At the rate new pubs are opening in Prague, I would probably need to make a full-time job of reviewing them, if I wanted to keep myself up to date. Not a chance of that happening anytime soon (though I’m willing to hear any offers), so I have to make the best possible use of my rather limited resources (both in time and finances) and be very selective, relying mostly on tips and recommendations from fellow pissheads. It is them, therefore, whom you have to thank for the following three short reviews.
Bernard Pub I first heard about this place back in summer. It was good news; I’ve always believed that Bernard, one of the most solid Czech breweries, needed a flagship pub in Prague (Skanzen, in Karlín, notwithstanding). Unfortunately, the Humpolec brewery chose the Potrefená Husa way.
Chain pubs are not my thing. Almost without exception, their branches feel soulless and are overdesigned. And that is exactly what Bernard Pub feels like, but worse, because if you switched beer brands, this could easily be another Potrefená Husa branch. But Bernard make some really good beers and, since I was already there, I wanted to have some of that beauty. Světlé Výčepní, at 26 Kc a pint, was beautiful in understatedness, the kind of beer that would look at you with incredulity if you tried to intellectualize it. But I can’t say I enjoyed it too much; it was wonderfully tapped, mind you, but the problem was the pub’s soundtrack that afternoon. Effing MTV from effing LCD’s, playing the most effingly annoying Eurotrash at an effing high volume. I hate that!
God bless Černý Ležák! A piece of Black Forest cake in a pint glass. It almost made me feel I was at a pub that had been put together by people and not by a marketing algorithm, until Enrique Effing Iglesias started squealing as if he was being raped with a jackhammer. I couldn’t take it any longer, I knocked down the rest of my pint, paid and left, not feeling exactly like coming back anytime soon. Anyway, if you like Potrefená Husa and their ilk, you should give Bernard Pub a go. You’ll feel right at home, a home with better beer.
This is where I went afterward. I have clients in the neighborhood, so I go around the area very often, and I had spotted the front of this rather unusual pub when they were still putting it together. And it’s hard not to, as Aldersbacher isn’t your usual Czech beer; it’s not your unusual Czech beer, either. It’s from Bavaria, and pubs tied to Bavarian beers aren’t all that common in Prague. A friend told me who was behind this place, and I felt confident that it would be good (it’s the same bloke of Kavárna na Šumavě, one of those many places I wish I could visit more often). And it is good!
When I arrived, the atmosphere wasn’t exactly very vibrant. It was just after opening time, and the place opened in September and still needs to get its crowd of regulars. I still felt more comfortable than at Bernard Pub, though — Ostrý is a place that’s been put together by people and it feels honest and down-to-earth. The beers are really nice, too. Aldersbacher Urhell is like the first half of Ravel’s Bolero, but played with pale malts and not musical instruments. Subtle and soul-warming, and very, very well-tapped, and great value at 35 Kc! It was followed by Kout 12º, one of the world’s greatest beers, also served in tip-top shape. I’d be more than happy with just those two. But Ostrý has two more taps, one with Aldersbacher Weizen and the other one with Klostermann, a 13º Polotmavé from Strakonice, plus a few bottles. I left very satisfied, promising myself to return, hopefully with a friend or two to liven up the pub a little bit. And you should do it, too.
Pivobar U DobřanskýchI finished my crawl in Old Town. I’d heard about Pivobar U Dobřanských from, well, the pub itself, which posted an “invitation” on my FB page. The sole mention of Kout na Šumavě is almost enough to make me want to go to farthest corner in the planet, if that meant I’d be able to get a good pint of it. Fortunately, I don’t need to go to such extremes, getting to a small side street near Betlemské nám. will do.
What a lovely pub this one is! A cellar (and I love cellar pubs!) with vaulted ceilings and exposed bricks. This is what I sometimes wish all pubs in the world were! Even when empty (once again, a very new pub shortly after opening time), Pivobar has quite an atmosphere. They’ve got almost the full range of Kout, as well: 10º, 12º (both filtered and unfiltered) and 14º dark, all at very good prices. I went for the 10º. It was served with a tad too much top pressure for my taste, but otherwise it was in great condition and well taken care of. The utopenec was wonderful, too. These people seem to be putting a lot of effort on getting the beer snacks right, kudos to them! Beer snacks are an unappreciated and underrated part of Czech gastronomy that, fortunately, more and more pubs seem to be taking with the respect it deserves. The girl at the bar was pretty friendly. She told me that they are planning to install a (very) small brewery on the premises. I’m not one to tell these people what to do, but part of me sincerely hopes that those plans will not be realized. I like beer minimalism and Kout deserves a Kout-only pub in the center. But whatever it is that they decide to do, I sure hope I’ll be able to go to often Pivobar. Three pubs that offer a bit for almost every taste. Go see for yourselves and tell me.
Jeseniová 93 – Praha-Žižkov
+420 720 446 944 – email@example.com
Mon-Thu, Sun: 12-24, Fri-Sat: 12-1
Pivní Lokál Ostrý
Sladkovského náměstí 5 – Praha-Žižkov
+420 606 213 052 – firstname.lastname@example.org
Pivobar U Dobřanských
U Dobřenských 3 – Praha-Staré Město
222 222 141 – email@example.com
Mon-Fri: 16-23, Sat-Sun: 18-24