By Radha Burgess
said I was going to Lavka. He wrinkled his nose. I said, in my most cajoling and win some manner, "Oh come on! It'll be great! The terrace, the open air, the bridge, the Castle..." Amazingly enough, he still had misgivings. He explained: "A few years ago it was okay, the theater, literary, and movie crowds used to go there. Now it's just full of egregious idiots." I had the distinct feeling he wasn't keen.
I decided not to accuse him of being a dreary old bore who wouldn't know a good time if Kool and the Gang turned up singing "Celebrate," and went anyway.
I adore Lavka. It's the costume jewelry of clubs. So unapologetically awful that it is impossible to loathe, unless you're so cool that your sense of humor hasn't had a chance to thaw out yet.
Regardless of personal taste, Lavka has one undeniable ace up its sleeve: its location. Just under Charles Bridge, the club consists of a terrace bar, dance floor, and an indoor club. On the terrace one is afforded spectacular views of Narodni Divadlo, Petrin Hill, Malostranska, and The Castle.
Nestled indoors is an upstairs bar with a balcony overlooking the dance floor, where one is afforded spectacular views of all humanity.
No other club in Prague has such a varied clientele, with the notable exception of the Roxy, which also admits dogs. Suits dance with the sneaker crowd, backpackers boogie with businessmen, and the seemingly omnipresent British rugby / lacrosse / hockey teams dance with anyone who'll stay in the same place for longer than a nanosecond.
The music is entirely random. On a typical evening one can hear the theme song from Grease, followed by "(You Gotta) Fight For Your Right To Party" by the Beastie Boys, topped off nicely by Wham's "Last Christmas" (Yes, even-especially-in August).
The wonderful thing is, it doesn't matter. In fact it's a bonus. The only criteria the deejays seem to have is that one or all of the songs at some point will have you cringing in a corner because you remember what you were like when you were 14. Ten seconds later you'll be on the dance floor singing along and miming the lyrics, thanking heaven you're no longer that gawky teenager and are now an adult with no shame.
The indoor amusement of the club requires stamina and lots of white clothing. The dance floor is always packed and drenched in black light. Women, a word to the wise: wear dark underwear or risk being the center of attention as the dancing bra.
Such eclecticism has a price, however. The cover charge is 40 Kc, cocktails in the club are 50 Kc, on the terrace 40 Kc (the logic of which is baffling), and beer weighs in at 40 Kc.
It's worth it. There's something for everyone as long as you always remember: "You can dance! You can jive! Just having the time of your life. See that girl, watch that scene."