The Life of Roxy
For nearly a century, the Dlouha street venue has been a part of Prague’s nightlife
Like the Czech Republic itself, Prague’s Roxy nightclub has led many lives since its opening in 1927. A renowned sense of freedom has given life into venues like this since the fall of the Communist regime in 1989. Since then, this nightclub, art hall, and concert venue has become the embodiment of Prague’s wild 90’s night scene that continues to thrive today.
Originally opened as a cinema that was notable amongst Prague’s elite back in 1927, the venue fell quiet as nightlife during World War II was scarce. Not helped by being in a then primarily Jewish-neighborhood, the building was essentially abandoned after the war, until it found use as a film school during the tenure of the Czechoslovak Socialist Republic. Over the years, the building fell into disrepair, and in 1989 after the fall of the Communist regime, it was set for demolishment due to structural damage. However, thanks a grant from the Linhart Foundation (which supports the arts), the building was saved and turned into an unground concert venue.
Roxy would face a series of continued issues, with the flood of 2002 temporarily shuttering the club down and noise complaints from neighboring buildings as well as the mayor of Prague. But, since 1927 the loyalty and hope had kept Roxy alive, with its roots dug deep and having bear witness to some of the worst atrocities the Czech Republic has endured.
In addition to being one of the hottest clubs in Prague, Roxy ventured into the arts, with their experimental space for exhibitions as well as Café Nod, both venues promoting local and international art. Every six months the venue hosts its very own Roxy Visuals; a showcase of visually demanding pieces from artists in and around the Czech Republic. Combining this with the nightclub atmosphere makes for one of the most unique experiences you can immerse yourself in with friends. Versatile to say the least, as these shows highlight the skill and craft of highly talented artists. Previous shows have included one of the original artists to emerge from the Czech contemporary art scene: Pasta Oner.
Roxy isn’t just any other club serving fancy drinks and playing music everyone can sing along to; it’s more than that. Its dynamic art gallery is the first of many layers that separate Roxy from the rest. The consistent and adamant level of loyalty as well as the exclusivity that comes with their art exhibitions and rooftop parties makes Roxy exceptional. People have been coming here for years, not just for the night life, but also for the historical significance attached to the building and name.
“You can feel the history and vibe from all those years behind. That’s why we try to keep the venue as it is, of course respectively to current highest technical and visual standards,” says Daniel Bacho, PR and communications manager of Roxy.
The feeling of exclusivity make everyone feel like VIP guests attending the coolest rooftop party in Prague. Thanks to the Linhart Foundation that saved the building from demolition in 1992, Roxy has made every event feel like its last.
Loyalty isn’t just limited to repeating club goers and shuffle of art curators, it’s essentially part of their mission statement that the staff promote every day. Their defiance to adhere to mainstream pop culture demands allows them to invest in new and upcoming artists and genres. Sure, it’s a gamble but it’s met with a positive response from concert goers looking for new musical exposure. A rebellious attitude like this isn’t uncommon in Prague, as clubs like Roxy would have faced suppression during the communist regime. Think of it as the John Lennon Wall of nightlife. Roxy has continued to embody this contemporary attitude with every piece of art and band they showcase.
The unique use of space combined with a welcoming atmosphere makes Roxy one of the most well respected and visited clubs in Prague. Its history and following has created an identity that has become synonymous with icons like the Charles Bridge and Vyšehrad. Look beyond the carefully decorated walls and the giant bone dangling from the ceiling (Yes, you read that correctly) for the authenticity imbued into the walls, nearly 100 years in the making. What awaits you in the galleries that dominate the upper and lower sectors of this venue will leave you starstruck.
“The most important thing is the positive emotion people leave the club with. You have to feel welcomed and wanted and that’s what we try to achieve. Of course, we want to entertain people and bring cutting edge performances, but what stays in people’s minds and emotions. That’s what we focus on.”