Exploring Prague: Oblivious in Zizkov

Being oblivious is underrated. Obliviousness makes me miss the one thing I wanted to see. Or I pay twice as much for a meal that’s half as good. Sometimes, though, I end up in ridiculous positions that are a delight to experience.

So it was in Prague.

Venturing around the Žižkov neighborhood, a friend (Dustin) and I found enough to occupy an evening. The New Jewish Cemetery, the TV tower with the horrendous baby statues crawling on it because David Černý is weird and hip, and various churches scattered about. The area is less crowded than the Old Town, so we could breathe and amble.

We loitered in a café where a Spanish guitar duo enticed us in for a late dessert. After 30 minutes, we decided to call it, and head toward the hotel. Before we reached the metro, however, we passed a piano bar named Piano Bar.

"Why should we name it? The place sells itself!"

“Why should we name it? The place sells itself!”

Like a woman too attractive to be talking with us, it proved too alluring.

The interior wasn’t cozy, but it was welcoming. Personal, I suppose. Small portraits along the back wall, trinkets and knick-knacks and riff-raff cluttering the rest of the interior, a pianist switching from Beethoven to Queen to whatever ’80s rock crossed his mind. The cacophony of the place somehow blended into a melody.

So casual.

So casual.

As Dustin and I sat beside each other in a booth, the bartender saunters over to take our order. Dustin, being a magnanimous guy, buys my Pepsi. Another patron brought her dog with her. Delightful! Everyone is smiling and enjoying themselves. We’ve found a nice place. As we survey more of the bar, a few things become clear. It’s mostly male, but that’s the norm in Prague. Dustin draws my attention to a picture of a man passed out on a bar. I noticed it when we entered, but Dustin realizes something as I do a double-take. The man is naked, lying on his stomach. Ha, that’s silly. Drunken people and their shenanigans.

“Dude,” Dustin said, “That’s from this bar.”

Sure enough, the bar in the picture was the bar in front of us.

Hmm. That’s, uh, artsy.

We turn to inspect the portraits on the back wall. Which were also artistic photographs of partially nude men posing. Mental light bulbs began to flicker. Spotting a handful of rainbow flags throughout the establishment, we realize that we stumbled into a dog-friendly gay piano bar.

I can mark that off for the scavenger hunt. Next clue!

Piecing that together took us a solid four or five minutes. Sitting beside each other on the same side of the table, with Dustin buying my drink, helped us blend, I imagine. The random smiles made a bit more sense as well. I’m flattered, really, but, despite the past five minutes, I’m not. But you’re a nice guy! Have a good night!

That was a first. It was the TV trope of “But if I’m here, and you’re there, then who’s …. — uh-oh!”

So. If you’re near the TV tower in Prague. Pop into the Piano Bar with a friend or two, bring your dog, but don’t wear the Freddie Mercury T-shirt if you don’t want to send a signal.

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