Do you know what „hangig coffee is?“ You dont? Well, a guy comes to a café, drinks a cup of coffee and says: „I pay for two cups – the one I´ve just drunk and another one I leae hanging here“. Another guy who is broke walks in and asks: „Would by any chance have a hanging coffee here?“ And if there i sone, he drinds it and goes home. (Jan Burian). This text is writen in several languages – Spanish, English, French, German, Finnish, Swedish (or is it Norwegian? Well, except these two nations nobody recognize it anyway:) ) and one more that I don´t even try to guess what language it is – in the menu and on the windows shutters of well-worn cafe among Praguers, Hanging Coffee. The place is often full despite of the fact that before geting there you will get a little sweaty which I consider as a proof of its fondness. Yep, one has to make some effort to get his favourite coffee or beer since this cafe is places on a steep hill just below the Prague Castle. I´m not against a slight movement but it really makes me angry when I reach the top out of breath and I figure out that every single table is occupied! On the other hand this lovely place must be a paradise on the earth for tourists.
I have to confess that I fell for. On the web pages of Hanging Coffee I read and extract from a book published in 1965 and writen by writter Hanuš Hradecký that was supposedly found during the reconstruction work of this place. The poetic text is depicts one of his visits of the pub that was here before. He starts talking with a waitress Pavlína who is together with another regular telling him stories about its special guests among whose those who are not familiar with Czech facts could recognize Thomas Edison. Thus I got an impression that this is one of the cafes which is filled with genius loci of the passed times. I was recovered from my desilusion by a brief talk with the jolly owner. I didn´t expect her answer that the cafe started up 20 years ago. „But what about the text in you web pages?“, I asked boldly. There´s no doubt that the lady is very amused by my question as if she was waiting for it: „My dear, it´s a fake, I made up the text. A couple of people even wrote me asking if I know more details about the author . Does the text work?“ I had to admit that it works perfectly and congratulate her that she could make a living by writing. I fell in. Nothing more nothing less. The only thing that makes me feel better is that apparently I am not the only one. No matter how „old“ the Hanging Coffee is it has a birthday on June 12th. Everyone is welcome to joint the celebration which is going to be big I assume:)
I agree with my friend Jakub who said that what is special on this cafe is that there´s something to look at all the time. In my oppinion not any other cafe doesn´t give a true picture of the character of Prague as this place: it´s picturesqueness, playfulness, colors, humorousness and cozyness. Its designer Jakub Krejčí did a great job. Everytime I´m here I´m captured by the sculpture of hanging coffee above the entrance door. The back room is hiding two more funny sculptures. Under the bust of one of them there´s an interesting inscribtion: „I´m not Lenin, I´m Jakub Arbes“ (Czech writer living in the 19th centrury“. (How hard the life after death must be when someone confuses you with Lenin). The other sculpture, which is more abstract piece of art, says: „Better to spill with Parkinson than to forget with Alzhaimer“. I cannot dissagree. So many bizzare items were put together in this place….abacus, old coffee grinders, a toy of 50 centimeters hight horse on a scooter, a collection of money from the all corners of the world displayed behind the bar. A photo of our first democratic president Václav Havel accompanied by Bill Clinton sitting and chating at a table. Was the picture taken here? I don´t believe anything anymore.
But now let´s get to the point for which you perhaps came….to meals and drinks. Concerning beverages what you get here are the classics. As you read this text in English I assume that you´re foreigners and therefore you won´t consider Sider that is offered in this place as something special. Perhaps you already notices that it´s still rare to get it in most cafes in the Czech Republic. On the other hand what you appreciate perhaps more that Czech is the mainly traditional cuisine that you can get here (also in a take away form if you are in a hurry), let me mention for example my most favourite dish „svíčková – beaf, dumplings, creamy sauce and cramberries or roasted duck. If you don´t have enought you can have an ice cream Ben and Jerry. It´s also not everywhere.
To summarize it what I like on this cafe is playfulness and a sense for exaggeration. On June 12th you will definitely see me here! 🙂
Address: Úvoz 6, Prague 1
Monday – Sunday: 11am – 24pm