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Best of Prague 2012 results

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Reader and editor choices for the best the city has to offer

Best Music Club

Readers’ choice
Lucerna Music Bar

Lucerna.musicbar.cz

By no means a newcomer to Prague’s music scene, Lucerna Music Bar has hosted scores of acts international and local, novel and historical, since its opening around the turn of the last century. This 800-capacity concert club located inside the Lucerna passage was designed by the grandfather of Václav Havel. For 2013, the Lucerna Music Bar has already scheduled the legendary U.S. rockers Dinosaur Jr. for Feb. 18 and the supremely popular Mumford & Sons for March 6.


The Prague Post’s choice
MeetFactory

Meetfactory.cz

This multipurpose space was founded by the sculptor David Černý (think giant crawling babies) in Smíchov in 2001. For the location of his contemporary art center, Černý chose an industrial structure that at one point was one of the last locations of the Inwald glassworks companies. Now, it holds a gallery as well as a performance space.

 

Best Hotel

Readers’ choice
Hilton Prague

Hiltonprague.com

For those looking for a little extra luxury during their holiday, the Hilton is an obvious choice. Located in Prague 8, near the edge of the Vltava, the Hilton offers a total of 791 guest rooms, as well as a Congress Hall that can hold up to 1,500 people, a Hilton Grand Ballroom that can host 650 people, and 37 individual conference rooms, making it a sophisticated meeting place for Prague’s visitors.


The Prague Post’s choice
Kempinski

Kempinski.com/en/prague

This swanky, conveniently located space in Prague 1 is a relative newcomer to the city’s hospitality scene, but that doesn’t mean it’s not a contender for one of the best. Situated in a residential palace dating to the 17th century, the luxury hotel offers its guests 75 spacious chambers, most of which feature a separate living area with a kitchenette and places to sit, as well as large bathrooms with heated floors.

 

Best Financial Services

Readers’ choice
Raiffeisenbank

Rb.cz

Raiffeisenbank, a Viennese original, belongs to the RZB Group, the third-largest Austrian consumer financial institution. Its yellow-and-black logo can be found dotting not only Prague’s landscape, but throughout major cities in other Central and East European countries.


The Prague Post’s choice
Česká spořitelna

Csas.cz

Česká spořitelna is a bank that makes it a priority to cater to foreigners with expat services guaranteed in English, German and French. The Expat Center offers two customized financial packages that include features such as foreign exchange accounts, leasing and brokerage services, as well as handy fitness center, language school and dental clinic discounts.

 

Best Real Estate Agency

Readers’ choice
Bohemian Estates International

Bohemianestates.com

This investment property management service has offices in Prague, Brno and Ostrava. More than 400 landlords use Bohemian Estates International, perhaps because it’s an agency that seems to have it all, offering free analysis, exclusive properties and projects, vacation accommodations for those who would rather not stay in the hotels, full rental management, facility and building care, tenant sourcing, furniture solutions, and even installation of kitchens.


The Prague Post’s choice
SATPO

Satpo.cz

SATPO first appeared on the Czech market in 1994. Three years later, it began specializing in the construction of superior real estate projects in premium locales. Currently it is among the leading real estate agencies, with a solid position on the market. In 2011, its Rezidence Švédská, located in Prague 5, won the Association for the Development of the Property Market’s Best of Realty Award.

 

Best Taxi Service

Readers’ and The Prague Post’s choice
AAA Radio Taxi

Tel. 222 333 222

While it may not always be the best bang for your buck, AAA Radio Taxi consistently outranks its competitors in terms of service and cleanliness. One of the most convenient rides to and from Václav Havel Airport, the yellow cars have set pickup spots at the main railway station, and customers can get 47 percent discounts on return rides. No matter where you are in the city or what time it is, you can order a fast, reliable ride 24-7 by phone, SMS or email, a real convenience for those late nights when one drink turns into a few too many.

 

Best Airline

Readers’ choice
Czech Airlines

Csa.cz

The nation’s most widely used airline flies to 47 countries, with destinations in most major European and Asian cities. Although amenities are modest and prices can fluctuate depending on dates and times, long-haul international tickets are very competitive, and your boarding pass can get you a 30 percent discounts at museums, restaurants and shops throughout Prague.


The Prague Post’s choice
SmartWings

Smartwings.com

This low-cost airline has its central offices at Havel. Established in 2008, it is owned by the Travel Service, an 85 percent subsidiary of Icelandair Group. SmartWings offers flights to Cyprus, Israel, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Bulgaria, France, Greece, Brno, Ostrava and many more destinations. In mid-December, the airline will also start flying to Miami, Florida, in the United States.

 

Best School

Readers’ choice
Prague British School

Pbschool.cz

This multigrade school, located in Prague 6 and 4, recently celebrated its anniversary under the banner “20 Years of Excellence.” Kamýk, in Prague 4, is the main site, housing the primary and senior school. Vlastina, a new location in Prague 6 acquired in 2008, is for children aged 3 to 11. Combined, enrollment has risen from the six initial pupils to more than 850 in total.


The Prague Post’s choice
Riverside

Riversideschool.cz

With a newly constructed modern sports facility added to its Prague 6–Sedlec location, Riverside takes learning beyond the classroom. Accredited by the Council of International Schools, Riverside’s Skills for Life Program teaches children what they need to know outside of regular learning hours: golf, pony riding, swimming and water sports. The parent-teacher associations are essential to life at Riverside School, and the calendar is packed with events to which the whole family is invited, which makes integrating in a foreign country much more comfortable.

 

Best Bookstore

Readers’ choice
Neoluxor

Neoluxor.cz

Billed as “the largest bookstore in the Czech Republic,” Neoluxor’s biggest outlet on Wenceslas Square is a multifloor emporium that specializes in Czech-language literature but that also offers a large selection of English options, from the latest novels to travel guides, history, coffee-table tomes and Prague writing. Other locations are dotted around the city center, including in the Palladium and Nový Smíchov shopping centers.


The Prague Post’s choice
The Globe Bookstore & Café

Pštrossova 6, Prague 1–New Town. Tel. 224 934 203. Globebookstore.cz

The Globe is the kind of bookstore and café that many people think about when they daydream about traveling through Europe with a rucksack and a journal. With a wide selection of English-language books, magazines and newspapers, this is the type of place where you could spend a whole afternoon. Also offering regular readings, concerts and film screenings, The Globe is an English-language cultural beacon in Prague.

 

Best Performing Arts Theater

Readers’ choice
The National Theater

Ostrovní 1, Prague 1–New Town. Tel. 224 901 448. Narodni-divadlo.cz

One cannot overemphasize the beauty and grandeur of the National Theater, a 130-year-old building that is the ideal destination for the best performances, including ballet, drama, opera and concerts. There is no theater more beloved by Czechs, and for good reason. Besides its regular cast of local stage and music stars, the National Theater also regularly invites distinguished foreign performers, set designers and choreographers. If you’re just visiting Prague, or if you’re a long-term resident seeking a dose of culture, look no further than the National Theater.


The Prague Post’s choice
Švandovo divadlo

Štefánikova 57, Prague 5. Tel. 234 651 111. Svandovodivadlo.cz

This Smíchov theater house is a classic, if small, venue. With a history that dates to the late 1800s, and much of it seeing changes in names and edifice, the theater has operated under its current moniker since 2002. One of Prague’s semi-budgetary organizations, the theater hosts mainly dramas and the works of contemporary composers. It consists of 16 members, including, among others, Filip Čapka, Petra Hřebíčková, Viktor Limr, Zuzana Onufráková and Stanislav Saarland.

 

Best Art Gallery

Readers’ choice
DOX Gallery

Poupetova 1, Prague 7–Holešovice. Tel. 295 568 123. Dox.cz

DOX has established itself in a short period of time as the leading private exhibition hall in Prague. Complete renovations and constructions were finished last year, giving way to ambitious exhibitions such as the “Amor Psyche Action — Vienna” show about Austrian Actionism, “Cartographies of Hope: Change Narratives,” and the too-soon-deceased Czech-American artist Jan Jakub Kotík’s “Forces of Resistance,” hanging until Jan. 7.


The Prague Post’s choice
Galerie La Femme

Bílkova 2, Prague 1. Tel. 224 812 656. Glf.cz

This tiny art space was established in 2000 in the middle of Old Town, across from the InterContinental Hotel. As the name may suggest, it focuses mainly on women in their many forms and reincarnations. Galerie La Femme includes in its database more than 300 artists, mostly of contemporary Czech authors, including, among others, names like Jirků, Brewer, Chabera, Brichcín and Rittstein, to name only a few.

 

Best Health& Wellness Center

Readers’ choice
Holmes Place

Holmesplace.cz

Holmes Place is among the best gyms in Prague not only thanks to its top-of-the-line equipment with cardio zones packed with treadmills and step-mills incorporating TV screens running English-language programs, but also for its spa offerings like Jacuzzis, sauna and steam rooms. A wide variety of classes, personal trainers and a convenient membership program are also a big draw for fitness enthusiasts. The Smíchov and Černý Most branches also offer kid’s classes and a childcare center. Free day passes are available for those who want to try out the facility first.


The Prague Post’s choice
World Class

Worldclass.cz

Located in the very center of Prague, on Wenceslas Square, as well as elsewhere in the city, World Class offers high-performance equipment and personal trainers who speak English. It has programs to suit the needs of everyone who may be trying to get in shape, from the average couch potato to the experienced Olympian. Each location also offers a variety of programs such as the ever-popular Zumba, Pilates and yoga, but also specially designed classes like Booty Express and Core Express. For those looking for something extra, the Health Academy branch has a hot tub and a swimming pool.

 

Best Shopping Center

Readers’ choice
Palladium

Nám. Republiky 1, Prague 1–New Town. Tel. 225 770 250. Palladiumpraha.cz

Praised for its location, quality of goods and range of shops and services, Palladium remains a favorite for visitors and locals alike. Boasting both international and Czech brands such as the popular fashion chain Pietro Filipi, the multilevel shopping center has something for everyone. Hungry? The top floor is home to a variety of restaurants not typically found in malls, like Tretter’s Café, the Indian Chanchala, the Lebanese El Emir, the Uruguayan steakhouse Las Ruinas and Argus Steak House.


The Prague Post’s choice
Centrum Chodov

Roztylská 19, Prague 4–Chodov. Tel. 272 173 600. Centrumchodov.cz

Only 15 minutes by metro from Prague’s main shopping area around Wenceslas Square, the Centrum Chodov shopping mall boasts the greatest variety with the largest amount of retail in the country, making the trek a rewarding experience. In addition to popular chain stores like Spain’s Bershka, or Pull & Bear, you can find services like hairdressers, shoe cleaners, mobile operators and travel agencies. The food court is also worth the trip, with decent prices for quality eats.

 

Best Café

Readers’ choice
Café Café

Rytířská 10, Prague 1–Old Town. Tel. 224 210 597. Open daily 10 a.m.–10 p.m. Cafe-cafe.cz

This bright space mixes just the right amount of the traditional with the modern, with exposed-brick walls and industrial fixtures, and a winning menu of memorable risottos and salads — and of course cakes! A laid-back spot equally as suitable for an afternoon coffee or evening drinks in the heart of Old Town, with a lounge soundtrack that transitions day to night. Packed out at most times, so it’s no surprise this was the top pick among readers.


The Prague Post’s choice
Café Louvre

Národní 22, Prague 1–New Town. Tel. 224 930 949. Open Mon. –Fri. 8 a.m.–11:30 p.m., Sat.–Sun. 9 a.m.–11:30 p.m. Cafelouvre.cz

Consistently voted best for several years, Café Louvre has an even longer history of being one of Prague’s most sought-after places for refreshment and intellectual stimulation. Its combination of storied glamour and effortless hipness make it a go-to place for a taste of class — as well as a taste of some truly great cakes, breakfasts and just about everything else.

 

Best Bar (Pub)

Readers’ choice
Red Room

Myslíkova 28, Prague 1–New Town. Tel. 222 520 084. Open Tues.–Thurs. 6 p.m.–1 a.m., Fri. 6 p.m.–2 a.m., Sat. 7 p.m.–2 a.m., Sun. 7 p.m.–1 a.m. Redroom.cz

There’s a certain taste of red, white and blue at the Red Room, a dusky music bar close to Karlovo náměstí popular with students and American expats. Live music and open mic up front, foosball and lounging at the back. Cheap cocktails and Staropramen by the pitcher keep the crowds fueled till the early hours.


The Prague Post’s choice
Vzorkovna

Bartolomějská 13, Prague 1–Old Town. Open daily 3–11 p.m. No telephone.

Since opening just over a year ago, this pub/impromptu art gathering is hard to spot from the street, but inside is a whole other world. Every time is different, as the furniture moves around and who knows what instruments or video loop will be playing. A stove in the work-in-progress room keeps things cozy in the candlelight, and the golden Únětické lager flows from the taps until late.

 

Best Sports Bar

Readers’ choice
Belushi’s

Odboru 4, Prague 2–New Town. Tel. 221 595 350. Open daily 7 a.m.–11:30 p.m. Belushis.com/bars/prague

Belushi’s, located in the Mosaic House hotel and hostel, has everything any sports fan (or nonfan) could want in a sports bar. Large-screen televisions show the not-to-be-missed games, while a regular lineup of live music and DJs keeps things interesting. The menu includes classics like burgers, wings and tortillas, and special deals on cocktails.


The Prague Post’s choice
Jáma

V Jámě 7, Prague 1–New Town. Tel. 222 967 081. Open daily 11 a.m.–1 a.m. Jamapub.cz

Love it or leave it, Jáma has long been a Prague mainstay, and also a darn-good place to watch American football and baseball, as well as soccer and other international sports events on the big screens. It even feels like an American bar, so what better place to kick back for a couple hours and sup on some beers (choose from the 11 types on tap) and feast on burgers, nachos and burritos. When not tuning into the sports, Jáma plays some pretty fine classic tunes.

 

Best Czech Restaurant

Readers’ choice
Lokál

Dlouhá 33, Prague 1–Old Town (one other location). Tel. 222 316 265. Open Mon.–Fri. 11 a.m.–1 a.m., Sat. noon–1 a.m., Sun. noon–10 p.m. Lokal-dlouha.ambi.cz

Lokál has become such a staple for quality Czech food that it’s hard to remember all those years before it existed. The Ambiente Group sure knows what it’s doing, and the Lokál chain (there are two locations, in Old Town and Malá Strana, with another one on the way in the suburb of Kunratice) takes on a Slow Food approach to classic local cuisine in a modernized take of the classic pub, complete with fresh Pilsner Urquell straight from the tank.


The Prague Post’s choice
Plzeňská restaurace

Nám. Republiky 5, Prague 1–New Town. Tel. 222 002 770. Open daily 11:30 a.m.–11 p.m. Plzenskarestaurace.cz

Gilded and grand may not be the first words to spring to mind when thinking about Czech food, but this Art Nouveau restaurant inside the star-studded Municipal House elevates meat-and-dumplings to fine dining. International and vegetarian specialties round out the menu.

 

Best Asian restaurant

Readers’ choice
SaSaZu

Bubenské nábř. 13, Prague 7–Holešovice. Tel. 284 097 455. Open Sun.–Thurs. noon–midnight, Fri.–Sat. noon–1 a.m. Sasazu.com

Consistently ranked a favorite among locals and visitors alike, SaSaZu takes the best from the worlds of restaurants and the worlds of nightclubs. The incredible interiors evoke words like lavish and creative, and the same can be said of its Asian fusion offerings, which span a variety of Asian cuisines — from Thai to Japanese to Philippine to Malaysian. Once sated, head next door for the latest lineup of DJs and innovative performance art.


The Prague Post’s choice
Indian Jewel

Týn 6, Prague 1–Old Town. Tel. 222 310 156. Open daily 11 a.m.–11 p.m. Indianjewel.cz

Plenty of other curry houses have popped up around Prague in recent years, but the fine-dining experience of Indian Jewel, located just a stone’s throw from Old Town Square, makes it this year’s choice for Best Asian Restaurant. Consistently quality Indian specialties are served in a beautiful arched-ceilinged dining room, and, in summer, the outdoor terrace, lit by colorful lanterns, is one of the most enjoyable spots in the city center.

 

Best Italian Restaurant

Readers’ choice
Grosseto

Grosseto.cz

This chain of Italian eateries in Prague has something of a Midas touch, and all of its locations across the city are packed to the gills most nights. All branches boast affordable and quality pastas and pizzas in a family-friendly atmosphere, and the Grosseto Marina, which is on a converted barge on the Vltava next to Mánes Bridge, has stunning views of Prague Castle and a great atmosphere at any time of the year.


The Prague Post’s choice
VinoDiVino

Štupartská 19, Prague 1–Old Town. Tel. 221 311 791. Open daily noon–10 p.m. Vinodivino.cz

With freshly imported seafood every day and a jaw-dropping selection of Italian wines to choose from, VinoDiVino hits a winning combo. Its changing specials highlight the best of regional Italian cuisine, and the intimate dining area’s front-row view of the chefs at work in the open kitchen make the result all the sweeter.


Best Fine Dining

Readers’ choice
CzecHouse

Pobřežní 1, Prague 8–Karlín. Tel. 224 842 700. Open daily 6–11 p.m. Hiltonprague.com

This upscale grill and rotisserie restaurant in the Prague Hilton has consistently ranked highest as a much-loved treat. The kitchen does true wonders with Czech cuisine, taking traditional elements and throwing in a splash of modernity with a twist of ingenuity that is inspiringly successful. The hotel’s flagship restaurant also emphasizes fresh seafood, cooked on a stone grill.


The Prague Post’s choice
Zlatá Praha

Pařížská 30, Prague 1–Old Town. Tel. 296 630 914. Open daily 6–11:30 p.m. Zlatapraharestaurant.cz

Perched atop the Hotel InterContinental, Zlatá Praha is not for the faint of heart or budget; its prices are as soaring as the panoramic views over the capital. But the results are worth it, with confident creations that make the most of international cuisine, with a focus on fresh ingredients and Central European specialties.

 

Best Beer

Readers’ choice
Pilsner Urquell

Pilsner-urquell.cz

Yet again, the biggest of the big boys garners the top slot for Best Beer. Despite all the increased competition from other breweries and microbreweries, there’s clearly still considerable demand for Pilsner Urquell.


Best Microbrew:

Únětické 12°

Unetickypivovar.cz

The Únětický Pivovar has gone from strength to strength since opening in June 2010, and its crisp and beautiful 12-degree lager, unfiltered and unpasteurized, has melted many a beer lover’s heart. While the brewery, just north of Prague, is worth a visit, Únětické can be sampled at pubs across the city.

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