Who has never dreamt of partying the night away in an underground nuclear bunker? C’mon, don’t be shy; we know we couldn’t possibly be the only ones! Ok, so we’ll admit we didn’t really even know we wanted to party in a former nuclear bunker until we visited Prague. But when we discovered Bunkr Parukarka was the place to be, we just could not resist! What exactly is Bunkr Parukarka you ask? That would be a former nuclear bunker which dates back to the Cold War, and has now been transformed into an extremely unique bar.
Once the war ended and the threat of foreign nuclear attack vanished, someone had the brilliant idea of turning this particular bunker into an attraction; one in which you wouldn’t mind having a drink or two. Before you get all excited thinking Bunkr Parukarka is going to be one of those hip and flash trendy places you’ve heard about sprouting all over Prague, sorry to disappoint. There is nothing particularly ‘flashy’ about this place, but if it’s an utterly unique drinking experience you crave, and don’t mind getting a side-dish of a rather stark historical lesson, then this may just be the place for you.
The first thing you’ll notice, when you first descend into the deep dark nook that is Bunkr Parukarka, is the fact that the place is a little bit, hmmm, eerie. But we urge you to stick it out! Once the party gets going, you’ll be amazed to discover that whilst the Cold War may have ended quite some time ago now, the celebrations are only just beginning. You’ll also find it quite amazing that for such an old place, Bunkr Parukarka seems to attract a fairly new (and younger) crowd. This isn’t just a bar actually, it’s the venue for some of the hippest techno/pop parties in Prague, so although you can certainly enjoy a drink as you peruse the plethora of wartime memorabilia stuck to every inch of every wall, you could also head here on a Friday night and not emerge until Sunday morning. If that’s your thing, then you’ll definitely be in the right place.
Go for the novelty, the music, the alcohol, the grenades or the gas masks; whatever you do...just go at least once to check it out when you visit Prague. Claustrophobic? You may have issues as you start descending the equivalent of four stories, but surprisingly it is not as super-tight as you’d imagined. There are emergency exits and the ventilation system seems to be doing a good enough job of keeping everyone conscious so, you know, you’ll be right! You could also think of it this way: had you been a Prague resident during the war you may have been forced to LIVE down here with FIVE THOUSAND other people. If that doesn’t make you feel better, than nothing will!
You’ll find the entrance to the bar on the western fringes of Parukarka Park. The entrance is, as one would expect, almost hidden on the side of a hill, however nowadays the street graffiti and constant flow of people make it a little less camouflaged and a little easier to find.
Image: Honza Groh