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Holešovice: The Prague suburb that’s gone from sleazy stag dos to hipster paradise

With its fairytale vistas and legendary beer, it’s little wonder that Prague remains a perennially popular destination. The majority of tourists never find their way out of the historic centre’s maze of cobbled lanes – and frankly, they’re missing out, as in recent years the city’s suburbs have undergone a veritable renaissance.

Once upon a time, the only reason to go to gritty Holešovice was to shake your booty at legendary music venue Cross Club or for pre-wedding shenanigans at ShowPark, the vast strip club featured in Stacey Dooley’s BBC 3 documentary, Sex, Stags and Prague. However, since moving to the neighbourhood six years ago, I’ve witnessed it blossom. 

Paralelní Polis is the headquarters for the Ztohoven collective (Ztohoven)

Its former industrial spaces are being transformed into cool haunts like Vnitroblock, a vast café-meets-design-store in a disused factory, which opened in October 2016. The cavernous interior is reminiscent of an edgy Brick Lane boutique, showcasing cutting-edge Czech designers while millennials hunch over laptops and magazine editors manage fashion photoshoots. 

“The offer came to us and the first idea was to open a café or similar concept,” founders Lukas Zdarsky and Jakub Zajic explained, “but when we saw the space we had an idea to create more. And we are still creating and working on Vnitroblock to bring it alive.”  

Továrna, another abandoned factory on nearby street Dělnická, regularly hosts film screenings, pop-up stores and quirky events like F**kUp Night, at which five notable speakers recount their screw-ups. A few doors down, Ztohoven, the anarchic ethical hacker collective famed for their artistically motivated pranks, have set up their headquarters, Paralelní Polis. The three-floor venue includes Bitcoin Coffee, reputedly the only café in the world which only accepts the cybercurrency, an Institute of Cyberanarchy where anti-establishment events and talks are…

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