One of Europe's top tourist destinations, this beautiful city is a must for gay adventurers.
The capital of the Czech Republic, Prague is an architectural gem. With a millennium of history carved in stone, the "City of 100 Spires" is a fairytale-like wonderland on the Vltava River. Originally five separate towns, Prague’s historic center has eye-popping sights around every corner. The grimy faded-glory aspects of post-Communist Prague have now all but disappeared. Restored treasures recall the glorious First Republic pre-war years, when the city enjoyed the highest living standards of Europe. The generation that came of age since 1989, artists, designers and entrepreneurs, have created one of the most modern but liveable cities now found anywhere.
Prague also has by far the largest, most stylish, and most international nightlife for gay people in Eastern Europe, with dozens of gay bars, nightclubs, cafes, sex clubs and saunas, plus some of the world's finest local brews. And make no mistake about it, Czechs of every disposition do like to party. Often as strikingly handsome as the guys in Bel Ami videos, they're an outgoing, uninhibited, and refreshingly forthright people.
Venturing just a bit off the beaten path can lead to some surprisingly exotic encounters. Outside the tourist areas, you'll find fewer places where people speak anything other than Czech. But find a common tongue, or improvise a new one over a few beers, and you'll have some truly engaging experiences.
Sexual conformity is far less common in Prague than elsewhere in the Czech Republic. Straight and gay worlds are more integrated here than in other European cities, so relationships and identity are less likely to be labeled one way or another. While there have been same-sex registered partnerships since 2006, the street celebrations are a more recent affair, with the city's gay pride festivities, including a parade and festival, set to take place August 12-18, 2013. Rainbow flags are more rarely displayed at other times, but public spaces remain places where people aren’t afraid to strike up a conversation with a stranger. With a modicum of courtesy you're unlikely to offend anyone by taking an interest in another person, sexually or otherwise.
Prague's Ruzyne Airport, the country's main international gateway, is about 10 miles northwest of the city center. Taxis to the center can be pricey, around $35 to $40. Shuttle buses and municipal buses are cheaper options. Single trip tickets give you 90 minutes and multiple transfers to get to your destination for just 32 Kč (a buck fifty). A one or multi-day pass, bought at the terminal, can be used both for transit into town and for 24 hour periods after validation (on the bus), anywhere in the city, bus, tram or metro. Day passes cost 110 Kč. Look for bus number 119, alongside the terminal for a 20-minute trip to the Dejvická Metro station, departing every 10-20 minutes.
The main train station, near Wenceslas Square, has connections with most major European cities. The trip to or from Berlin takes just under 5 hours. See the Czech Railways website for services.
The Prague Metro system of 60 km, with three lines and 57 stations, is said to be the most-used in the world on a per capita basis. Above ground, the tram lines run frequently most everywhere between the Metro stations. Most of the businesses catering to gay travelers are near four Metro stations, all on the green line: Mustek, Muzeum, Namesti Miru, and Jiriho z Podebrad.
Single-trip or one- to five-day pass tickets can be purchased at Metro stations or convenience stores. A half-hour ticket goes for 24 Kč (validate in the yellow box on board); 32 Kč gives you 90 minutes; and 110 Kč day passes are good for the 24 hours after being stamped. Validate just once, but keep your ticket safe and ready for an inspector, should one ask for it. Separate 16 Kč tickets must be bought for a dog, and for any luggage item larger than typical airline carry-on size, up to and including 25x45x70 cm.
Many tram lines have night service after midnight, and departure times are listed at the stops. Keep an eye on the tram number displayed up front as detours for track work or special events are announced only in Czech on the PA system. Follow passing stations on your map or risk going out of your way. Check the DPP website for full route and fare information in Czech, English and German. The Public Transport Museum is open in 2013 on weekends through November 17th, at the old tram depot building in Střešovice, Prague 6.
Currency and Money
The local currency is the koruna, or crown, usually represented by the symbol Kč. Plans to adopt the euro in 2015 have been pushed back until 2017 at the earliest (if at all). Until then many shops and restaurants happily accept euros, and bills/receipts often include totals in euros. Check the rate first, as some places can knock off up to 20% of the value of your euro cash. ATMs are very common, so you can easily get local cash, and major credit cards are accepted most everywhere. Ask your home bank if they have a local partner bank, to save on daily ATM withdrawal fees.
When changing money at the many shops around town consult the signs displaying rates for each currency, usually in their front window. Compare rates and commissions at several before making a transaction. Shops just outside the busiest tourist areas usually offer the better deals, and changing 200 or more dollars or euros at one time will sometimes yield a better overall rate.
One shop with reliably good exchange rates is at Politických vězňů 8, opposite Olivova, near the main post office on Jindnsska. There are two others nearby on Opletalova, just two blocks off Václavské náměstí, (Wenseslas Square) and the Hlavni Nadrazi train station. Take enough crowns if venturing outside the central tourist district, since even busy commercial centers like the one at Anděl Metro station, have no exchange shops --but there are ATMs around.
Media, information, resources
Fresh Magazine is a gay lifestyle magazine for Prague and surrounding areas, with events listings and guide, in Czech and Spanish - and English in the works.
Antonio Tours are two personable young English-speaking guides, Antonio and Thomas, offering walking or car tours, day and night, that include Prague and the Czech countryside.
The Folklore Association of the Czech Republic has info on 44 festivals and rural celebrations all around the country - with interesting links to a lot of websites, many in English. For the official general public tourism site, see Prague Welcome with online info, and directions to tourist assistance sites at the airport, the main train station and Old Town Hall.
The Prague Post is the weekly English-language newspaper and website, with extensive listings of events and restaurant options. Movies usually screen in their original language here, with Czech subtitles, and the Post lists venues and times.
The Bohemia Bagel cafe, near Old Town Square, offers free phone calls to Canada and the USA for customers, plus internet access --along with American breakfasts, free coffee refills, and bagel sandwiches all day. Local Starbucks and McDonalds, along with Czech cafes and bistros such as the Art Deco gem, the Café Slavia, and American-style brunch and Vegetarian lunch spot, the Radost Restaurant, also offer free Wi-Fi. Check for the familiar symbol at the door.
Two internet options for those travelling without laptops or tablets, with computers and internet phone booths for low-cost international calls include: Call Point in the Pasáž Blaník arcade, behind the KFC at Vaclavské and Krakovská (Wenseslas Sqare); and the shop and money exchange at Manni Kebabish Middle-East Restaurant, on Odboru just off Myslíkova, near the Karlovo náměstí (Charles Square) Metro station.
For locations and website links to businesses listed below, see our Prague gay map & listings pages.
Bars, Cafes, Restaurants
Many bars are open until 4 or 5am. When handed a drink ticket be sure not to lose it, or there's a stiff penalty charge.
Cafe Cafe (Rytirska 10), sidewalk tables along Old City pedestrian street attracts gay couples for tasty afternoon pastries and coffee, by walls with celebrity photos.
Cafe Faux Pas (Vinohradska 31) open weekdays from 8am for hearty breakfasts, and until 10pm with Czech fare. Near the dance clubs, with bar, WiFi.
Cafe Flirt (Martinská 5), two-level gay/mixed breakfast and lunch cafe, music bar, and dance club until 2am.
Café Muzeum (Mezibranska 19), just above Wenceslas Square, small and casual, good conversation place to meet locals around cafe tables, inexpensive beer.
Cafe Nordica (Zlatnicka 10), a bit of Scandinavia with sandwiches and good breakfast daily from 9am.
Celebrity Cafe (Vinohradska 40), panini and burgers to full-meal menu restaurant and bar, breakfast 8-11am weekdays, 10am-4pm on weekends; one of few afternoon gay meeting places on this side of town, next to On dance club.
Erra (Konviktska 11), popular, inexpensive cafe-bar-restaurant on two levels in Old Prague, open 10am to midnight.
Friends (Bartolomejska 11), in narrow Old Town street, must-visit cocktail bar favorite of tourists and young locals. Periodic parties fill their dance floor, karaoke nights, DJs. Open from 7pm to 6am nightly.
Fan Fan Club (Dittrichova 5) stylish cocktail bar and karaoke lounge for meeting friends before the dance clubs open from 5pm nightly; open bar in front, booth seating in rear bar.
FenoMan Club (Blanicka 28) warm-up, or after-hours bar and restaurant with DJ, near dance clubs, open 5pm to 9am or later on weekends for an evening steak dinner, or after-hours breakfast (from 3am). A bit of the old Stella bar vibe, young crowd.
JampaDampa (V Tunich 10) bar and dance club, most popular with younger women.
Kafirna U Ceskeho Pana (Kozi 13), one of Prague's oldest and most Czech gay bars, vistor-friendly, cozy with early-hours crowd.
Klub 21 (Rimska 21) stylish cafe cellar bar on gated alley. Laid back, cool place to meet new Czech friends over inexpensive beers, open early from 4pm, also has art exhibitions.
Latimerie Club Cafe (Slezska 74), chic crowd, nicely designed bar with cafe.
Lehka Hlava (Borsov 2), or "Clear Head," innovative veggie/vegan restaurant in Old City, menu online.
Little Temple Bar (Seifertova 26), former Monty's, small bar, lounge with inexpensive beer, wine, coffee and snacks next to Temple Hotel. Many dancers and other freelancers hang out and flirt here casually in the afternoons and early evenings, before the nearby Temple Club opens. For 300 Kč you can rent their "relax room."
Piano Bar (Milesevska 10), mostly older Czech crowd, relaxed where everyone is made to feel welcome.
Qcafé (Opatovická 166/12), small hip queer cafe, young crowd, two floors - one for smokers, cocktails, wines, Italian coffee, traditional Kofola, and raspberry lemonade; snacks, soups, munchies and homemade desserts.
Radost (Belehradska 120) vegetarian restaurant, wide variety, heaping-plate American-style weekend brunch. Relaxed Bohemian atmosphere, comfortable mis-matched furniture, English spoken, free but erratic Wi-Fi access.
Saints (Polska 32) cozy bar to start the night near the dance clubs. Comfy couches, friendly Engllish-speaking staff and clientel, free WiFi. Expats, tourists, and some Czechs who come to practice their English.
Srdce a Kamen (Trojicka 10) or Heart and Stone, cabaret club with star Vaclav Glazer, who keeps the old songs alive.
Strelec (Anglická 616/2) from 5pm, gay Czech beer pub, Czech food, popular with a fun crowd of middle-age guys, including bears and their friends.
Tingl Tangl (Karoliny Svetle 12), CLOSED -- January 2013 -- Old Town pub and Czech food restaurant known for their drag shows
U Rudolfa (Mezibranska 3), locals' favorite beer pub, mostly men of mixed ages, genial crowd, no English spoken.
Wild Boys Club (Nádražní 893/46), new upscale bar/lounge by Metro station Smíchovské nádraží, sauna, rooms, erotic shows, pole dancers, "naked aquarium" pool boys, restaurant.
Termix (Trebizskeho 4), popular gay dance club, lounge, small disco, darkroom off the men's room. Younger guys are sometimes casually 'commerical.' Wednesday to Sunday until 5am. Big night Wednesdays for Czech dance music.
On Club (Vinohradska 40), the former Valentino, CLOSED in January 2013. Rumor has it this gay mega-club with dance floors, bars, and cafes on three levels, and busy subterranean cruise labyrinth darkrooms, will re-open with new owners after renovations.
Radost FX (Belehradska 120) mostly-straight basement dance club. Second Friday of alternate months Lollipop gay disco night, drag and/or strip shows -- ten years running, famous, international guest DJs, and design influences of Czech fashion designer, Jakub Chovanec.
Stage (Stepnska 23), large new gay dance club, lunch and dinner Czech and International restaurant, intenet cafe/ bar, dark/ backroom, male strip shows, former Valentino's management.
Big dance clubs, usually straight, but with gay-friendly events from time to time include: SaSaZu (Bubenske nabrezi 360), and Studio 54 (Hybernska 38). See the website for the Decandance promotions group, and OMG for their dance party nights.
Saunas & sex
Sex work is legal for those over 18 in the Czech Republic, and Prague has two comfortable nightclubs in which to meet young entrepreneurs, often students or young workers looking for extra cash, but sometimes new arrivals from countries further east. You could meet guys with drug or alcohol problems who sleep rough in the park, but others may range from playful novices in disco back rooms who just need the price of taxi fare home, to experienced and professionally attentive service providers who never drink on the job. Longer-term escort arrangements can often be arranged if you find someone you particularly like.
Clubs filter out the most troublesome types, but agree on sexual preferences and prices upfront, and keep valuables and wits about you so everyone stays happy. Prague also has saunas, and sex clubs, and big gay dance clubs usually have dark rooms or a cruise labyrinth. Expect to pay anywhere from 500-3000 Kč ($25-150) for services. A surcharge of 1000 Kč ($50) gets a dancer out of Escape Club, but Temple charges no more than their 50 Kč ($2.50) minimum drinks consumption fee. See our map and listings section for links to all of them.
Alcatraz S&M Club (Borivojova 58) has a gay pub above their leather/uniform/rubber sex club, open daily. Dark rooms, video cabins, fetish areas, sling, cage, and showers. Thursday naked parties to 5am.
Drake's (Zborovska 50) across the river, large cellar bar and sex club, video booths, play rooms, stripper and live-sex shows, porn videos. Cover charges (free 18-25) good for 24 hours. They never close.
Escape Club (V Jame 8), non-stop strippers from 10pm, some fully naked, solo, double, sometimes oiled. Dancers will snuggle (drinks on you) on comfy couches, as you watch the show, or entertain privately at your hotel.
Heaven (Gorazdova 11), the country's widest selection of DVDs for sale and rent, sex shop, darkrooms, naked parties, cinema, video cabins, on-site apartments, and bar.
Sauna Babylonia (Martinska 6) -- CLOSED FOR RENOVATIONS -- daily 2pm to 3am, Prague's largest gay sauna with steam, whirlpool, gay cinema, cubicles, fitness room, bar and massage options.
Sauna BonBon (Černomořská 6), small men's sauna, steam room, Jacuzzi, private cabins, naked nights, youth discounts.
Sauna David (Sokolovska 44), somewhat older crowd, sauna, steam, whirlpool, internet, WiFi, movies, cafe, workout area, hot food cafe, private rooms, solarium, and SM-fist room.
Sauna Labyrint (Pernerova 4), large new men's club on 3 floors, sauna, steamroom, mazes, dark rooms, TV rooms, labyrinth of steam, dark room, glory holes, private rooms, video loung, bar, Wednesday naked parties. Former Tom's Bar location.
Sauna Marco (Lublanska 17), mainly Czech patrons, wide age range, steam and dry saunas, whirlpool, bar.
Temple Club (Seifertova 32/3) basement bar, booth tables, plush couches, candle-lit lounge retreat. No-pressure atmosphere, guys take cues from eye contact or greetings. Naked dancer shows from 11pm, guys also available for off-site pleasure, overnight or short term hotel room rentals. Their Little Temple bar, open from noon daily, attracts flirty freelancers and offers relax room rental.
Villa Mansland (Stepnicna 9-11) gay resort hotel outside city center, restaurant, bar, sauna, whirlpool, garden. Massage services and various "relaxation" options with easy-to-meet young freelancer locals.
Accommodations and tours
Guesthouses listed have gay British, American, Australian or German management. All speak English, and have staff who speak most major European languages. All can be counted on to help you find your way around the city, or the region. Look for other hotels in our lodgings listings and map section.
Absolute Prague (various locations; 420-777-944-781), variety of modern, centrally-located, full-services year-round apartments; cable TV, WiFi, full kitchens, laundry facilities; English expat Andy gets you booked, settled in, oriented with Prague information and referrals.
Daily Rentals Prague (Premyslovska 3; 420-721-329-228), gay-owned and operated, reasonably priced fully furnished apartments, located close to gay districts, shopping and the sights. All with computer and high-speed connections, 600 channel satellite TV, kitchens, etc. In addition to English and Czech/Slovak, Russian, Ukrainian, Slovak and Romanian are also spoken.
Mysteria Apartments (Nekazanka 6; 420-776-777-994), central private apartments, studios to four bedroom penthouses, all budgets. Spectacular views, computers, internet; service packages. Advice on sights, restaurants, gay scene in 7 languages. Chauffer-driven airport transfers, guided gay tours around Czech Republic.
Prague Center Guest Residences, (gaystay.net/PragueCenter), four central apartments, 1- 3 bedrooms, most with free Wifi Internet; walk to tourist attractions and gay venues; helpful English-speaking gay hosts. Open all year.
Prague Saints (Polska 32) private apartments in and around the gay districts of Vinohrady and Zizkov, plus airport transfers and private gay tours around Prague and other destinations, day or night.
Ron's Rainbow Guest House (Bulharska 4; 420-271-725-664), six-room guest house near the center, comfortable, clean, moderately priced rooms. Long-time American expat provides welcoming introduction to all of his guests.
Temple Hotel (Seifertova 32/3) has rooms and suite for rent above Temple Club (separate entrance). Many Temple dancers live here sharing communal showers with guests, but private showers are available too. Their Little Temple Bar is open to all, daily from noon.
Villa Mansland (Stepnicna 9-11; 00420 774 239 807) gay resort hotel outside center with restaurant, bar, summer terrace, sauna, whirlpool, green tranquil garden, massage. Easy-to-meet young locals often hanging about.
Life is a Cabaret by Mircea Ticudean, from an article in Guide Magazine, for another perspective on Prague.
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