Prague, Czech Republic – Is Prague’s nightlife getting out of control? The city’s municipal authorities seem to think so, and have appointed a so-called “nightlife mayor” to tackle the problem before it gets out of hand.
The municipal council of the city of Prague recently appointed Jan Stern as its first “nightlife mayor”. Although that’s not, obviously, his official job title. More officially, he was appointed as the head of the special night commission, composed of representatives of Prague districts and municipal police officers, in charge of assessing the current situation and coming up with solutions to tackle the problems of noise pollution, overfilled streets and drunken merry-makers, especially in the city centre.
“We believe that nightlife is a very important asset for the city and its inhabitants, but it is also causing a set of specific problems that need to be targeted. As I see it, our work is not about regulating, but about cultivating”, Jan Stern said, before outlining some of the ideas of the commission and saying that most of the focus will go to “Dlouha street and its surroundings, where nightlife and all that is negative about it is concentrated”.
He will be in charge of dealing with the excesses of the Czech capital’s bustling nightlife and noise pollution from bars, pubs and restaurants across the city. The aim is to promote a more sustainable, pleasant and safer environment for everyone to enjoy their night out (or in) in a city that attracts roughly 8 million tourists a year.
Announcing the measure to the press earlier this week, Prague 7 councilor Hana Třeštíková (Praha Sobe) insisted that the nightlife mayor will “not be one person who will walk the streets at night and ask the people to relax. It’s a team of people who will introduce systematic measures”, she highlighted, to avoid simple shortcuts and misinterpretation regarding the new position.
Many residents, especially in the city centre where many of Prague’s most popular bars and nightclubs are located, have long been complaining about the nuisances of late-night partying in their neighborhood. For many, the situation only got worse after the government introduced, less than two years ago, a ban on smoking inside bars and restaurants, forcing the smokers to indulge on the street, even late at night. The goal is also to change the image of Prague as a “party city” offering cheap alcohol and multiple nightclubs – one of the main reasons, let’s face it, why some groups of tourists decide to spend a few days in the country boasting the biggest beer consumption in the world and some of the finest home-grown liqueurs.
To carry out its assignment, the Prague nightlife commission will have, for instance, the power to issue orders on the closing hours for some bars and restaurants. But its director strikes a reassuring tone and pledged that he wants to involve everyone in the decision-making process, including bar and club owners and tourists themselves.
Prague is not the first city to appoint a “nightlife mayor”, and was inspired by the likes of New York, Paris or Amsterdam in doing so. Unsurprisingly, Jan Stern, who participated in the past in the opening of the popular cultural venue Containall in Prague, announced that he will travel to Amsterdam before the end of the month to meet with his counterpart in the Dutch city and “see if they have some specific measures that we can try to implement”.