New Vzorkovna Loses Hipster Vibe

Gentrified grunge bar still has dog but not much funk

By Kari Sonde

Vzorkovna, a hip bar that can be found surprisingly near Old Town Square in Prague, recently changed locations. Photo via PragueBeerGarden.com

Vzorkovna, a hip bar that can be found surprisingly near Old Town Square in Prague, recently changed locations. Photo by Jonathan Keshishoglou.

The new Vzorkovna is harder to find than the old one. The popular bar, which used to be on Bartolomestska 13 in Old Town, has now been relocated to Narodni 11, just a short walk away but on a much more commercially trafficked area.

The sign for the bar looks like an advertisement poster until you read it and realize that the dark rectangle in the wall is actually the entrance. Look closely and there’s actually a sign over that rectangle that says Vzorkovna in skewed black letters. They kept the same velvet curtain in the entrance, but this time it drapes over a pitch black staircase instead of opening up straight into the bar like it used to.

The old Vzorkovna was a treasured hole-in-the-wall. Known for being a more alternative place for a younger crowd, Vzorkovna featured light by dripping candles, a fireplace that patrons might be asked to chop wood for, live music ranging from Moroccan drumbeats to occasional jam sessions, seating ranging from car seats on a window sill to wooden stumps, a pinball machine squished in a little nook across the bar, and a horse-sized wiry haired dog (possibly an Irish wolfhound) wandering around. Rumored to have moved for space purposes, patrons were surprised at the sudden change.

“It looks clean and nice but it lacks the soul.”

Pavla Ksiazkiewiczova, a 23-year-old graduate student studying in Prague as well as a Vzorkovna regular, had no clue that the bar was moving. “I found out on the closing day,” she said, “one guy who was hitting on me told me.” She was quite disappointed in the new location. “I think that the new Vzorkovna lost its special vibes,” Ksiazkiewiczova said.

“It looks clean and nice but it lacks the soul.” Jakub Sury, 24 and another regular, was displeased with the move. “I was quite disappointed for the first impression,” said Sury, “ because I really liked the old one with the mess, darkness, big dogs, the atmosphere, and the people who were walking there.”

Sury notes that after speaking with the owner, he understands why Vzorkovna had to move.

“After small talk with the boss, he explained whole situation to me,” said Sury. “The moving happened due to small space in the old Vzorkovna, but also due to arguing with the owner of the building.”

The new Vzorkovna is enormous. It appears to be twice the size of the old one. The foosball tables are in a heavily lit yellow room. There’s a stage in a huge room with a balcony so people can watch whoever’s playing from above. The bathrooms now have real stalls. While there are still candles, there is also bright purple light hazing around the bar.

However, Vzorkovna still has the same drink selection, including the ever popular microbrew Uneticky Pivovar and the selection of Moravian wines. The huge dog can still be spotted roaming around. But Ksiazkiewiczova found a new crowd in the new space.

“I met only tourists there,” said Ksiazkiewiczova.

Sury also expressed concern that the clientele would shift from primarily locals to primarily tourists. Others don’t mind the new space. Marek Pour, 23, is fine with the move.

“The new place seems a lot cleaner so I understand the critique that it’s not the same anymore,” said Pour. “However, I find the new place nicer and neater as well.” He added that having the same staff around made the transition easier. “The staff stayed the same so that’s not such a big change for me,” he said.

Sury agreed, finding that the new space didn’t mean a completely new vibe.

“After a few beers from jam jars and a little music session on the organ, I really started to like the new one,” said Sury, “I believe there will be lots of good parties and maybe more concerts.”

 

Kari Sonde is in the Gallatin School of Individualized Study class of 2017. Her hometown is McLean, Virginia.

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Categories: Spring 2015 Issue Number 3

Author:The Prague Wandering

The Prague Wandering is an NYU based study abroad webzine- the only one of its kind. It focuses on issues in contemporary Czech culture and the city of Prague, exploring beyond the study abroad bubble.

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