Prague is my favourite city for a manmade beauty. It is known mainly for its beautiful architecture, cobbled narrow streets, vibrant night life and also as a great place to have a well-priced jug of excellent beer. The Czech Republic has also a long history in making wine and considering the recent enthusiasm of a creative bunch of small local winemakers, now it is also the perfect time to try a glass or two of Czech wine. Here, follows my critical selection the best Best wine bars in Prague where you can enjoy wines from Mělník, Moravia, but also from the neighbouring Austria, Germany and France, which was the initial impetus for one Czech king to plant the first vines in Prague some eleven centuries ago.
In the Velvet Revolution spirit, this metropolis in the central Europe has experienced another, yet wine revolution, recently. One can get high-quality local wines as well as international stars from France, Italy, Spain, California, Australia, Argentina, Chile, just to name a few. Some of the country’s oldest vineyards were also replanted.
I come to my country’s magnificent capital frequently, so I would like to share what I think together with my sister, a local sommelier, and her colleagues in the wine industry, the Best Prague’s wine bars.
At first, a tiny but so cozily snug wine bar in the vicinity of the ancient Charles Bridge, Vinograf reminds to be the most old Prague authentic of the wine bars in Prague. This is the place where you meet your friend for that casual evening out or finish your dinner after dining at one of the nearby restaurants (such as U Zlaté Studny = Golden Well). Here nobody cares if you wear a nice dress after a fancy dinner, or jeans with sneakers. This bohemian dress code remains one of the charms of Prague. Vinograf is co-owned by one of the most distinguished Czech sommeliers Klara Kollarova. She cut her wine teeth at the first Czech Michelin stared restaurant La Degustation Boheme, therefore attention to detail, be it very casual, is assured. Selected wines from smaller Czech and Moravian producers are the most attractive feature of her very first relaxed wine bar.
Now, the business is growing, as she opened a third location. The biggest Vinograf is conveniently cushioned from the human buzz around the Municipal House on Senovážné náměstí (disclosure: my sister works there as a sommelier) and another in Angel, the popular commercial shopping and office district. Both of the newer Vinografs are more contemporary, much larger and offer a wide selection of international wines next to an extensive food menu. The homemade duck pate and Czech farms cheese are must try. The experienced team of sommeliers (all of the staff are sommeliers and waiters in one) as well as a practical tablet wine list offer mostly mid-range priced bottles, but also tempting regularly changing wines by the glass.
Míšeňská 8, Prague 1, Senovážné náměstí (square), Prague 2
+420 214 214 681 | email@example.com
Old Vinograf: Daily 4pm-midnight; New locations open also for lunch Mon-Sat
Veltlín natural wine bar
Owned by Bogdan Trojak, also a wine maker, poet and writer, Veltlín is in the hands of a multi-skilled artist. The tiny wine bar cum boutique features wines by a group of the Czech natural winemakers who call themselves “Autentisté” (Authentic winemakers) as well as other wines made in the lands of the former Austro-Hungarian Empire. Wines made with the environment and the expression of the terroir in mind can be bought, tasted or savoured in long sips on the premises. All either low or containing no sulphites and other chemicals altering the wines’ natural character. During the warm season there are also tables outside. Sitting on a sunny day under the leafy trees, right on the pavement of the eclectic Křižíkova street in Karlin just feels so authentic, like a local resident hanging out at his wine canteen.
Křižíkova, Karlín, Prague 3
+420 777 082 316 | firstname.lastname@example.org
Mon-Sat 5pm – 11pm
If you are really into wine and hanging out with the local wine trade than have a sandwich or hotdog at Naše Maso in the Gourmet Passage Dlouhá, a glass of Italian wine at the wine bar inside the passage, and then head around the corner to Bokovka. Under the wings of sommelier Roman Novotný, also like Klára an ex-sommelier at the Michelin stared La Degustation Boheme, the once creative friends’ wine club moved to a new rustic location of a courtyard with an art gallery. As the trained palates and creative heads of the local artists who co-founded Bokovka and sommeliers direct the inventory, here you come to drink a bottle or two, not just a glass. Novotný has penchant for natural wines, that he tends to stock on, but you will find many other bottles from around the world. From the Czecho-Moravian cellars I can recommend the whites from Dobrá Vinice, Jakub Novák the wines from Gala Vinařství, Sonberk, … and if you feel adventurous try some on the grape skin macerated orange wines. From the reds try the Czech grape varietal Frankovka or the Bordeaux Blend Skale from Pavel Springer. With the wine the cheese from the well-stocked “fromagerie” and small snacks like sardines with a slice of bread complete the hedonistic creative symposia held at Bokovka.
The Augustine Hotel
Although more known for its creative cocktails and an incredible artisanal beer made according to the centuries old recipe of the resident Augustinian monks, the Lichfield Cafe-Bar at this five-star hotel is perhaps the most stylish bar in Prague. Its elegant interior with vaulted ceilings and very comfortable sofas is the nicest as well as the priciest place to have a drink. The staff is professional and has a variety of wines by the glass, just ask what they have as they change the selection quite often. Tapas and cakes are of top quality and perfect with either the wines or tea. The bar is usually not packed so it is an ideal romantic and elegant date cocoon. Plus, during the warmer months the vaulted garden of the monastery offers the ideal refuge with refreshments from the Malá Strana (Lesser Quarter) tourist crowds.
The Augustine, Letenská 12/33, Prague 1
As it is a hotel it’s open until very late, until the guests are drinking
A romantic setting in a charming Baroque house and an ambitious wine project sets Grand Cru apart from its Prague wine siblings. The wine list is curated by the award-winning (best sommelier in the Czech Republic) Jakub Přibyl and is focused on the old world (European) wines, mainly from France. Most of the bottles come just from the best vineyards and producers. You will find older vintages of Mouton Rotschield and Château Latour with a reasonable mark-up, yet with a slight catch – the ‘shape’ of the wine is not guaranteed, so if the wine is oxidised, corked or in any other way defected you still have to pay for it. In Paris, there is a casual wine bar in the Latin Quarter taking a similar approach with their ‘last bottle’. Take it or leave it, there are still other wines waiting for you in the glass cellars set in the sturdy wall. Some bottles come from Germany, Italy as well as the Czech Republic, while about 10 wines are served by the glass (from the enomatic dispensers). Across a small garden, an international restaurant headed by the former chef from the gastronomic Le Terroir, is connected to the bar, and you can order small, often meaty, snacks of top quality with your wines. The homemade sausages are the highlight.
Lodecká 1181/4, 110 00 Prague 1
+420 775 044 076
Mon-Fri from 5pm-2am (weekends can be discussed)
The Winebar & brasserie
A more modern design in a new location of the former romantic Winebar near the Petřín hill. For the hungry wine drinkers a selection of farmers’ cheeses, olives, hams and other wine-friendly delicacies including the casually Francophile main dishes such as steak tartare can accompany the wines. Although the wine span captures the main European vineyard regions, Burgundy has a special spot in the heart of the owners.
Arbesovo Namesti 7, Prague 5
+420 608 823 432
Mon-Fri 12noon-3pm & 6pm-11pm; Sat 6pm-11pm
As in any big city, every year new businesses open, some are better, challenging the established Best wine bars in Prague, and this means that once in a while I come back to this selection and adjust it a bit. I have been changing this list for over five years now, but one wine bar still remains in the leading fleet – Vinograf, and it is not just because my sister works there, but as the online guest reviews confirm, this is not just mine biased opinion.