Prague is a city of meeting points: east and west, old and new, ornate and understated, meticulously restored and graffitied. The city is small—you can explore most of it in a day. It’s charming, and during prime tourist season, crowded. Prague’s architecture also has a sort of Disney World feel. For that reason, the city’s cafes feel like havens in a storm—they are windows into the everyday Prague—the native city frequented by residents alone.
That’s not to say that the tourist’s Prague isn’t worth a visit. It is. There’s the Astronomical Clock and Tyn Church in Old Town, Wenceslas Square in New Town, and the Charles Bridge on the way to Mala Strana and Prague Castle. They are destinations that make Prague itself. Tyn Church’s high Gothic architecture makes it look like Maleficent’s castle. Wenceslas Square is where Vaclav Havel addressed the people at the end of the Velvet Revolution to welcome the end of Communism. And Prague Castle is not just impressive but also affords some of the best views of the city.
The city doesn’t seem to really wake up until mid-morning, so if you rise a little early, it’s likely you’ll only have to share these spots with a few other people—or possibly with no one but yourself. But be advised, Prague’s late wakeup time also applies to most cafes. Of course, they also tend to stay open later and usually serve beer and wine in addition to coffee.
Speaking of beer, or pivo, it’s cheap, abundant, and really good in Prague. So is gulas (think goulash), knedliky (bread dumplings), and schnitzel. And so, of course, is coffee.
Whatever you’re looking for, this guide will help you navigate Prague’s streets and abundant green spaces in its pursuit at the city’s various cafes.
EMA Espresso Bar
Conveniently located near the city’s main train station, EMA can easily be your entree into Prague’s coffee scene. Owned by roastery Alf&Bet along with two other businesses, including the Cafe Lounge and EMA II, EMA is a bustling cafe that retains a laidback air despite high traffic. Unusually, EMA doesn’t just serve Alf&Bet coffee, but also JB Kaffe, SlowMov, Drop, Candycane, Double Shot, and Gardelli.
A La Marzocco Strada produces two daily espresso options on EMA’s menu. They use a Moccamaster, V60, and AeroPress for drip coffee, and offer a food menu of mostly sandwiches, salads, and baked goods. If you’re craving something else, EMA is just a block away from Manifesto Market.
EMA is certainly known by visitors to the city, but as barista and sensory development coach Anna Markova says, EMA is still a Czech hangout and meeting spot.
Tucked into the residential part of the Bubenec neighborhood right behind Prague Castle, Misto achieves the intimacy of a Victorian house while still remaining light, bright, and open. Illustrator Katerina Kynclova’s colorful hand-drawn wallpaper and simple Scandi-mod furniture help to open up the private feel of the space.
Misto exclusively serves coffee from its own roastery, Double Shot, which also has four other locations, one of which is in the aforementioned Manifesto Market. They offer batch brew made on a Marco Shuttle Brewer or single cups of coffee made with a rotating selection of brewing methods—Clever, V60, or AeroPress. The bar sports a Kees van der Westen Spirit Triplette. Misto features table service, not unlike many Czech cafes, and offers excellent food, baked goods, and alcohol menus.
Their coffee menu changes constantly, and always includes a featured drink. Ask long-time Double Shot barista and green buyer Ondrej Hurtik what his favorite Irish coffee is at the moment—during a recent visit, it was a concoction of Nikka Japanese whiskey, coconut blossom nectar sugar, and Double Shot’s washed Burundi or Ethiopia espresso. They also serve coffee flights with an accompanying palette quiz!
OneSip is delightfully tiny and invites the use of the word “quaint.” Though the cafe owners Adam Gaszczyk and Zdenek Hybl founded their own roastery, Candycane, in 2017, the cafe has continued to use Round Hill Roastery’s coffee in addition to its own. In fact, OneSip was Eddie Twitchett’s first international Round Hill wholesale account. Though small, everything about this cafe has a thoughtful and bespoke feel, from the beverages served to their Acme cups. A Kees van der Westen Mirage Idrocompresso is the focal point of OneSip’s bar—batch brew is made with a FETCO. Baked goods come from Cafe Jen and are accompanied by a selection of Ajala chocolate bars.
Though located in the heart of Old Town, this cafe is on a quiet side street. Looking through its open window, past the bouquet of fresh flowers, you can fool yourself into thinking you’re in a much smaller city than Prague, despite the popular club, a gigantic shopping center, and Old Town Hilton all within walking distance.
Just between Narodni Muzeum and Namesti Miru sits Double B. A perfect space to chill and do work, this cafe has window seats with tables custom made to suit. Double B is actually a Russian coffee house franchise, with locations in Russia and several countries throughout Europe and the Middle East. While Double B has a couple of locations in Prague, this one is the oldest and is also home to their roastery, which supplies coffee to their cafes and many of their wholesale accounts outside of Russia.
Part-owner and manager Evelyn Beinarovicha says each cafe is designed differently, according to the owner’s taste, but all of them have the same bar. There is no batch brew here, because Beinarovicha, “Likes to prepare every coffee in a special way.” V60, AeroPress, Bonavita, and Lungo are all offered alongside a menu of seasonal drinks made with in-house syrups and flavors. In summer, the cafe has a large outdoor terrace and is always dog-friendly.
Nestled in Old Town, just south of the Sex Machines Museum between Charles and Legion Bridge is Original Coffee. A minimalist, sans-serif, Kinfolk-y vibe reminds you of the apartments of those friends (everyone has them) who have Etsy shops and use their apartments to shoot beautiful product photographs.
The walls here are white and display polaroid photos hung on twine with binder clips as well as local artists’ work. Original serves its own roastery’s coffee, which has beautifully nice packaging. Filter coffee comes courtesy of a Moccamaster, AeroPress, Chemex, V60, or French press. Espresso is made on a Fiorenzato Ducale. Homemade lemonades and special hot chocolates are also on the menu, as well as soups, sandwiches, pastries, beer, and wine. Even on the busiest days, Original feels tucked away from the madding crowd.
Dos Mundos Cafe
Dos Mundos has a cafe/roastery located near Namesti Miru, as well as a cafe near Stromovka Park, Exhibition Palace, and, fittingly, Coffee Museum Prague. The lattermost cafe has some beautiful graphic design elements, including a black and white wall mural, unique floor tiles, and gold-accented built-in shelves, giving the place a clean design and modern feel. Plus, there are swing seats. Yes, you read that correctly. Some of the seats in the cafe are actually red swings suspended from the ceiling.
The cafe exclusively serves Dos Mundos coffee. Every day it features two filter coffees, both as batch brew made on a Moccamaster and also as V60 and AeroPress. They also offer cold brew made in a drip tower. A San Remo Opera espresso machine fronts the bar. Like many cafes, they also serve beer and wine as well as pastries. The surrounding neighborhood has some excellent examples of Brutalist architecture and just around the corner is Mr. HotDoG, a cheap and great spot for anyone who comes down with a craving for that particularly American cuisine. Dos Mundos is the perfect haven to enjoy a refreshing drink after exploring nearby parks and museums on a hot day.
La Boheme Cafe: owned by an American and located near Namesti Miru, the cafe has a shabby chic eclectic vibe and exclusively serves its own coffee, each order of which comes with an information card.
Urban Cafe: walking distance to EMA Espresso Bar, Urban Cafe has a cool design and an industrial feel with a feature wall of plants and neon purple lights. They serve Fjord Coffee from Berlin.
Rachel Grozanick is a freelance journalist based in Portland, Oregon. Grozanick has contributed previously to Bitch Magazine, 90.5 WESA in Pittsburgh, and 90.7 KBOO in Portland. Read more Rachel Grozanick on Sprudge.