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Let the music make the memory

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This story is part of an occasional series of articles from the Prague Wanderer, a webzine created by New York University students in Prague. Learn more about the Prague Wanderer here.

Offering nightly live jazz music from 7:30 p.m. to 10:30 p.m., Red, Hot & Blues is one restaurant in Prague where the entertainment takes center stage. In the back corner of the restaurant’s main room sits an old, upright piano that has been accompanied by basses, guitars, and vocal scat singing since the establishment’s opening not long after the so-called Velvet Revolution.

At first glance the restaurant, located a short walk from Old Town Square, looks unremarkable. Yet, the music and scents of New Orleans wafting through the door beckon passersby to discover what Red, Hot & Blues has to offer. Continuing past the bar into the main seating area and the outdoor courtyard, the décor remains simple but refreshingly absent of any overly touristy decorations or tacky New Orleans memorabilia.

Giving diners an experience in the flavors and feeling of Mardi Gras is role of the food and the music rather than the setting.

The menu has a wide selection of Cajun and other American classics like buffalo wings and burgers. The quesadillas are stellar starters and are deliciously toped with salsa, sour cream and jalapeños for an extra kick on this tex-mex classic (CZK 189, USD 9). However, the main portions are rather large so splitting the appetizers is recommended. For a main course, try the chicken creole filled with tomato, pepper, onions and celery flavors and a hot, but not overly explosive, kick. The burrito with seasoned chicken was everything one would expect from a typical burrito but nothing particularly distinctive.

While the food is appetizing and homey, the menu itself is not particularly innovative. It is the complementary music in Red, Hot & Blues that truly makes the restaurant a noteworthy dining stop in Prague. If possible try and catch the Thursday or Friday night performances of Clean Head Phil low raspy voice singing the Kansas City Blues.

For another hip way to mix music and a meal, Radost Fx combines the unusual duo of trendy vegetarian eatery and techno/hip-hop night club. Radost’s restaurant is comprised of three separate sections. A narrow rectangular room, the café, clad in Versailles-esque golden furnishings, is visible from Bělehradská Street in Prague 2. Enter the building and continue past Radost’s dark and dingy stairwell that connects the upstairs eating and bar area with downstairs nightclub. Down the hallway is the lounge area, with an impressive assortment of oddly shaped chairs in floral damask fabrics, and the gallery, a room designed with a Moroccan flare and lined with long tables and plush cushions, perfect for cocktails with friends.

The restaurant’s eclectic tastes are also reflected in Radost’s globe-spanning cuisine that offers meatless twists on everything from Mediterranean to Mexican. Amidst the wide selection it is easy to forget that the menu is completely vegetarian. Listed under “foreplay” in the thick wood covered menu, the appetizers seemed to good to resist on paper. Yet, while the vegetarian grape leaves (125 Kc) were delicious, the dry and flavorless garlic cheese bread did not live up to expectations.

If you intend to visit the club downstairs late in the evening it’s probably best to stick to the lighter fare. Both the warm goat cheese salad and greek salad are noteworthy choices and the sandwich #5 melting with mozzarella, spinach, roasted garlic, tofu and artichoke hearts is also surprisingly enjoyable. The flavorful combination of tomato, garlic, and parsley in the ratatouille are, however, brought down in presentation by awkwardly large chunks of tomatoes and eggplant and in taste by the dryness of the couscous.

After dinner it is easy to transition into party mode by enjoying a cocktail at your table and then making your way downstairs to the club. A variety of international and local DJs are brought in to keep the party going way, way after most night venues in Prague have closed. Most often the crowded dance floor is packed with a young and touristy crowd getting down to a techno or hip hop beat.

In the end, what makes Radost worth the trip is its ability to use both dining and dancing to appeal to all the extravagant desires of the senses. The exorbitant list of cocktails arouse taste, the golden walls and flashing lights transfix the eyes, the scents of global delicacy entice your nose, you hear the rhythmic and pulsating music set the mood, and the open and busy dance floor always brings the exciting possibility of attraction and touch. All together, at Radost Fx a meal can be much more than a feast for your taste buds, adding music makes the night a total body experience.

Red, Hot & Blues

Jakubska 12, Prague 1

Phone: 222 314 639

Hours: Daily 8:00-24:00

Radost Fx

Belehradske 120, Prague 2

Phone: 244 254 776

Club Hours: Daily 10pm-5am

Restaurant Hours:

Monday – Saturday 11am-5am

Sunday 10:30 -5am

Rebecca Weinstein is a third year student at Tufts University studying psychology. She is from Westchester, New York.

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