The wonders of Újezd

The main thoroughfare through photogenic Malá Strana, Újezd is well known as the jumping-offpoint for Petřín Tower, a tourist must, but there are ample reasons to linger

Featured June 13 Words by Lisette Allen
The wonders of Újezd

"In England, the older your brogues, the more upper class you are," says the owner of Classic Shoes, Michal Kučera, who recently got the chance to test out his theory when meeting British Prince Edward. His store supplies upmarket footwear to Czech men keen to step out in style, and prices start at €150.

It might come as a surprise that Czechs love the grape as much as the grain. Prague is full of wine merchants, like Sudová Vína Moravská Delikatesy, where you can sample the finest Moravian vintages before deciding which bottle to take home. Stock up on meats and cheese here too. Tel: +420 777 056 975.

If Prague's beauty has got your creative juices flowing, pop into Zebra Atelier, the oldest art-supply shop in the city, to stock up on materials. With a range of over 3,500 items, from paper and easels to pastels, paints, brushes and pens, you're bound to satisfy your inner muse.

On Michaela Tschudi's first visit to the Maison & Objet design fair in Paris, she felt like she'd fallen down the rabbit hole into Wonderland - this inspired her to name her delightful interior-décor store, Alice in Paris. Drop by if you want to inject some urban chic into your Bohemian pied-à-terre.

Můj Sekáč is a no-frills second-hand clothing store where most of the stock is sold by weight. Perfect for fans of shabby chic who are sick of overpriced vintage and enjoy a rummage. Watch out, though: according to a sign above the till, if you ask a stupid question, you have to pay a CZK400 (€15) penalty.

Klub Újezd appeals to beer fans, Martini drinkers and cappuccino sippers alike, thanks to its café, cocktail bar and basement-pub combo. The first club to open in Prague after the Velvet Revolution, it's now expanding skywards: the top two floors will soon house a restaurant and short-let apartments.

The Good Soldier Svejk may only have existed in fiction, but countless Czech bars are named after him, including this one. U Svejků is a traditional watering hole where the character's creator, novelist Jaroslav Hasek, once drank.

Don't be fooled by the guillotine in the window: although La Bastille is named after a symbol of the French Revolution, much of the cuisine is Czech. Try the gastronomic wrecking ball that is selský talíř: pork, gammon, chunky sausage, red cabbage and two kinds of dumplings for CZK175 (€6.75).

"Nothing here ever changes," says Josef Peitz, the beret-wearing owner of antiquarian bookshop Antikvariát Prazský Almanach, with pride. He sells celebrated Czech authors, vintage film posters and rare manuscripts. "Each book has its own energy," he says. "That's what makes my shop so soothing."

Cukrárna U Knoflíčků - or The Buttons - is sugar heaven: an ice-cream parlour, pastry shop and café rolled into one. In keeping with the kitsch surroundings, only traditional Czech pastries are on offer: try babiččin koláč (grandma's pie), a fruit tart, or the bestselling ginger and pear sponge cake.

Czech Photo Gallery exhibits the best Czech photography, plus annual displays of work from abroad. One of the biggest shows in recent years - in every sense of the word - featured Tomasz Gudzowaty's up close and personal portraits of sumo wrestlers. Entry is free.

The recipe for success at Noi is simple: real Thai food prepared by real Thai chefs served in a Zen-like setting. Owner Václav Zák resides above the restaurant and loves the neighbourhood. "There are still people who actually live in this part of Malá Strana, which helps to keep it special," he says.

Want high-quality homeware that's bang on trend? Head for Potten & Pannen and take your pick from retro-style food mixers, toasters and gadgets you never knew you needed: pineapple slicer, anyone? Store manager Marcela Paťhová loves to show off the copper cookware.

Balkan restaurant Luka Lu has a wacky interior so bright you'll need to wear shades - or you can always sit outside. It's the seafood that's the main attraction here. Karel Gott - the Czech Republic's answer to Cliff Richard - is a regular. With such a warm welcome, who can blame him?

Slaves to nicotine should head to Dobrá Trafika, where they can splash out on a Sherlock Holmes-style pipe or a Romeo et Julieta Cuban cigar, then spark up in the adjoining café: a super-smoky hangout populated by art students, truanting sixth-formers and chess-playing Kafka wannabes.

Almonds, cashews, pistachios: Svět Ořísků has every edible nut imaginable, along with exotic dried fruits such as papaya, pineapple and kiwi. If you're not nuts about nuts, there are typical souvenirs on offer too, but don't upset the staffby asking whether you can buy a tram ticket here - the answer's definitely

Old-school tailors Krejčovství Zach a Spol specialise in bespoke suits, with a stack of vintage Playboy and Penthouse magazines for clients to peruse. Owner Vladimír Zach has stitched countless costumes for opera, TV and films. Tel: +420 737 767 350.

Once a Dominican nunnery, the Czech Museum of Music now houses over 400 historical instruments, including mandolins, bagpipes, harps, glass harmonicas and a piano played by Mozart during a visit to the city in 1787. Visitors can listen to recordings made using the items on display, which brings it all to life.

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