The doorway to this unassuming café no longer has a helpful handpainted sign painted next to it. Now, there’s just the arched wooden door that appears to lead to a cellar, or perhaps to a Hobbit hole. Don’t be discouraged by the café’s seeming reluctance to be found. Inside, it has a welcoming vibe, and it’s a remnant of ‘real Prague’ in the heart of the tourist district.
To get there, you have to circle around the Church of Our Lady before Týn.
When you get to the back of the church, remember that it’s not that alley through the arch in the middle, but this alley, through the smaller arch on the left — the one that seems to lead to a dead end.
On the way, you will pass the Bric a Brac Antiques shop, which is packed with unusual knick-knacks. Feel free to step inside and browse the tchotchkes, but don’t forget your mission to enjoy a drink at the Týnská.
As the street widens, look to the right and notice the wooden sandwich board on the sidewalk. You’ll see an arched door with a round metal handle, and then you’ll know: This is the place. Turn the door handle and push like you mean it, then descend into the Týnská.
Inside, you walk down a few steps to the front room… meander past the bar…
… and decide which of the rooms with the arched ceilings appeals today.
The back room with the piano looks out over the patio, so it’s got the best of both worlds: a window to let in light and fresh air and the moody inside-ness of the kavárna (café).
On a recent visit, we saw a potential romance in bloom. At the table next to the piano, a British boy in a tweed cap flirted with an appropriately coquettish Czech girl in a striped skirt and headscarf. She had a slight air of the Roma about her. He was obviously smitten. He talked to her about books and movies, helping her practice English. They discussed the difference between comfortable and awkward silences, and then he explained the meaning of the phrase ‘being bored.’ He invited her to some kind of event he was doing at Bukowski’s Bar the following week (a reading? a show?). She laughed and made an excuse. But she was making a lot of eye contact, so perhaps it eventually worked out in his favor?
The building in which this secret spot is tucked away has been in Old Town Prague since the Middle Ages, and you can feel the past flirting with the present under its arched ceilings. In the winter, the warm galleys are a cozy contrast to the nip in the air; enjoy a mulled wine or mint tea to take off the chill. In the summer, the courtyard patio is a cool oasis and a welcome respite from the bustle of the city center. Be sure to try the homemade lemonade and marinated hermelin cheese with cranberries.
For opening hours and menu, visit the Tyn Literary Cafe web site.
Want to keep up with our book-related adventures? Sign up for our newsletter!
Strong Sense of Place is a website and podcast dedicated to literary travel and books we love. Reading good books increases empathy. Empathy is good for all of us and the amazing world we inhabit.
This is a weekly email. If you'd like a quick alert whenever we update our blog, subscribe here.
We'll share enough detail to help you decide if a book is for you, but we'll never ruin plot twists or give away the ending.
This 30-page 2020 Reading Atlas takes you around the world with dozens of excellent books and gorgeous travel photos. Get your free copy when you subscribe to our newsletter.
Content on this site is © 2020 by Smudge Publishing, unless otherwise noted. Peace be with you, person who reads the small type.