The 10 best cinemas in Prague: 2021 edition

Nearly a decade ago, I compiled a rundown of the best cinemas in Prague at expats.cz. Years later and with some new players on the scene, it’s high time for an update.

With cinemas struggling to bring back visitors after lengthy pandemic-related closures, concerns about crowded indoor venues, and a boom in streaming services with new content, now is the time to support your local arthouse. Almost all of the cinemas below double as a cafe/bar and make a great location for a social get-together even if you don’t catch a movie.

There are no multiplexes on the list below, but Prague has six Cinema City locations, two CineStar venues, and a single Premiere Cinemas location. Most of Prague’s multiplexes are located in the city’s shopping centers, and are all serviceable to see the latest blockbuster, which they often have exclusive access to.

Still, projection standards have dwindled at Prague’s multiplexes over the years, and outside of (generally) more comfortable seating you’ll have a better moviegoing experience at one of Prague’s independent arthouse cinemas. Exceptions: a still-impressive IMAX screen at Cinema City Flora, and 4DX halls at Cinema City Chodov and Nový Smíchov that can turn a routine action movie into a fun amusement park ride.

Honorable mentions to Kino Mat and Kino Evald in the city center, and Kino Dlabačov in Prague 6, all of which are more-than-serviceable art house locations.

Ticket prices quoted below are for regular showings, but most halls have discounts for students and seniors, and alternate pricing for special screenings.

10. Autokino Strahov

Photo: Facebook / Autokino Strahov

Prague’s first drive-in cinema to screen a movie in decades seemed like a temporary solution when indoor venues were closed due to pandemic regulations in March, 2020. But AutoKino Strahov became a big hit, survived through the pandemic and chilly winter (during which films were still shown), and is still going strong after regulations have been relaxed and cinemas in the Czech Republic allowed to reopen.

Located outside Strahov Stadium, a Soviet-era landmark and one of the largest stadiums in the world, here’s hoping the drive-in concept is here to stay. No car? No problem: Autokino Strahov introduced new outdoor couches this summer, though you’ll want to dress warmly during the winter months.

Autokino Strahov
Zátopkova, Prague 6
+420 725 892 082
website

Tickets: 350 CZK per vehicle or 120 CZK per person for the couches

9. Kino Přítomnost

Photo: Facebook / Přítomnost

A boutique cinema in a Žižkov locale that has been crying out for an upgrade in available cultural options, Kino Přítomnost had the unfortunate luck to open its doors just as the Covid-19 pandemic struck the Czech Republic, and was closed for much of its first year of operation.

The cinema makes for a unique moviegoing experience in Prague, with casual couch seating around a small table with a dim light, and service that brings out reasonably-priced cocktails and other snacks during the show. A great spot for a date or get-together, the casual atmosphere has one drawback for more serious cinemagoers: don’t expect the kind of phones-down silence that you’ll get at other locations.

The seating is nice, but a far cry from the kind of beds and recliners at London’s Electric Cinema and other boutique theaters that Kino Přítomnost has taken inspiration from. Premium ticket prices are justified given the table service and overall experience, and still run less than the average multiplex.

Kino Přítomnost
Siwiecova 1, Prague 3
+420 608 436 086
website

Tickets: 210 CZK

8. Kino Atlas

Photo: Jason Pirodsky

The only cinema option in Prague’s up-and-coming Karlín district, Kino Atlas is located just around the corner from the Florenc metro on the border between Prague 1 and 8. It’s a personal favorite, and due to the high number of press screenings held at the venue, probably the cinema on this list which I’ve most often visited.

Kino Atlas boasts first-rate projection standards (in its main hall), comfortable seats, and an understated upstairs cafe that makes a fine setting for a casual meetup. But the programming at the cinema could use a little splash: the lineup of films at Kino Atlas is generally what you’ll see at most cinemas across Prague, and there are rarely any exclusive bookings.

If Kino Atlas is your local, that’s just fine: you really couldn’t ask for a better Prague venue to catch the latest film. But if it isn’t, there’s rarely the kind incentive to make a trip out to Karlín that the venues on the top half of this list boast.

Kino Atlas
Sokolovská 1, Prague 8
+420 222 312 737
website

Tickets: 139 CZK

7. Kino Pilotů

Photo: Jason Pirodsky

Located in a Prague 10 basement, Kino Pilotů initially seems pretty unassuming. But it services both Vršovice and Vinohrady, two of Prague’s most popular residential neighborhoods without any other cinema options save for a pair of multiplexes on the outskirts.

Kino Pilotů also houses three screening halls, and boasts an impressive and diverse lineup of films that few other Prague art houses can match. Bonus: special attention paid to the international community means frequent (even daily) English-friendly screenings, usually English-subtitled projections of recent Czech films.

While the cinema bar itself is relatively lacking, Kino Pilotů is located adjacent to Prague’s trendy Krymská street, which boasts a number of hip bars and restaurants that make the perfect locale for a discussion after the movie.

Kino Pilotů
Donská, Prague 10
+420 723 985 986
website

Tickets: 140 CZK

6. Kino Ponrepo

Photo: Facebook / Ponrepo

The seat of the Czech National Film Archive, Kino Ponrepo is the destination in Prague for serious film lovers, with an eclectic lineup of films that range from silent classics with live musical accompaniment to 35mm prints of long-lost films not available on home video or streaming services. Some of my fondest memories at Prague cinemas, including a two-day marathon of Rainer Werner Fassbinder’s Berlin Alexanderplatz, have occurred under the auspices of Kino Ponrepo.

Despite recent renovations, however, the narrow screening hall isn’t quite up to the standards of some of the other cinemas on this list; the programming is also not as accessible for non-Czech-speaking visitors.

But while many of the foreign-language projections are not English-friendly, Kino Ponrepo also regularly screens Czech classics with English subtitles. Bonus: a particularly chill cafe that has greatly improved under the renovations.

Kino Ponrepo
Bartolomějská 11, Prague 1
+420 778 522 708
website

Tickets: 120 CZK

5. Kino Lucerna

Photo: Jason Pirodsky

For years, Kino Lucerna has been my go-to answer whenever visitors ask for a recommendation on where to catch a movie in Prague. Dating back to 1909, this is one of the oldest cinemas in the world still in operation; admiring the gorgeous interiors before the lights go down, including an ornate ceiling and balcony seating, can often be more memorable than the film you’re about to see.

Despite technological upgrades, however, the 110-year-old hall makes for some less-than-impressive projection specs, including tinny acoustics and a screen that seems too small even if you’re in the front row.

A smaller second hall at Kino Lucerna has much more comfortable seats, a more appropriately-sized screen, and better projection quality, ranking it alongside some of the higher-ranked cinemas on this list. But it misses the grandeur of the main attraction.

Kino Lucerna
Vodičkova 36, Prague 1
+420 224 216 972
website

Tickets: 145 CZK

4. Kino Světozor

Photo: Facebook / Kino Světozor

The largest and most central of the Aerofilms-operated cinemas in Prague (see also Kino Aero and Bio Oko), Kino Světozor now boasts three cinema halls, the largest of which features some of the best and most consistent screening standards in the city. Kino Světozor’s cinema bar, however, is tiny compared to its sister cinemas; most visitors find themselves seated on the steps down to the screening halls if they want to enjoy a drink and chat before the movie.

Kino Světozor was once the go-to Prague cinema for English-friendly screenings, and even boasted of screening a Czech film with English subtitles every day. That’s no longer the case; and while another central Prague cinema has stolen the crown of most-accessible for non-Czech speakers, I’ve also found more frequent English-friendly screenings at Světozor’s sister cinemas in recent days (during the recent Šary Vary festival, foreign films presented with English subtitles at Aero and Oko did not feature the same at Světozor).

Still, Kino Světozor may be the Czech capital’s best option to catch the latest big release. At Wenceslas Square in the center of Prague, head to Kino Lucerna if you want to admire the venue, but Kino Světozor if you want to focus on the film.

Kino Světozor
Vodičkova 41, Prague 1
+420 224 946 824
website

Tickets: 159 CZK

3. Bio Oko

Photo: Jason Pirodsky

A Prague 7 cultural landmark and one of the most impressive venues in Prague to catch a movie, Bio Oko dates back to the 1940s and alongside Kino Lucerna is one of two Prague cinemas to feature balcony seating. On the ground floor, front-row seats have been torn out and replaced with beach chairs, loungers, and other interesting artifacts; I think there’s even a dentist’s chair in there. At one point, the cinema housed a converted Škoda Trabant to recreate a drive-in experience for the lucky couple early enough to call shotgun.

In addition to the large screening hall, Bio Oko also features an excellent bar & cafe with light snacks and craft brews on tap; during the summer months, the front doors open to sidewalk seating that expands the venue into one of the hippest places in Prague to grab a drink even if you aren’t interested in catching a film.

Bio Oko also hosts regular screening cycles, mini film festivals, and occasional English-friendly editions of foreign films. It also generally features the same programming as Kino Světozor and Kino Aero, making a trip out to Prague 7 unnecessary – but well worth it – for non-residents.

Bio Oko
Františka Křížka 15, Prague 7
+420 233 382 606
website

Tickets: 150 CZK

2. Kino Aero

Photo: Jason Pirodsky

Located in the friendly confines of Prague’s colorful Žižkov neighborhood, halfway between prime pub density and upscale new residential developments, Kino Aero nudges its sister Bio Oko as Prague’s coolest cinema in my book. It’s distinctive bar area with local specialties on tap matches Bio Oko in hip appeal, and an outdoor courtyard area is especially fun during the summer months. A food window even serves up some delicacies from the grill; love that vegan hot dog, a boiled carrot in a rohlík (bun).

But what really sets Kino Aero apart is the diversity in its programming. While all three Aerofilms cinemas feature a similar lineup of films, Aero seems to have the most frequent and offbeat special events. Those include selections from the Shockproof Film Festival, now in it’s seventeenth year; at no other Prague cinema could I imagine catching interactive screenings of bad-movie classics like The Room or Troll 2, or other presentations with live MST3K-style dubbing. For Halloween this year, the venue screened Troma’s Shakespeare’s Sh*tstorm and Phil Tippett’s Mad God.

While the large screening hall is not quite up to the standards of Kino Světozor – the seats themselves could use an upgrade – Kino Aero is my go-to for an interesting and memorable night out at the movies.

Kino Aero
Biskupcova 31, Prague 3
+420 271 771 349
website

Tickets: 140 CZK

1. Edison Filmhub

Photo: Jason Pirodsky

One of Prague’s newest cinemas is also its best, especially for non-Czech speakers. Edison Filmhub celebrated just its second birthday this year, but the building that houses it has a long history. Located down the street from the Jerusalem Synagogue, the functionalist Edison Transformation Station helped power Prague from the 1930s through the 1990s as one of the city’s urban electrical substations.

Now, it’s one of the Czech capital’s most electric cinemas. Because Edison Filmhub is owned by Film Europe, it features a distinctive lineup of films compared to the previous three cinemas on this list, which are all owned by Aerofilms. That includes new features culled from film festivals across Europe which you may not get the chance to see at any other cinema in Prague.

As an added boon for non-Czech speakers, almost every screening at Edison Filmhub, when possible, includes English subtitles. That means English subtitles for new Czech releases, and both English and Czech subtitles on other non-English-language features. The result is a near-guarantee of multiple English-friendly screenings every day, unheard of for a Prague arthouse until Edison came onto the scene. Each Monday, Edison also hosts special English-friendly screenings hosted by Ryan Keating-Lambert from the Prague-based blog Movie Barf.

Complete with a stylish front bar and cafe, Edison Filmhub is no longer a secret on the Prague film scene: multiple screenings this summer were sold out, and crowds from the bar frequently spilled out onto the front garden by the Jindřišská tram stop. Edison’s screening hall is smallish but first-rate, and boasts the most comfortable seats of any of Prague’s arthouses.

Edison Filmhub
Jeruzalémská 12, Prague 1
+420 773 803 428
website

Tickets: 155 CZK

Lead photo: classic cinema seats via Unsplash / Jan Tinneberg

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Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky

Jason Pirodsky has been writing about the Prague film scene and reviewing films in print and online media since 2005. A member of the Online Film Critics Society, you can also catch his musings on life in Prague at expats.cz and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at MaArtial.com.

4 Responses

  1. Add Kino Balt to this list! Our favorite cinema in Prague, and the only Prague cinema to see bad movie classics like The Room, Troll 2, and Captain Alex 🙂

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