Ahhh... Summer is almost in Prague! The city is your oyster! You can wander about merrily hopping from beer garden to boat ride, giddily romping from pub to pub, across the river and back again. Ahhhhhh...
But it's not fully summer yet, is it? It's raining and hailing. It's f*cking cold. Unless you can afford a taxi to cart your ass around, you're staying pretty close to home. If you happen to live in Žižkov you might need to stay close to home.
For Žižkovians, it's not so much the cold. It's not the snow, the gray miserable sky, or the short days. It's the f*cking ice.
You see, it's a simple formula: Ice + steep incline = bruised ass. If you live on a hill, winter is dangerous.
True, not all of Žižkov is a deathtrap. If you live in the Jiřího z Poděbrad-TV tower-Flora or Koněvova-Biskupcova sections, you're fine. You have plenty of public transportation and very little hills. You have loads of shops for your grocery/cigarette/underwear needs, not to mention a plethora of bars, restaurants, cafes and cheap, affordable whorehouses. You're fine.
However, if you live anywhere between Kubelíkova and Koněvova, maneuvering becomes more difficult. Let's say you live on Vlkova and decide to make your way up to the Akropolis.
Four hours later you find yourself, grappling onto the sides of buildings, fingernails bleeding, walking toe to heal along those three inches of untainted concrete, formulating a newfound relationship with God as you reach the curb and do the balance dance of the waving arms that makes the flapping dance of the fat American girl on ecstasy look like a trophy winner.
It's just not worth it.
Evolution takes care of it all and Žižkovians have learned that even though it may only be one block, it's a f*cking big icy mountain of a block and it's not to be f*cked with. In exploring Žižkov, you will notice most layers of incline come complete with full shopping center, eateries, and culture scene, making it possible to avoid the fate of the swollen ass.
Starting from the top, Bořivojova is an alright place to be trapped.
It twists long and wide so technically you could escape over by Olšanská, but again, it's cold so you probably don't want to venture that far if you live on or visit the hilly part.
If you do, you not only have plenty of bazars, second-hands, and potravinys, but a clusterf*ck of DJ shops and tabaks.
If you're a smoker, you really should take the extra few deliberate steps to Grow Shop (Bořivojova 1027/89). They not only have every kind of cigarette, rolling paper, and smoking accessory one could ever dream of, but some interesting 'energy' drinks such as the ever endearing hemp in a can, and everything needed to grow your own.
If you want live music, on the right night you could skid over to Nad Viktorkou (Bořivojova 785/79) and graze with the locals as they get sh*t-faced on Becherovka and Start cigarettes. It's just across the street via a jaunty drunken angle from Bukowski's (Bořivojova 689/86), which has the best damn cocktails in Prague, by the way, and won't cost you an arm and a leg.
Or you could go down to the Clown and Bard Hostel where every once in a while there is a live band, but more regularly, some drunkards tapping drums and banging an out-of-tune piano to old Bob Marley tunes you only think are great when your drunk. But if you're drunk, hey, it's a real experience.
On Sunday's they offer movie night and, well, it's free. The beer is horrible and the constituents really zap out some great ad-lib running commentaries, but hey, free movie.
If you're into sports there's the Bow Bar (Bořivojova 783/83) where for a reasonable price you can not only bowl (4 bowling lanes!), but play pool, video games, and, um, there's gotta be a reason they lock the door so you can't escape unnoticed, and they're open late (15:00 - 02:00 Monday - Saturday, closed on Sundays).
If the more platonic bar games like fooseball and darts are your thing, then you could venture over to U Hovězího pupku at Bořivojova 69 or Čítárna Bar Tafsut slightly uphill on Ježkova 10/1054. Both offer a cozy, warm atmosphere with cheap drink, good seating and colorful walls. Always important. To boot, Čítárna Bar Tafsut serves cheap drinks, being a dive bar and all, and has a hookas, just in case you didn't have time to run out and buy one.
Perched one level down is Vlkova. It's a small plateau, none the less, you can fill the basics of all shopping needs, save clothes. In exchange there's the excellent Shalamar Foods at Lipanská 835/3 that also has tofu, and Indian spices and other hard to find healthy things that makes up for the lack of emergency underwear.
For inspiration and more food, there is Café Na hlas (Vlkova 7), the two level, refurbished modernist-hardcore wonderland that's always worth paying a visit to.
On the corner of Víta Nejedlého, XT4 Pivnice, a newly opened space, is great for food and large parties, and sports the nicest mugs of beer in Žižkov. So there's that.
If you're bored, there's always the Church of Saint Procopius at the intersection of Seifertova, that's always good for visiting evenings and early Sunday mornings to keep in from the cold and eat of the unleavened bread while reestablishing the old God relationship. Dedicated to the patron saint of Bohemia, Procopius of Sázava, the three-aisled Neo-Gothic church, located at Sladkovského Square on Seifertova Street was designed by Bohemian architects Josef Mocker (who completed St. Vitus Cathedral) and František Mikš.
You''ll need god on your side, as the Seifertova plateau is a tricky one because it is a hill itself. Luckily this street beds the tramline, so you're not trapped. The highlight of this street is the mass carnage of take-out joints. They got gyros, Chinese, chicken, pani toasts and Pizza Einstein. The nightlife is pretty scarce on this street but there is the pivnice or, as more commonly referred to, the toilet bar on the corner of Krásova.
This little underground spot used to be a WC. Similar to its former occupancy, it's not a place you really want to hang out in unless you have to. It's not wonderful, but at least if someone asks you where you were last night, you could say "I went to that bar that used to be a toilet" and they might think you really do know all the tucked away wayfab cool things in life. And then maybe they'll f*ck you out of admiration.
So, it's worth a go.
Past Seifertova the slopes go a little crazy and you can't go far at all without hitting a hill. The streets between Seifertova and Koněvova/Husitská fall into the realm of No Man's Land. The zone of neither here nor there, No Man's Land consists of those areas on the slopes themselves, which, if trespassed upon, could lead to certain death.
If you happen to live or get trapped in No Man's Land, well, you're f*cked basically. The ice thaws a bit and runs down the drain pipes into the street during the day and at night forms a thin and invisible sheet of ice. Right outside your door. You're f*cked. Pad your pantyhose with toilet paper. Maybe it's not the most sexy thing, but neither is an ass that looks like a modern art masterpiece.
Life is full of choices.
Now that you're all padded up you can visit some of the fun awaiting you on the snowy entrails. Backtracking first, the U Rajské zahrady slope is late night wonderland. There's everyone's favorite non-stop Pepe's, a club/bar/herna joint that serves food till late and is the least nonstop-like nonstop around.
Further down is the ever present all night EuroOil gas station for those 4am emergency runs for potting soil, cheap champagne, condoms, and niva cheese that happens to us all.
One block over on Husitská 45 there is Vegan City that has, in fairness, excellent food. I suggest the Curry Risoto.
If you need a little quietude, you can stop in Čajový bar Peklo, Nebe, Ráj (Hell, Heaven, Paradise) at Bořivojova 1102/43. Only open after 3pm and a little pricy, but worth the serenity and presentation. And goddamn it sometimes you need some proper serenity and presentation when you're toting around a three pack of toilet roll in your drawers.
Over at Lipanská 1, Mailsi Pakistani restaurant offers the best of everything you seek out in a restaurant in cold weather or warm. Great food, lobos, fresh spices to help with the old digestion and pictures of hot sunny Pakistan on every wall.
Down in the labyrinth past Seifertova amongst the nothingness on Štítného, there's the chi-chi out-of-place Žižkovske Divadlo with it's quaint archaic interior.
A touch of class for Žižkovians.
But if class isn't your thing and instead its the mangy dirty baggy smoky white boy rastafarians afro-ska-reggae-dubb scene that you crave, well! Dude! You are so f*cking stoked, to have made it somewhat up the hill!
Dreddy DJs fester in Jah Koko & Kenny's Island on Velehradská 26 where they serve Staroparmen for just 29Kč, a great value. Super great on cold days because this little space is crowded, smoky and hot as f*ck.
Kenny's Island is like going to a really eclectic house party in some stoners flat cause his parents are at the country house. Hot and sticky f*cked up teenagers is always a nice option to have. Back up the corner on Štítného is U Habásků which offers some nice pivos, including Únětice beer 12⁰ for 37Kč and lots of weird art on the walls.
Much milder than Kenny's, this Czechie pub-type thing is where to go when you want to carry on a conversation without having to lean into someone's ear. Sometimes you feel like an ear excavation, sometimes you don't.
If you're one of those that teeter-totter back and forth between the loud pounding hardcore underground blacklight DJ magic disco ball and the cozy laid back velvet couch Bailey's cappuccino window seat, then you can inch you way down to Fatal Bar on Rokycanova 29, where contrary to the peaceful daytime vibe, the night time finds this place to the home of all things hard core, punk and grindcore in the Prague music scene.
The place is huge and offers so many twists, turns, nooks and crannies that you could stay there all night, and simply move tables every few drinks to pretend like you're actually outside on a pub crawl.
For food, there's the Bosnian mama and papa establishment, Mon Ami Pizzeria at Roháčova 135/20, where you can not only satisfy that pizza crave, but indulge all your carnivorous desires with their spicy sausage sandwiches. Mmmm.
And, remember, meat not only keeps you warm, but can help your ass build it's own natural padding.
Of course I've only just brushed the surface of all the little neato niches the hills of Žižkov have to offer. But I got my toilet roll, so I'm alright.