New drive-in culinary cinema opens at historic Prague landmark

Cinemas throughout the Czech Republic have been largely closed since last summer due to the Covid-19 pandemic, but one has remained largely open: Autokino Strahov, Prague’s drive-in cinema located at a local landmark, one of the largest stadiums in the world.

Now, another drive-in cinema is opening at a local landmark just in time for the summer 2021 season.

Autokino ledárny, located at the Branické ledárny (Branik Ice Houses) in Prague 4, is set to officially debut next Thursday, April 29, with a screening of the 1955 James Dean classic Rebel Without a Cause at 20:30.

In addition to showing movies, Prague’s new drive-in cinema will also double as a culinary destination. At a time when restaurants throughout the country are also closed, in-car dining will also be a feature of the new venue.

via Autokino ledárny

via Autokino ledárny

The creator of the new drive-in cinema is Michal Kozlíček, owner of nearby restaurant Rest. Grilled calamari, burgers, and vegetarian dishes will be on the menu at Autokino ledárny, along with beer, wine, and cocktails. Drivers who drink can get themselves (and their cars) home with a discounted price from taxi service Rychla Želva.

“We were looking for a way to get our fresh food to people right now,” Kozlíček says through a press release. “We invented a squid pop-up, because squid is a specialty of Rest and not suitable for delivery.”

“Then we thought it would be great to combine it with the cinema, where people can come to the movie and buy food. These two lines naturally intersected in the idea of the car cinema.”

The venue itself might be one of the highlights of the new concept. The art nouveau Branické ledárny were constructed in the early 1900s as Prague’s primary ice houses, harvesting ice from the Vltava river in the winter and storing it for distribution to Prague restaurants, pubs, and hospitals throughout the year. Praguers in the first half of the 20th century owed thanks to the ice houses for the ability to enjoy an ice-cold beer.

Branické ledárny via Wikimedia / Lovecz

Branické ledárny via Wikimedia / Lovecz

While ice houses are no longer a mainstay in the days of modern refrigeration, and the Vltava river no longer freezes in Prague due to the construction of a nearby dam, the venue itself has been a protected national landmark since 1964. It has previously been inaccessible to the public, and largely fallen into disrepair.

“A real film experience will always be possible only in the cinema, and at the moment I consider it a good idea to revive culture in our part of the city during a situation where we will unfortunately have to wait a while for the opening of regular cinemas,” says Prague 4 deputy mayor Michal Hroza.

The capacity of the drive-in cinema is 75 cars. While spectators must currently have a vehicle, Autokino ledárny will also open an area for viewers (and diners) on foot as soon as measures in the Czech Republic allow for it.

Autokino ledárny will screen films every Thursday and Friday night, from 20:30 during the first week of May and 21:00 afterwards. After the Rebel Without a Cause premiere next Thursday, a screening of Honeyland will follow Friday, and the organizers promise a diverse lineup of films.

via Autokino ledárny

via Autokino ledárny

A program of upcoming films and menu of daily specialties can be found at the official website of Autokino ledárny.

Tickets run 475 CZK per vehicle, and cars are currently limited to two people in accordance with current regulations in the Czech Republic.

The Czech government is currently negotiating the re-opening of shops, services, and cultural venues, but a date for re-opening cinemas is still likely to be months away.


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 and tips on mindfulness sourced from ancient principles at

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