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Article byTim Johnson originally published in the Atmosphere magazine. Read the latest edition here.
You could call it the beer-drinking capital of the world. With a centuries-old tradition of brewing, pilsner, for example, was invented nearby in the town of Pilsen, Prague has some of the very finest watering holes found anywhere. And with the price of a pint (here called a half-litre) comparable to a bottle of water in a restaurant, and Czechs on the record as the world’s greatest beer lovers, chugging
more brews, per capita, than anyone, anywhere else on earth, here we present five of the best places to whet your whistle in beautiful, historic Prague.
The PUB: Part of a small, local chain started by a few friends, this place provides the unique pleasure of pulling your own half-litre glass, right at the table, as many as you want, with a little, built-in computer keeping track of consumption and billing you at the end. And they serve some of the very best brews in town, with tanks delivered directly from the Pilsner Urquell Brewery, the beer is fresh, unpasteurized
and sometimes even unfiltered, for the coldest, crispest taste.
Veleslavínova 3, 110 00 Staré Město, Czechia
U Pinkasu: Walking through these doors is like a step back in time, to 1843 and the founding of one of the oldest continuously operated pubs in Prague. That was back when Jakub Pinkas, a tailor, starting with just two buckets from a nearby brewery, began serving beer to the hansom cab drivers parked nearby. Soon the tailor became a bar owner, and a legend was born. Walk into this gothic and baroque building and tuck into a whole menu of foods easily paired with beer, like pork knee (the unofficial national dish) and beer-infused sausages and cheese, served with fried bread.
Jungmannovo nám. 15/16, 110 00 Můstek, Czechia
Letná Beer Garden: Sometimes, it’s just nice to get outside, and this place provides simple summer pleasures, good, inexpensive beer, Gambrinus Original 10°, loved by Czechs across the nation, served at picnic tables on a patio on the edge of the public garden with panoramic views of the city’s Old Town.
Letenské sady, 170 00 Praha 7, Czechia
Rock Café: Drink where the revolutionaries drank, a nation with a long history of arts and music, poets and songwriters and musicians formed the backbone of the country’s Velvet Revolution in 1989. Home-grown bands like Plastic People of the Universe agitated against the communist regime, often playing at the Rock Café. Today, the subterranean bar still hosts regular, live shows, stays open till four in the morning on the weekends, and serves several beers on draught, including three versions of Czech Budweiser (which tastes much better than its American counterpart).
Národní 116/20, 110 00 Nové Město, Czechia
Purkmistr: Head about an hour outside of Prague, toward Pilsen, to visit this unassuming inn that provides a whole beer experience. A microbrewery making their own craft beer on site, you can take a tour of the cellars, tuck into beer-infused dishes in their restaurant, then head to the beer spa to slip into a tub made from beer barrels to take a bath in a warm, soupy mixture of malt, hops, water and beer (they say it’s good for the skin). And if you drink, or bath, a little too much, they have comfortable rooms upstairs where you can sleep off the beer buzz.
Selská náves 21/2, 326 00 Plzeň 8-Černice, Czechia
Flight to Prague and visit those bars by yourself!