Expert Tips


Prague for Music Lovers from Opera to Pop Concert

Czechs are well-known for their musical talent. Classical music fans will be familiar with Antonin Dvorak and Bedrich Smetana who both composed operas, symphonies and choral works. Their works can be heard in the National Opera or in one of the many Baroque churches. When exploring Prague's historic center, you will be given flyers announcing classical concerts of Czech and other composers that are held in one of the churches or in the Municipal House. Music is everywhere in Prague. When ambling across Charles Bridge, you will soon hear the cheerful tunes of the Dixieland Band that has been playing here since Communist days. You will find more Dixieland and also jazz in Reduta Jazz Club. Just pop in for a very reasonably priced drink, if this is not your type of music. If it is alternative music you are after, be sure to visit Chapeau Rouge, very close to Old Town Square, and mix with Czechs and international visitors. O2Arena hosts the best pop concerts in Prague. You won't be the only visitor because the capacity is 20.000. It is best to book ahead because the concerts are very popular. Prague latest musical attraction is six public pianos dotted across the center of the city inviting you to play a piano concerto or just chopsticks.


Prague 05 Smichov
Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

It is almost impossible to miss The Meet Factory. Two fire-engine red fiberglass cars hang on the outside wall beckoning you towards this abandoned factory. The Meet Factory is art gallery, theater, and film club plus a live music venue and the brain child of controversial artist David Cerny who is responsible for giant babies crawling across the telecommunication tower and two pissing men in front of the Kafka Museum. Artists from around the world are invited to live and create works of art in this cavernous factory in Prague's Smichov district. One of the art works in the exhibition hall is an inscription on the wall: 'Dear person who don't know me it's OK you don't know me. Best' This looks very simple and anyone could have written this, you may think, but not everybody was inspired and had enough creativity to do so.

Recommended for Live Music because: Artists from around the world are invited to live and create works of art in this cavernous factory in Prague's Smichov district.

Marianne's expert tip: Walk in any time, meet young artists and see exhibitions of their often experimental works of art.

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Prague 03 Zizkov

Palac Akropolis is the nerve center of alternative music and drama, from local rock to string. Young artists from all over the world gather in this multifunctional building that houses a restaurant, cafe, a large concert space and two bars. The small hall, Mala Scena, is the domain of DJs playing experimental music at weekends. During the week specially mixed recorded music is played. The main stage is reserved for real stars such as Apollo 440, Natacha Atlas, Boban Markovic and the The Strokes who all performed here. Indulge in Czech cuisine in the restaurant on the ground floor while listening to Roma bands and feast your eyes on the restaurants interior containing an upside-down canoe, an aquarium with weird objects and coconut shell lamp.

Recommended for Live Music because: Chill out in the theater bar with house, drum'n'bass, bass, reggae, hip hop, latin, funk and deep house.

Marianne's expert tip: Palac Akropolis is a Prague institution. It is multi-cultural and multi-functional. Be sure to check out the weird gallery of mad artists near the stairs in the foyer.

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Charles Bridge Dixieland Band
Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

Zigzag your way through a multitude of visitors and locals right to the middle of Charles Bridge. Join the crowd and be dazzled by the music of the Charles Bridge Dixieland band. They are here every day, winter and summer, in sunny weather and pouring rain. After having listened to the sweeping music, admire the statues that stand guard on the parapet. The best loved statue is that of St John Nepomuk. Rub his feet and you are sure to return to Prague one day, although others say that it will bring you happiness. A combination of the two would be perfect.

Recommended for Live Music because: First listen to the Dixieland band then browse hawkers' stalls and go home with local souvenirs.

Marianne's expert tip: Stand on Charles Bridge for sweeping views of Prague Castle and St Vitus Cathedral.

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Prague 05 Smichov

Phenomen Music Club is your place if you cannot decide which is more important; music or food. Be sure to arrive around 8 pm, when DJ's start spinning. Nibble salted almonds or vegetables chips, washed down by a large mug of Staropramen, brewed in Prague's Smichov district close to Phenomen. Every Thursday is singles evening. Check the website so that you don not miss out on Funhouse, Hot Saturday, I Love Music, the sexy go-go dancers or the Bongo Bongo party. If your Prague visit coincides with a performance of an original English Stand-up Comedy, be sure to arrive early to secure a good place. Forget Mondays and Sundays when no events are staged. Phenomen Music Club is located in the Smichov area, get there by Metro (Andel Station) and return by night bus 54.

Recommended for Live Music because: Phenomen Music Club is a happy marriage of clubbing, dining and dancing.

Marianne's expert tip: Check the website if you want to the singles party or maybe you are more interested in Dance Power with DJ Ivo Apfel and the go-go dancers.

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Street musicians and living statues make street life in big cities so much more interesting. Street musicians are no professionals most of the times they produce acceptable music, but sometimes their musical talent is absent. Their music is painful to listen to. Prague has come up with a solution to this problem. The city has places several pianos, so that musical passers-by can have a go. You will hear anything from chopsticks to Mozart or Tschaikovsky piano concertos. One of the best places to listen to or play the piano yourself is at Namesti Miru.

Recommended for Live Music because: Hop on tram 22, get off at namesti Miru and listen to piano music or play yourself.

Marianne's expert tip: Take your sheet music, sit down at one of the public pianos and play your favorite music

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Jazz club Reduta has been going strong since Communist days and is still very popular. When in 1994, Vaclav Havel, the then present of the Czech Republic, presented Bill Clinton with a new saxophone, Clinton entertained the public. Reduta is famous for Dixieland, blues, modern jazz and everything in between. Posters of jazz heroes adorn the walls. No waiter service, simply get your reasonably priced drinks from the bar. Live jazz every night and some evenings a handful of the best musicians in town sit in with the band. Reduta is one of the best place to soak up Dixieland atmosphere.

Recommended for Live Music because: Jazz, Dixieland and most reasonably priced drinks and Czech snacks.

Marianne's expert tip: Book a few hours ahead at the box office if you want to avoid the crowd. Drink at the bar if you come just for the beer.

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Estates Theater
Photo courtesy of Marianne Crone

Not an opera lover? Never been to the opera? All the more reason why you should go to a performance in one of Prague's three opera houses. Visit the opera and you enter a different world. If you are not interested in the music, go anyway if only to see the opulent interior. Mozart's Don Giovanni is always on the repertoire of the Estates Theater, Stavovske Divadlo in Czech. This was the theater where in 1887 Mozart conducted the world premiere of this famous opera in which womanizer Don Giovanni does not take women's feelings seriously and ends up in hell.

Recommended for Live Music because: Mozart's opera Don Giovanni is the perfect opera for beginners.

Marianne's expert tip: Three reasons to go to an opera performance in Stavovske Divadlo, the Estates Theater, when you are in Prague. 1. You must have seen an opera at least once in your lifetime. 2. The interior of the opera house is wonderful 3. Tickets are most reasonably priced.

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Prague 09 Cerny Most

The O2 Arena is quite new to the Prague scene. It was built for the Men's World Ice Hockey Championships in 2004. The Czechs are good at ice-hockey, the national game, and the O2 Arena is the best place to watch this. O2 is also home to HC Slavia Prague and HC Lev Prague. Sports fan have here the day of their life. But also non-sportsmen flock to O2 Arena to see people such as Beyonce, Elton John or Tina Turner, others who performed here were Andrea Bocelli, Kylie Minogue and Tom Jones. Check the website upcoming events.

Recommended for Live Music because: Best pop concerts in Prague. If this is not your type of music come another day and see an ice hockey match.

Marianne's expert tip: It is not a dance club. It is not a bar. It is not a music bar. O2 Arena is a hall for almost 20.000 people who listen and dance to the best concerts in Prague and the Czech Republic.

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Lucerna music Bar is the perfect setting for a mellow evening. No cutting-edge music but an excellent place to catch live bands. Czech bands on weekdays. At the weekend Lucerna transforms itself into a theme night. DJ's play 1980s and 1990s music accompanied by original videos from that period. Old and young mix on the dance floor and party until the small hours. Bars dotted around the club serve reasonably priced drinks. Lucerna is located very close to Wenceslas Square and right in the middle of partying Prague.

Recommended for Live Music because: The place to be for fans of 1980s and 1990s music and atmosphere.

Marianne's expert tip: Be sure to get to the VIP area upstairs for a sweeping view of the dance floor. Even though theme nights in Lucerna Music Club are always jam-packed, you never have to wait long for your drink, due to the three bars.

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Chapeau Rouge is a popular party pub located very close to Old Town Square in Prague's historic center. Red is the main colour scheme and gives the place a pleasant old-time atmosphere. Listen to alternative independent bands from all around the world. And if you play in a band, ask them to set up a gig for you. You may end up in the Fenester Window Gallery which displays up-and-coming artists. The crowd is a mix of Czech and international visitors of all ages. The beer is cheap. The Live Underground venue is small but the sound is great

Recommended for Live Music because: This is what music pubs were like in the old Communist days.

Marianne's expert tip: Dance to hip hop and drink absinth mixed with Red Bull

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Meet Marianne Crone

Marianne Crone divides her time between her home in the Netherlands and an apartment in Prague, the city where her son, daughter-in-law and grandson live.

Now retired, Marianne is still an...  More About Marianne