Everyone - if they're asked - has an idea of what "nightlife" is. For many it's the throbbing techno-beat of electronic music. For others it's the sound of jazz music in a smoke filled nightclub. I found however, that for many Czechs, Prague nightlife is best described as loud conversation (I'd almost call it arguing) together with imported ale in an equally boisterous pub. You can learn a lot about the culture and locals who create it by passing a few hours at a corner bar. And believe me; in Prague you won't have any problem finding one. But that's me. Prague nightlife is where you find it. For others, a quiet stroll over the ancient city's cobblestones speak volumes. For others it's the light cast by street lamps on the famous Charles Bridge. Prague nightlife. It lives and flourishes in the shadows.
I would ask you to indulge yourself in something else besides dance venues and expensive strippers. You can find both in Prague. But the real Prague. The Prague nightlife I'm talking about doesn't jump out at you. Prague nightlife speaks a different language. It's there as you run your hand over the stone blocks that support the buildings found in Old Town. It seduces you as you walk over the old cobblestone streets of Mala' Strana. It's the shadows cast by age-old statues and monuments that harken back to a tough time and even tougher people.
The beautifully lit facades of Prague Castle that hover above. This is Prague nightlife - full of textures and feelings that speak more eloquently than any poet of the 20th century. Its students scrounging change by strumming a guitar, or a lone violinist playing his heart out for enough money to buy a late night meal. The winds howl around me and for just a moment I'm in another time and place. This is Prague nightlife. It's there waiting. All you have to do is look for it.
The majority of tourists are looking for more modern pursuits and Prague night life doesn't disappoint. If you're looking for late night munchies check out the Radost FX Café in Vinohrady. They continue serving way past midnight. Until 5am actually. So it's the location of choice when you come stumbling out of a dance hall with your ears ringing and the thing you need most is an espresso. Prague night life is this as well.
If you need to eat and just can't wait, head to the Gro Gro kiosk, just down from the Reduta jazz club and sitting on the corner of Národní trída and Mikulandská. The "Gro Gro Guy" as he is affectionately known creates made-to-order grilled-oven pizzas and a small array of ham-and-cheese baguette sandwiches, chips, sodas, and beer. Simple stuff but if you're hungry and cold and who wouldn't be at 3am - this is the place for you.
If your tastes run a little more upscale, you'll enjoy knowing that Prague has many casinos. Most offer the typical games of choice: blackjack, roulette, and slot machines. In particular is the Casino Palais Savarin, known for being the most beautiful game room in the city, and open until 4am - if your money holds out that long. Other notable casinos are Casino Atrium, and Casino U Nováku.
There's a list of jazz clubs, pubs and bars that's as long as my arm. As well as movie theatres and dance clubs. Trust me though, keep your travel guide and map handy, but do yourself a favor - pick a direction and go. Discover Prague night life away from the beaten path. You'll never regret it and for sure you'll find yourself planning a return trip in the future.