Anonymous Bar: Cocktail Heaven for “V for Vendetta” Fans

Prague: a stunning, untouched city of ancient pastel-colored buildings, cobblestones, and beautiful bridges. So stunning, in fact, that Hitler apparently spared this city from war bombings to someday become the arts capital of Nazi Europe. This Czech city is more than its stupefying architecture, however; as soon as you get a first glimpse of the graffitied walls of downtown, you can feel artistic rebellion in the air.

Lennon Wall Prague

Image Credit: Alexandra Korba

Prague has a thriving underground culture, and I was lucky enough to have my indie/artsy friends show me the coolest spots of the city. Besides the well-known Lennon wall (as pictured above), the awesome metronome that hovers over Prague’s hilltop skatepark, and huge politically-inspired murals that cover the city walls, my friends showed me one final hidden gem that I couldn’t believe existed: a bar themed entirely off my favorite film, “V for Vendetta.”

If you haven’t watched the film, I highly recommend you to stop reading right now and find a way to watch it–I don’t care if you have to stream it illegally. For those of you who have watched this movie, you know that streaming the film illegally online is the *only* right way to pay homage to its message.

The bar is AnonymouS. Yes, with a capital S. And yes, all of the drinks really are based off of major themes from the movie.

As soon as you enter, you’re handed the quirky AnonymouS menus, which are DVD cases with unlabeled disks sitting mysteriously on the inside. The first two pages of the menu are completely blank. However, if you read the cover of the English menu, you’ll find that in order to unlock a secret menu of drinks named after obscure operations, you’ll have to utter a “secret password” to the bartenders.

These highly-skilled guys, who sport Guy Fawkes masks while they make drinks, ensure that you’ll get your history lesson on the operations while you drink. Despite the maybe intimidating aura of the bar, however, the barmen here are silly guys who really love to show off how quickly they can whip up a complicated drink while wearing a plastic mask.

Anonymous Bar

Drinks are pricy for Prague, which makes these intricately-made drinks still a steal if you calculate how much you’re spending in American dollars. For a fancy-schmancy cocktail that would cost around $20 at any upscale American cocktail bar, you’ll end up paying around $9-10 at AnonymouS and other higher-end bars in Prague. And their presentation is impeccable: drinks are served in little wooden dog houses to giant syringes.

Anonymous Bar

A rose petal garnish recalls symbolism from “V for Vendetta,” when protagonist “V” would leave a rose on each person he killed.

AnonymouS Bar

The walls at AnonymouS Bar are covered in quotes from “V for Vendetta.”

Also, it’s very politically-fitting that AnonymouS Bar, which is based off a movie that promotes the questioning of authority, is located in a country that recently emerged from communist rule. There’s no better place for a bar like AnonymouS than Prague, not only because of the underground and artsy atmosphere, but also the appropriate history of politics.

If you’re interested in visiting this bar during your visit to Prague, it’s not easily accessible. If you don’t look sharply enough, you could easily miss AnonymouS while walking down the street–it’s tucked away slightly off the main road, recognizable only by a large Guy Fawkes mask. Check out the bar and “V for Vendetta” fans, I’m warning you: you are gonna fangirl so hard. If you want to visit other underground bars in Prague, my savvy film-studying friends also recommended Hemingway Bar, which is similar in the amazing amount of detail that goes into the experience of a night spent at a cocktail bar.

An Underground Artist’s Haven in Hangar 56

Welcome to Hangar 56, the underground artist’s collective that is continually morphing and feeding off of the creative energies of artists, musicians, photographers, dancers, bondage girls and paper airplane crafters alike.

The gallery opens up to the public every first and third Sunday of the month in organized events called the “Portes Ouvertes.” These open door events include hair sculpting in which an expert hair artist shaves a design into your head, a secondhand shop where you’re not required to pay for anything, and a gallery with artwork from up-and-coming artists for sale all accompanied by free live music.

hair sculpting

Hair sculpture artist Jeff Décoiffage styles hair for free at Hangar 56.

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Silk screen artist known as “Plasti Max” prints t-shirts for free with designs of bondage girls.

Most of the art on display exudes an urban and grungy mood with dashes of sex and violence. With the exception of the low-priced drinks at the bar and the artwork, everything is free—it’s up to you to leave a donation if you support the expansion of free art appreciation at Hangar 56.

A year ago, the warehouse near the Marais was abandoned and empty. In February, a few artists breathed life into the dusty old place and turned it into this living creature of art, known as Hangar 56 because of its address on 56 Avenue Parmentier. This “squat” serves as a gallery, studios for independent artists, and a home to several squatters, otherwise known as those living in abandoned buildings.

Walk up the stairs from the first floor and you’ve entered the private bedrooms of some of Paris’ artistic talent. All of the amenities in the kitchen, living room, washroom, and bedrooms were donated or found off the streets of Paris.

Pioupiou, one of the artists who both organizes events and squats at the warehouse, said that what sets Hangar 56 apart from other artistic galleries is that it is in a freely-occupied space. The squatters who organize the gallery showings ask for no percentage of sold artwork. Artists, like the public, can choose to give a donation back to Hangar 56 in support of the free artistic movement and gallery space.

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Up-and-coming artists showcase their works for sale at this artist’s collective.

The warehouse is not limited to the “Portes Ouvertes” gallery showings. A filmmaker organizes monthly amateur film competitions that are screened within the cinema room in the warehouse, and during Game of Thrones season, you can attend public screenings of the series. Photographers can use the studio for projects and writers are welcomed to write in the always lively and creative setting. Slam poetry competitions are also organized regularly.

Hangar 56

Let your creative juices flow at Hangar 56, an underground artist’s haven.

Pioupiou said that Hangar 56 is continually accepting new artists to showcase in its gallery. “We are flexible people,” said Pioupiou, “[Hangar 56] is always moving–like life, actually.”

To keep up with the events regularly scheduled at this underground artist’s collective, follow Hangar 56 on Facebook.

This article was originally published on The Peacock Post.

3 Money Saving Tips for Traveling the World

Traveling doesn’t have to be an expensive ordeal. With the invention of the internet, people are directly organizing accommodation and transportation in other countries for next to nothing. If traveling the world for cheap sounds up your alley, read on for a few of my favorite tips.

1. Fly With a Budget Airline


Traveling on a budget? No problem. There are several budget airlines you can travel with to save money–you’ve probably heard of them already, airlines like SouthwestJetBlueRyanairTransavia, and easyJet. Flying on budget airlines may compromise the luxury of in-flight customer service, free snacks, and a pre-chosen seat, but these airlines oftentimes fly directly to your destination without the hassle of having to transfer terminals at a large airport. Budget airlines usually work by flying in and out of smaller airlines outside of large cities, so you may have to commute a little further than normal to reach your plane.

2. Carpool Across Continents


Are bus, train, and airplane tickets still too painful for your budget to bear? If you need to get to another country on an extreme budget, search for ride sharing programs on the internet. A reliable service for Europe is BlaBlaCar, which allows travelers driving solo to a destination to open their car to other backpackers. You simply have to share the cost of the gas. Enter your departing and final destination and road trips from Paris to Amsterdam, for example, will be available for your choosing.

As far as safety goes? Make sure to check out the reviews from previous road trips that other travelers have written about the driver. It’s also important to check the type car they are driving, whether they have verified their phone number and email address, and whether the BlaBlaCar account is linked to the driver’s Facebook profile.

blablacar

This driver has a solid 43 reviews from other travelers on the ride sharing website.

 

Here’s an insider’s tip: make sure to check out BlaBlaCar in the language of the country you are departing from, as this will oftentimes yield more results than the English version of the site.

3. Find Lodging for Next to Nothing


So your friends are all living in home stays or you binge spent while online shopping the week before. Before you freak out and consider sleeping in the train station as a last resort, know that there are many options for the frugal traveler.

A popular method of traveling for young people is to rent accommodation in a youth hostel. Youth hostels are like hotels, but communal. If you’re a solo traveler, staying in a hostel can be essential to making friends because of the oftentimes organized pub crawls and common areas within the hostel. If you’re worried about sleeping in communal rooms, most hostels either have the option of private rooms for a slightly higher price or will provide you with a locker and a padlock for your belongings. Amenities vary from hostel to hostel: for example, some offer free breakfast, book sharing, bike rentals, tours, and have English-speaking employees. Others will be shabbier. Hostelworld is a great website to check out reviews and book your bed. A typical hostel will cost around €20 or $25 a night.

If you’re traveling with a group of friends, another low-cost idea that gives you more privacy is to rent someone else’s furnished (and typically empty) apartment through Airbnb. If you’re splitting the cost between several people, this can sometimes be even less expensive than youth hostels.

Want accommodation absolutely for free, no strings attached? Check out Couchsurfing. People from the smallest cities all over the world are opening their pull-out beds just for you, and this is all free of charge. It’s a great way for solo travelers to make a close connection with someone abroad, and who knows, you might even get a free tour around the area you’re visiting.

With these money saving tips, travel is more accessible now than ever before. Always be sure to verify anyone that you’re sharing a car or home with; although the majority of these people are really looking to make friends with people from different cultures, it’s important to be aware, especially when making reservations through the internet. Pull out those crush-stalking methods and never say yes to anything that doesn’t feel right.

Can’t wait to see the amazing #wanderlust Instagram pics.

This article was originally published on the Lala.

Canal Saint-Martin: The Trendiest Picnic Spot in Paris

I’ve been adventurous lately, trying to fill unplanned weekends with explorations of all of Paris’ metro stops. The last time I did this, I landed at a flea market by Oberkampf and this time, I found myself by Canal Saint-Martin, an area teeming with life, art, and open bottles of wine.

canal saint-martin

Besides the vibrant graffiti that adorns the area around the canal, the businesses around Canal Saint-Martin are all young and exciting. The canal is surrounded by rad hair salons that blast crazy rock music and indie wifi cafés where young professionals type away. This is not an extremely English-speaking part of Paris, meaning that it’s a non-touristy and therefore guaranteed cool place to go.

You’ll find many cool and young people having apéros (short for apératifs), which are get-togethers in the evening to enjoy wine, cheese, beer, and friends after work. Canal Saint-Martin is brimming with young people in their own respective clusters, each of them enjoying stereotypical French snacks while playing the latest hipster tunes on mini stereos.

apéro

I also stumbled upon this amazing art and design store by the canal called Artazart Design Bookstore. I spent an hour at this place, slightly wine-drunk and overwhelmed by the sheer number of amazing books on typography, graffiti, magazine design, interior decorating, body art, and so on. The store was filled with people but it was silent; everyone was immersed in a book.

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Take a day to walk around this trendy neighborhood and you’ll learn so much about Parisian culture. You can understand the sentiments of young Parisians by the “manifestos” pasted onto old warehouses and the rampant political graffiti. You can gain foresight into upcoming fashion trends by watching the chic girls who walk by. You can check out one of my favorite cafés on the canal, Point Éphémère, and peruse the secondhand bookshop, art gallery, or enjoy a reasonably-priced beer. And you can actually become a part of the young Parisian culture here by bringing along a bottle of wine for a rendez-vous with friends.

Lose Yourself at a Flea Market in Paris

Sooner or later, everyone is faced with a lazy and unplanned Saturday in Paris. It’s on these days that the vintage treasures and valuable heirlooms of the attics of this 2,000 year old city spill out into open air markets.

Flea markets originated as junk dealerships where rag-and-bone men would sell off unwanted goods. Nowadays, you snag a vintage film camera for a great price or decorate your new Parisian apartment with an affordable china set that’s so old, it’s retro.

Paris is big on markets, whether they be for fresh foods or recycled treasures. There are a number of regular flea markets or marchés aux puces, in Paris, and the best selections normally take place on weekends. Informal secondhand markets include the brocantes, open-air sales during nice weather that are generally cheaper than flea markets, and vide-greniers, or closet/garage-emptying sales hosted by a community or neighborhood.

Lose yourself for a day in one of these famous flea markets of Paris and unearth one-of-a-kind home decor or add a gem to that vintage stamp collection.

flea market paris

Le Marché aux Puces de Paris / Saint Ouen

Let’s start with the biggest. One of the largest antique markets in Paris and possibly the world, Le Marché aux Puces de Paris is also a well-visited tourist landmark in France. The stalls are both covered and in open air, and the entire market is so large that it includes sectioned thematic strolls that center on old books, travel, cinema, and music. You can also book a 2-hour private tour of the markets to really delve into the grand shopping center.

The market is open Saturdays (9:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.), Sundays (10:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.), and Mondays (11:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.), off metro line 4 at Porte de Clignancourt. You can also check out the market’s brochure to view a map, hours, history and types of antiques sold at the market.

flea market paris

Marché aux Puces de la Porte des Vanves

This marché aux puces is another large open air market, with over 380 merchants present every weekend of the year. This flea market, although not as well-known, always has an interesting mix of antique items, artwork, and jewelry for buyers to sort through. Some may find that this market may be easier to navigate through than the marché aux puces at Saint Ouen, and it’s a favorite of many Parisians because of the size and selection.

The market is open Saturdays and Sundays (7:00 a.m. – 2:00 p.m.), off metro line 13 at Porte de Vanves, with further directions here.

flea market paris

 Marché aux Puces de Montreuil

Les Puces de Montreuil is one of the older flea markets in Paris today, established in the 19th-century. You won’t find many tourists here, but you’ll have much more flexibility in haggling down a price for the wide array of antiques. As with most of these flea markets, you have to fight your way to the center of the market to find the real treasures; most of the stands on the outskirts of the market are selling cheap trinkets or old junk.

The market is open Mondays through Saturdays (7:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m.), off of metro line 9 at Porte de Montreuil.

flea market paris

6 Pro Tips for Getting the Most Bang for Your Buck

  1. Arrive before the market officially opens to get the best selection. Arrive at closing hours (preferably for the week) to get the best bargain.

  2. Bring change. You’ll be hard-pressed to find someone willing to take your €50 bill.

  3. You could spend all day at one of these large flea markets. If you’re short on time, come with a mission in mind to help narrow your search.

  4. Bring your own shopping cart/bag if you’re doing some serious vintage decor shopping. Shipping is also an option at some markets.

  5. If you want any luck haggling down prices, you’ll need to acknowledge the man or woman in charge first. Remember to always say hello, at the very least.

  6. If you’re trying to save money, consider seeking out a more informal brocante or vide-grenier. Two websites great for finding these local informal markets and community garage sales are Brocabrac and Vide-Greniers.org.

This article was originally published on The Peacock Post.

Fête des Vendanges: The Oktoberfest of Paris

People from all over the world flock to Paris in October to participate in the incredible Fête des Vendanges, a weekend of festivities celebrating the year’s wine harvest. If getting wine-drunk with fellow Europeans, stuffing your face with free samples of delicious French cheeses, sausages, and pastries, and enjoying one of Paris’ most artistic and beautiful neighborhoods in the moonlight sounds good to you, then you cannot miss the Fête des Vendanges in Montmartre.

Fête des Vendanges

Literally translated to “The Harvest Party,” the Fete des Vendages is essentially a convention of wine distributors from all over France. You can taste reds, whites, and rosés, buy bottles, or simply enjoy a glass while walking at the foot of the majestic Sacré-Cœur (or trying to, anyway: I’m not kidding when I say it’s the “Oktoberfest” of Paris, you can barely move without pushing).

Fête des VendangesFête des VendangesFête des Vendanges

You can also buy gourmet pastries, hot sandwiches, nougats, and other assorted French delicacies at the festival to satisfy your wine-drunk appetite to your heart’s content. Or, just take advantage of the plethora of free samples, like I did.

Hot meat and cheese sandwiches--Paris Chic satisfaction guaranteed.

Hot meat and cheese sandwiches–Paris Chic satisfaction guaranteed.

 

Fête des VendangesFête des VendangesFête des VendangesFête des Vendanges

The Harvest Party takes places over an entire weekend in October, and normally includes music and fireworks at the foot of the Sacré-Cœur on Saturday night.

Fête des Vendanges

Looking to impress your friends with your knowledge of the coolest festivals in Paris? Take them to the Fête des Vendanges and get a little wine-happy on this year’s harvest.

Paris Chic Street Style Vol. 3: Bohemian at Trocadero

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Although Trocadero is usually filled with tourists, this area holds one of the most stunning views of the Eiffel Tower. It was lucky my new friend Bharath and I were able to get good shots–the place was actually packed.

I’m loving the boho clutch trend–I think it’s so bold and fun. You can peruse the unique boho clutches on Etsy or on this Instagram account dedicated solely to boho clutches; they really do spice up any outfit and scream, “I clutch what I want.”

Top: Brandy Melville; Disco Pants: American Apparel; Shoes: Eric Michael; Tote: Kate Spade; boho clutch, hat, necklace & cardigan from various boutiques.

Thank you to AB Photography for these amazing shots!