Hillary Clinton at Cafe Slavia 1998


Czech artist Viktor Oliva’s “The Absinthe Drinker” (Buveur d’absinthe) which hangs in Prague’s famous Cafe Slavia on Narodni Street.

Accompanied by Czech President Vaclav Havel and his wife, Dagmar, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton stopped briefly Tuesday in the Slavia Kavarna, Havel’s favorite hangout in his dissident years, for a glass of absinthe. Young people watching the presidential motorcade in the street were largely indifferent to Clinton’s visit, but others inside the cafe were appreciative. “She is a very intelligent lady and she has a lot to say to the world.’
–Published on October 14, 1998, Page 4A, St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN)

Bill Clinton also visited the U zlatého tygra (At the Golden Tiger), a typical Bohemian pub, and played the saxophone at the wonderfully atmospheric Reduta Jazz Club.

A short distance from the Reduta is an important place in Czech and world history but sadly many tourists seem to walk by without noticing. This is the spot where riot police attacked a peaceful student demonstration on Narodni trida in 1989; the brutal police attack was the event that started the Velvet Revolution. Here is the moving memorial to the bravery shown during the end of those dark days:


6 responses to “Hillary Clinton at Cafe Slavia 1998

  1. And I remember we followed it live on TV!
    Long live the Czech Republic and the Czechs!

  2. An amazing time! Here’s a reminder of an heroic act from the dark days of 1969:

    Jan Palach (August 11, 1948 – January 19, 1969) was a Czech student who committed suicide by self-immolation as a political protest.

    The Soviet-led invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 was designed to crush the liberalising reforms of Alexander Dubček’s government during the Prague Spring. Palach died after setting himself on fire in Wenceslas Square in Prague, Czechoslovakia on 16 January 1969 in protest.

  3. I remember one of the pictures of Mrs. Clinton in the café. I have scoured the net and I don’t think that there are any photos of her actually drinking absinth. Did she? Who paid? And did she buy the next round?

  4. 🙂

    There was a Belgian photographer who snapped Bill playing the saxophone at the Reduta. I think there was a legal battle over the fact that they used his picture.

    Here’s one of Bill, Madeleine & President Vaclav Havel enjoying a beer


    As for who paid? The lady in green?

  5. Another at Kampa Park:

    Havel and Clinton at Kampa Park, Prague

    No absinth in sight though 😦

    Right by Reduta is another great historic cafe: Cafe Louvre…Albert Einstein used to go there. Nice desserts (homemade ice cream) – the goulash is not the best. Pool tables at the back. During the Nazi occupation the Cafe had a doorman of African descent. He survived the reign of terror…as the Nazi’s thought that removing him would cause local unrest. He was a kind of celebrity, very popular and became Czech.

    Here’s the website http://www.cafelouvre.cz/en/ (No mention of the doorman – I’ll research that)

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