Prague’s independent cinemas

Whilst Netflix and a take away are an easy way to fill in a blank when you’re stuck on what to do, heading out to see a movie on the big screen is so much more exciting.

And although Prague has it’s fair share of modern multiplex cinemas dotted around the city, I think it’s fair to say that, like the shopping malls they usually inhabit, they’re pretty characterless. Loud teenagers, overpriced popcorn, questionable food and the feeling that you could literally be almost anywhere in the world, because there’s really nothing to differentiate them from all the other multiscreen behemoths.

Fortunately, for an altogether more cultural experience, Prague has a strong independent cinema scene. And here’s a few of our favourites.

Bio OKO

Located just around the corner from the National Gallery in Holešovice, Bio Oko has become a  cornerstone of the local community. With a lobby bar, and outside seating in the summer, Bio Oko is a great place just to grab a drink, even if you’re not in a movie watching mood. The movie theatre is unique in its seating options; as well as the rows of classic cinema seats, you can also choose from deck chairs, dentists chairs, bean bags and arm chairs – whatever feels right at the time! Like with its sister cinemas (Aero & Světozor), all types of movie goer are catered for, with BabyBio (parent and baby screenings), BioSenior (reduced price daytime screenings), as well as a mix of english friendly and foreign films, all on the weekly program.

  • Where: Františka Křížka 460/15, 170 00 Praha-Holešovice
  • How: Metro – Line C – Vltavská, Tram – 1, 8, 12, 25 – Kamenická
  • Why: Cafe, Fun seating

Kino Aero

Run by the same people as Bio Oko and Světozor, Aero is a popular destination for local and foreign movie lovers. Not your usual multiplex, Aero has more character and less noisy school kids. On entering the building you’ll find a bar with some seating, for a pre-movie beverage. You can also take your drink in to the movie theatre too. Aero has a good selection of both more artsy or mainstream films, with daytime showings on the weekend. They always have at least one english friendly movie on the program. The majority of movies are shown in their original language with Czech subtitles. Thus, if you understand the original language, you’re good to go.

  • Where: Biskupcova 1733/31, 130 00 Praha 3-Žižkov
  • How: Tram – 9,10,11,16 – Biskupcova
  • Why: Bar, Arthouse movies

Světozor

If you like spending your time in the centre of Prague, and don’t want to travel far to get your movie fix, then Světozor is the perfect answer. It can be found in the passage of the same name, right next to St Wenceslas Square. Its central location means it can be a little busy at times, but with the recent addition of a third screen, you have plenty of movies to choose from. A small bar is tucked around the corner from the screens downstairs, serving a variety of drinks. Like its siblings, there are movies shown in various original languages as well as seasonal film festivals from around the world. Before entering the cinema, be sure to stop by the great little shop next door – Terry’s Posters (Terryho ponožky in Czech), which sells a wide selection of vintage movie posters.

  • Where: Vodičkova 791/41, 110 00 Praha 1-Nové Město
  • How: Metro – Line A or B – Mustek, Tram – multiple incl. 5, 6, 9, 14 – Václavské náměstí
  • Why: Central location, multiple screens, bar

Lucerna

One of Prague’s oldest cinemas, originally opening its door more than a hundred years ago, Kino Lucerna is a must-see. Housed in Palác Lucerna along with a shopping arcade, ballroom and grand hall, Lucerna was built by the late Czech President Vaclav Havel’s father (of the same name). The cinema can be accessed via the cafe/bar that overlooks the arcade, giving the chance to have a drink or snack before or after your movie. You’ll get a discount at the bar on presenting your cinema tickets, making it the perfect excuse for a evening beverage or two. The cinema itself has an impressive interior like that of a ballet or theatre auditorium. Like the other independent cinemas, Lucerna shows movies in various languages in original version as well as organising parent/baby screenings and the like. Its central location means there’s really no excuse to pay it a visit.

  • Where: Vodičkova 704, 110 00 Praha 1-Nové Město
  • How: Metro – Line A or B – Mustek, Tram – multiple incl. 5, 6, 9, 14 – Václavské náměstí
  • Why: Central location, Impressive theatre, Large cafe/bar

Kino Pilotů

Located in the ever-happening district of Vršovice, at the top of Krymská, Kino Pilotů is home to two main screens; with a total of 150 seats, and a further third screen more recently opened. The third screen is a more intimate affair with deck chair seating for 15 viewers, beers crates for side tables and tickets a third cheaper! A mix of movies are shown, almost entirely in Original Version, meaning there’s always ‘English Friendly’ films in the program as well other foreign language movies. On entering the building, you’ll find a bar upstairs serving coffee, tea, soft drinks and alcohol, with a modest amount of seating. Being in Vršovice, the cinema has a nice vibe, popular with people of all ages, locals and expats alike.

  • Where: Donská 168/19, 100 00 Praha 10-Vršovice
  • How: Tram – 4,22,23 – Krymská
  • Why: Bar, Multiple screens, Vibes

 

Want even more options? Here’s a few others to check out also: Atlas, Kasárna Karlín, Cinema 35, Kino Mat and Evald.

And there’s more good news – the prices for all the above are half that of the big multiscreen movie theatres. Expect to pay 120-140 CZK for an adult ticket. Some showings like BioSenior have 50% off and can be seen by anyone, assuming you’re free on a weekday morning.

So, sit back, relax, and watch a movie in one of Prague’s alternative cinemas!

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