Specialty pubs let you pick and choose between brews
While the Czech Republic has long been a mecca for beer lovers, it was difficult until a few years ago to find more than just the biggest-name brands at Prague pubs.
Today, Pilsner Urquell signs may still be the most common, but there is a happy trend alive and well for multi-tap pubs, where people can sample a wide range of harder-to-come-by specialty and regional brews.
Nowadays, there are a handful of such places strewn around the city, and it’s not just beer drinkers who are excited. Max Bahnson, an enthusiastic beer blogger who writes under the name of Pivní Filosof with a focus on Czech beers and brewing news, and who will be blogging about beer for The Prague Post in the near future, says, “This phenomenon has already had some impact in the local beer landscape, and I’ve got no doubt that it’s here to stay.
“More and more people are being exposed to an expanding diversity, and they like it, and this has resulted in a slow shift of the beer discourse. People are speaking about beer as a beverage and not only as a brand.
“Regional and microbrewers (and also importers) can now reach a wider audience, and I believe that, together with the above, it has encouraged some to have a go at brewing new stuff. … It has enabled a few brewers to bypass the brewpub model, knowing there is a market for their products – Matuška and Třebonice are examples of this.
“It’s working well for pubs, too,” he continues. “It gets people through the door, and because they have so much to choose from, they drink more.
“The only negative thing I see in this is that some owners might get the impression that cramming 10-20 or more taps is money in the bank, but it’s not that easy. The likes of Zlý Časy and Kulový Blesk are successful not only thanks to their beer lists, but also because their owners understand the importance of taking good care of the beers.”
Want to know what all the fuss is about? Make sure you have a full afternoon or evening handy, and check out some of these places for some truly inspirational drinking.
A respite in the industrial neighborhood of Libeň, close to the Palmovka metro station. Regularly pours three types of the newcomer and award-winner Únětické beer, as well as standards Kozel and Pilsner, and a rotating tap brings wares from breweries like Rohozec, Náchod, Protivín, Jihlava, Rychtář, Primátor and Žatec, among others. Na Žertvách 32, Prague 8-Libeň. Tel. 603 468 694. Open Mon.-Thurs. 3-11 p.m., Fri. 3 p.m.-midnight, Sat. 5 p.m.-midnight.
Known for its burgers and sports-casting, this American-style pub close to Wenceslas Square also pours 12 types of beer, including the K Brewery range of beers (Lobkowicz, Janáček, Černá hora, Ježek, Rychtář, Platan and Klášter) and five taps that rotate specials, such as Matuška, Kout Na Šumavě and Kocour. V jámě 7, Prague 1-New Town. Tel. 222 967 081. Open daily 11 a.m.-1 a.m.
Close to I.P. Pavlova, this restaurant and pub is a great hangout, with a nice garden for warmer months. The menu of beers on tap changes regularly, but expect the likes of Kocour, Matuška, Antoš, Únětice, Postřižinské, Primátor, Kácov, Platan, Malý Rohozec and Rychtář, with other surprise specials. Sokolská 13, Prague 2-New Town. Tel. 721 420 859. Open Mon.-Fri. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 6-11 p.m.
Interesting brews in the heart of Žižkov. A restaurant upstairs and cellar pub below, with good pub fare to soak up the specialty suds coming from the 11 taps. The bar’s website has a menu of what’s being poured daily, for example, Černá hora, Qásek, Žumberk, Herold and Valášek, to name a few. Note the cellar pub is closed on weekends. Husitská 74, Prague 3-Žižkov. Tel. 222 782 004. Restaurant open Mon.-Sat. noon-midnight, Sun. 4 p.m.-midnight.
A heaven for the true connoisseur, this club means business. Six beers on tap and 240 types available in bottles. Most of the types represented are from the Czech Republic, but there are also brews from Belgian, German and other lands. Currently on tap: Matuška 13°, Primátor Stout, Permon, MMX IPA, Štěpán and Jihlava’s wheat beer. Křižíkova 17, Prague 8-Karlín. Tel. 222 315 777. Open daily 11:30 a.m.-11:30 p.m.
Prague Beer Museum
Right downtown, this pub boasts a whopping 30 taps of regional and specialty brews, which would take too long to list. Prices are commensurate with the enviable locale, but it’s worth it to try some truly memorable beers. Dlouhá 46, Prague 1-Old Town. Tel. 732 330 912. Open daily noon-3 a.m.
První Pivní Tramway
The trend-setter, this place may not look like much from the outside, but it’s a must trek for serious beer lovers. Take the No. 11 tram all the way to the end for a great mix of pipes, including the pub’s personal own brew. Na Chodovci 1a, Prague 4-Nusle. Tel. 272 765 683. Open daily 2 p.m. till late.
U prince Miroslava
On the other side of the river, this pub features 19 taps of microbrews from across the country, so it’s worth the journey. Includes the likes of Únětické, Konrád, Svijany, Opat, Primátor and many, many others. K vodojemu 4, Prague 5-Smíchov. Tel. 733 360 269. Open Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-11 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.-midnight, Sat. noon-midnight, Sun. noon-11:30 p.m.
A bar that lives up to its reputation and has a loyal following. A cozy, arched-ceiling space with just a few tables, so get there early. There are about 20 taps, and beers hail from all over the country, Europe and the world. Čestmírova 5, Prague 4-Nusle. Tel. 723 339 995. Open Mon.-Thurs. 11 a.m.-11:30 p.m., Fri. 11 a.m.-1 a.m., Sat. 5 p.m.-1 a.m., Sun. 5-11 p.m.
The Toothy Dog specializes in some very interesting beers, not only regional brews from around the Czech Republic but also some harder-to-find specialty beers from across the Continent. Only a few bar snacks are available, so beware the potent suds. Petrohradská 3, Prague 10-Vršovice. Tel. 723 863 160. Open Mon.-Fri. 3-11 p.m., Sat.-Sun. 5-11 p.m.