshades.  It was renovated by the new owners and opened again in 2005, having been shut since 1920!

It serves good coffee and the simple menu lists cakes, sandwiches and a variety of sweet pancakes.  In summer, the shady balcony overlooking busy Celetná street is an excellent place to rest after a shopping spree.

The Museum of Cubism is located on the upper floors of the building so if you’re a fan of Picasso, you need to see it.

The Exterior of the Grand Cafe Orient

The Exterior of the Grand Cafe Orient

The Black Madonna

The Black Madonna

French Style Patisserie

French Style Patisserie

The Interior of the Grand Cafe Orient

The Interior of the Grand Cafe Orient

Original Cubist Coat Hooks

Original Cubist Coat Hooks

Address: Grand Café Orient, Ovocný trh 19, 110 00 Praha 1 – Open from 09:00 to 22:00 Monday to Friday, and from 10:00 to 22:00 Saturday and Sunday.

Grand Cafe Orient website

Travel Tips for visiting Prague:

I travelled on a direct flight to Prague Airport from London Heathrow by British Airways which took around 2.5 hours.

 

Author: Debbie

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