Občanská Plovárna - Thai restaurant

Popular Prague venue finds true calling as Thai restaurant and party hotspot

A long-standing Prague venue that has undergone many a makeover in its colourful history is finding its feet as destination for discerning diners, music lovers and high profile clients.

The beautiful Občanská Plovárna, located on the banks of the Vltava River, was built in the middle of the 19th century originally as a public swimming pool – the first public pool built in central Europe – and welcomed thousands of bathers over the years until it ceased operation in the 1980s.

Local entrepreneur Robert Grohmann, who is the current director of Občanská Plovárna, took over the reins of the venue in the early 2000s when it was remodelled into a casino, and again oversaw it transformation into an Italian restaurant in the late 2000s.

But Občanská Plovárna really found its niche around four years ago. Robert had become a fan and good friend of Prague-based Thai chef Paramese “Mesy” Wongan, and when Mesy wanted a career change, Robert decided to restyle the venue into a Thai restaurant and offered him a position at Občanská Plovárna.

“I firmly believe that Thai cuisine is exactly what the Czech Republic needs,” explained Robert. “A great deal of Czech food can be very unhealthy, whereas Thai food, with its varied spices and emphasis on rice and vegetables, is good not only for the body but the mind and soul too.”

Quite naturally, Občanská Plovárna’s incarnation as a Thai restaurant found a fan base with Prague’s Asian community and visitors from Asia, and its popularity has helped entice native Czechs in too.

“Although Thai cuisine already has a strong reputation in the Czech Republic, some people do find its spicy flavours hard to adapt to,” said Robert. “But we are confident that serving genuine Thai food is a good thing for Prague, and when locals see our Asian community enjoying our food, it lends the restaurant a certain authenticity.”

Občanská Plovárna’s popularity doesn’t end with just its delicious, healthy Thai food. The venue is also a favoured location for company parties and events and its flexible spaces – which includes two picturesque terraces, a music club, garden area, marquee and three pontoons – mean it can be easily adapted to a client’s needs.

A sought-after venue both in the summer months and for Christmas parties, Občanská Plovárna has attracted high profile clients including Czech gas distribution company RWE, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Saab Systems.

“Company parties and events actually provide Občanská Plovárna with its biggest income, and our clientele love our flexibility, attractive location and spaciousness,” said Robert. “Their guests always have a memorable time which builds a good reputation for our clients.”

But the real attraction behind Občanská Plovárna is no doubt it’s scenic, relaxing riverside locale.

“People who visit Občanská Plovárna love its location. It’s like an island of quiet – a peacful respite from the busier tourist oriented places. It’s a great place to sit back, relax and watch the river, boats and people pass by,” said Robert.

And with a series of special events taking place over the summer, including jazz nights every Thursday to Saturday, Občanská Plovárna is bound to become a premier destination for Prague residents.

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