Golfer’s paradise

The Prague Post

New café at Ruzyne Airport scores a cool Hole in One

“People are interested because from the outside it looks like an island.”

This may seem like a strange description for a café in a landlocked country and located inside Terminal 1 at Prague’s Ruzyne International Airport no less. But Jiří Riegger, supervisor for Ramses Air, who owns and operates the café, is pleased with his newest offering — Hole in One Café & Bar, which opened in February.

“It was a good idea, located in a good place,” he says.

Green and white, bright and beckoning, the little rest stop calls to you immediately upon your release from passport control. What can sometimes be a nerve-wracking experience can be overcome by a visit to this fun space. Ivan Drobný of Drobný Architects, which designed Hole in One, says he appreciated the opportunity to do something different.

“We design hotels, restaurants and residential homes,” he explains. “I prefer not to copy but to work on new projects, to not be typical but to have new themes.”

Drobný Architects has designed more than 10 of the eateries at Ruzyně. Each one is different. Some are traditional, and others have a more minimalist style. While a golf theme isn’t an overall unique one, it is a bit unusual in the Czech Republic. But with the sport catching on among locals, and the country working to bring in golf tourists, the idea of a golf-themed bar at the airport seemed like a hole-in-one.

While not a golfer himself, Drobný says he drew inspiration from one of his former clients, well-known Czech actor and avid golfer Marek Eben. Drobný designed Eben’s home.

“He’s the closest golf player I know,” Drobný says with a smile. “He assisted with ideas and inspiration.”

And it turned out well, as little golfing touches can be found scattered throughout the small space. What first catches your attention upon entering is the bright, clean feel. Large white ball-shaped lamps hang from a grid ceiling. The center seating area consists of white rounded-back chairs paired with stainless-steel tables, complete with tee-shaped stands. Around the perimeter, soft blue-gray suede stools are matched with amoeba-shaped tables, their stands filled with golf balls.

“We preferred green and white, because they are golf colors,” Drobný explains. “I feel it’s a nice combination of seating, soft stools and backed chairs.”

Dark wood flooring surrounds the outer border, while a slightly raised inside area offers green carpeting. The front of this raised portion is actually a glass floor with a miniature sand bunker underneath. Tees, balls and rakes are scattered around for an as-close-to-a-golf- course-as-you-are-going-to-get-sitting-in-an-airport feel.

The mint-green bar sits at the back of the space with probably the most interesting feature — golf-ball bar stools. Sitting on them is akin to sitting on a yoga ball. They are surprisingly comfy, but be careful how many drinks you have, as tumbling off probably happens quite easily.

A sporting atmosphere

The space is quite open and has a fairly round shape. One outer “wall” is a window, the other is open for entry. Above this end of the café is a stop-motion mural of a golf ball being hit. The swing of the club to the ball soaring on its way is captured on film. On the main large interior wall, a 3-D photographic mural of a golf course is the backdrop for large screen televisions showing — what else — golf tournaments.

“Looking around, it feels like you’re outside,” Drobný says of the atmosphere the mural adds to the café. “If you don’t have a window to look out, it’s the view, and it’s about being interesting.”

Other golf touches can be found at every turn: holes with golf flags in them, golf bags hanging over the bar, and there’s even a complete golf outfit on one wall. If you are on your way out of the country, be sure to check out the eatery’s gift selection. Choose a memento from the collection of Czech slivovice, golf balls and other sports-related paraphernalia.

Drobný hopes visitors feel the atmosphere and let all the elements blend together.

“Some things are visible, and some things are invisible,” he says. “And what is invisible is what you are feeling.”