Beer in Prague

Hanging out in front of Prague's Beautiful St. Vitus Cathedral.

Hanging out in front of Prague’s Beautiful St. Vitus Cathedral.

Well hello, again. I’ve missed over a month of blogging, which is shameful and a huge bummer. I’d like to say I’ve gone into blogger hibernation because I’ve been laying on a beach somewhere soaking up sunshine in between scubadives, but the truth is that I HAVE A JOB NOW!

I wasn’t sure I’d know what a “job” was when we got back from over 12 months of funemployment and travel. Turns out, there are jobs out there that can be a lot of fun, and I somehow managed to snag one of them. It’s like seeing a leprechaun riding a unicorn underneath a triple rainbow. I was sure it didn’t exist, but some freak coincidence led me right to it.

There’s more to come on my awesome new job in a later post. Kevin and I have also been busy with a few other things:

  • Spending all our monies at Costco (news flash: soft Charmin toilet paper is TOTALLY worth the extra few bucks. I missed soft toilet paper. Nothing makes you patriotic like knowing your country has the best TP in the world. AMERICA.)
  • Recovering from a home burglary (let’s all curse the thieves collectively together, say it with me: “THOSE BASTARDS!”)
  • Brewing beer (Kevin’s setup is OUT OF CONTROL AMAZING now… we will soon have SIX BEERS ON TAP)
  • Running marathons (I ran the Light at the End of the Tunnel marathon on June 14th. Obviously, I selected that race because the entire course is slightly downhill. It was awesome.)
  • Seeing friends and family (It’s so good to be home! Have I said how good it is to be home?!?!)
Beautiful Prague

Beautiful Prague

Now that I have a grip on life again, I’m ready to get back into blogging. I’m planning to write one post every other weekend. Today’s post was going to be disguised as a Prague sightseeing post, but I decided I should really just call it what it is – a post almost entirely about Beer in Prague. My next blog post will be about our night in Frankfurt, Germany where we did our best to drink ourselves silly on their legendary Apfelwein.

After those two travel posts, I plan to start writing about settling back into life in America – the reverse culture shock (it’s real!), finding a job after being unemployed for a year, getting burgled (again, THOSE BASTARDS!), and how much it costs to spend a year traveling. If you’re curious about any topics in particular, leave me a comment to let me know!

Without further ado, let’s drink!

Great Beer in Prague

Prague (or Praha, as it’s called in the Czech Republic) was our last real travel stop before heading back home to Seattle. By now, we were operating at burnout level 8 on a scale of 1 to 10, so we had to get creative with our travel plans to keep from strangling each other. So instead of planning a bunch of sightseeing interspersed with a few breaks for beers, we decided to plan a bunch of beer outings with a few sightseeing stops sprinkled in. I’m going to go out on a limb and say that’s how we should travel for the rest of time, and I’d hazard to say Kevin will be onboard. At least it was super appropriate for Prague, a city known for its beer scene!

We were in Prague for four nights and visited eleven pubs. Kevin averaged 2 Liters of beer per day and I managed to average 1.5 Liters per day. I’m not sure if we should be proud or ashamed of ourselves, but I’m laying it all out there in the spirit of being an open blogger.

Four of the bars we visited were amazing. Seven were mediocre. The list of Prague pubs below is in order of best to worst, in our opinion:

Klasterni Pivovar Strahov: Nothing Beats Monastery Beers!

Perched high atop Castle Hill in Prague, Klasterni Pivovar Strahov was our favorite stop for Beer in Prague. It was absolutely packed with both locals and tourists, has a great outdoor beer garden, and is surrounded by awesome monastery buildings. This is a not-to-be-missed stop on your beercation in Praha.

Left: Amber Lager. Right: Dark Lager.

Left: Amber Lager. Right: Dark Lager.

Klasterni Pivovar Strahov: Our Ratings

  • Staff Friendliness: Good
  • Atmosphere: Great, but crowded
  • Beer Quality: Great – best beer we had in Prague!
  • Our Tab: 0.4L of Amber Lager & 0.4L of Dark Lager for 118 Kc (about $4.85)
  • Website
The Bar

The Bar

The Hilarious Bartenders. This one totally photobombed me.

The Hilarious Bartenders. This one totally photobombed me.

Enjoy the Monastery Grounds Atop Castle Hill.

Enjoy the Monastery Grounds Atop Castle Hill.

Pivo a Párek (Literally Translates to Beer and Hot Dogs)

Look for this store front! Hello, Pivo a Párek!

Look for this store front! Hello, Pivo a Párek!

Pivo a Párek: Our Ratings

  • Staff Friendliness: Excellent!
  • Atmosphere: Cool, Quirky & Quiet
  • Beer Quality: Average
  • Sausage Quality: Excellent
  • Our Tab: 0.5L and 0.3L House Beers, Two plates of Sausage, Mustard and Bread, all for 180 Kc (about $7.50)
  • Website (It’s all in Czesky, but there’s a map you can use to get there!)

Certainly the weirdest, most awesome bar we visited in Prague, this one earns a spot in our top four. It was a pretty typical pub, serving house beers and a variety of sausages. (The name literally means Beer and Hot Dogs, so what else could we possibly have anticipated?!) There was one gal working, and her daughter and grandkid were hanging out with her at the bar. We were the only ones in the whole bar by 8pm, maybe because it’s fairly far East of the tourist core (but still walkable, on my opinion).

The Bar

The Bar

The bartender didn’t speak much English, and we speak zero Czesky, but she was ridiculously friendly! We asked for 2 Pivos and 2 Pareks, and she brought us out one of the best meals we had in Prague. It was a little light on the vegetables (hey, when in Europe, right?!), but it was amazing sausage, good house made bread, and the best mustard ever. (News flash: I like mustard now. WHO AM I?!)

No English... anywhere... we are off the tourist radar completely!

No English… anywhere… we are off the tourist radar completely!

Yum.

Yum.

Enjoying the quiet at Pivo a Párek.

Enjoying the peace and quiet at Pivo a Párek.

Beer Geek (Did We Teleport to Seattle?!)

Thumbs up for Beer Geek.

Thumbs up for Beer Geek.

Beer Geek: Our Ratings

  • Staff Friendliness: Excellent
  • Atmosphere: Great
  • Beer Quality: Excellent, but almost too much like Seattle
  • Our Tab: 0.3L of Falcon’s What the Bock?!, 0.3L of a Matuška Raptor IPA, 0.3L Matuška Čarodêj Black Ale, & 0.3L Kynšpersky Zajic Polotmavy Ležâk for 170 Kc (about $7 – BARGAIN)
  • Website

Walking into Beer Geek was like coming home to Seattle. The super friendly bartenders spoke perfect English, there were 30 Microbrews on tap from all over Europe, and we even met some fellow American expats from Florida hanging out at the bar! Kevin was inspired by their TV Monitors that show what’s being served on each tap, and a similar setup is in the works for our 6-tap setup with our iPad. It’s going to be absurd. Absurdly amazing.

Beer Geek’s best bar is located at Vinohradská 62. Their other location is smaller and has less than a handful of beers on tap.

Left: Falcon's What the Bock. Right: Matuška Raptor IPA.

Left: Falcon’s What the Bock. Right: Matuška Raptor IPA.

Same beers as above, but you have to check out these glasses. The one on the right is the new-ish glass design specifically for serving IPAs.

Same beers as above, but you have to check out these glasses. The one on the right is the new-ish glass design specifically for serving IPAs.

Our friendly bartender at Beer Geek pouring some brews.

Our friendly bartender at Beer Geek pouring some brews.

Round 2. Left: Matuška Čarodêj Black Ale. Right: Kynšpersky Zajic Polotmavy Ležâk.

Round 2. Left: Matuška Čarodêj Black Ale. Right: Kynšpersky Zajic Polotmavy Ležâk.

Lokal Pub (Where You Can Learn Perfect Beer Pouring for JUST $130)

This is how they keep track of your tab at Lokal! It would be awesome to go with a big group and play "black out" with the beer tab. "Black out" would probably have multiple meanings if we tried that.

This is how they keep track of your tab at Lokal! It would be awesome to go with a big group and play “black out” with the beer tab. “Black out” would probably have multiple meanings if we tried that.

Lokal Pub: Our Ratings

  • Staff Friendliness: Average
  • Atmosphere: Average
  • Beer Quality: Good – come for the Pilsner Urquell
  • Our Tab: 0.5L of Pilsner Urquell & 0.5L of Black Beer for 90 Kc (about $3.70)
  • Website

With five locations in Prague, Lokal is technically a chain, but don’t let that turn you away! They have a beer pouring class that costs a whopping $130, so the bartenders here know how to pour a good beer. They also have the strangest thing we’ve ever seen on a bar menu: “Sweet Beer”. What the hell is sweet beer, you might ask? Brace yourself – it’s a beer mug of JUST FOAM! It’s weird, it’s crazy, but to pour a full mug of beer intentionally you definitely need a certain level of know-how when it comes to manning the beer tap. They always have a tank of Pilsner Urquell on tap, and this is allegedly the best place to try it. Definitely a don’t miss.

Half-Decent Beer in Prague

I didn’t include ratings for the remainder of these pubs. Most of them had decent staff friendliness at best, average atmosphere, and about average beers. It’s good to try lots of pubs for variety, but we don’t recommend going out of your way to visit any of these spots.

Rsstaurace Kulovy Blesk

Our Tab: 0.3L of Primator Polotmavy & 0.3L of Modravsky Iyer dark lager for 52 Kc (about $2.14)

We visited this spot twice. The first time it was awesome – we got two beers for 52 Kc, which is just north of $2! On our second visit, we were issued the “English Menu” tourist flag (see photo below) and charged prices I’m about 99% sure were inflated above what locals pay. (I think they charged us for the large sized beers instead of smalls, and figured correctly that we wouldn’t care enough to say something.) Any time I feel like I’m being scammed, I vow to never return to patronize that spot again. So this is me, flipping the bird at Kulovy Blesk from afar. (Like they’ll ever see my blog and know. A girl can dream, right?)

Left: Primator Polotmavy. Right: Modravsky Iyer dark lager.

Left: Primator Polotmavy. Right: Modravsky Iyer dark lager.

Our English Menu I'm-a-Tourist Flag. Sigh.

Our English Menu I’m-a-Tourist Flag. Sigh.

This is the cheese plate we ordered, which came with paprika, raw onions, butter, and mustard. It was the weirdest thing we ate in all of the Czech Republic.

This is the cheese plate we ordered, which came with paprika, raw onions, butter, and mustard. It was the weirdest thing we ate in all of the Czech Republic.

U Fleku (Expensive & touristy, but tasty)

Our Tab: Two 0.4L Flekovsky Trnavy Speciál beers for 120 Kc (about $4.90)

This is definitely a touristy stop, but it’s run like a MACHINE. They actually have a great outdoor beer garden area, and a man was playing the accordion when we visited! Be warned: there’s only one beer choice, and a 0.4L glass of it costs over $2! WHAT IS THIS MADNESS?!

Enjoying beers at U Fleku.

Enjoying beers at U Fleku.

U Fleku.

U Fleku.

Don't miss the Beer Garden.

Don’t miss the Beer Garden.

Accordion player! I think I'll play accordion at beer halls when I retire. A girl can dream.

Accordion player! I think I’ll play accordion at beer halls when I retire. A girl can dream.

The outside of U Fleku

The outside of U Fleku

Pivni Mapa

Our Tab: 0.3L of Berounsky Medvêd Medové, 0.3L of Kynšpersky Zajic Černa Milenka & 0.3L of Hendrych H8 for 82 Kc (about $3.37).

We stumbled upon this spot when we were walking around Prague, and dubbed it a nice little respite from the other bars we had visited. If IKEA decided to open up a bar with 40 beers on tap, I’m pretty sure this is what they’d come up with. It was clean and largely devoid of personality, but man was it cheap. (See what I did there? I’m basically describing IKEA.)

40 Beers on Tap. That's not always a good thing because sometimes you get a beer that's been sitting in the lines for a few days...

40 Beers on Tap. That’s not always a good thing because sometimes you get a beer that’s been sitting in the lines for a few days…

Left: Berounsky Medvêd Medové. Right: Kynšpersky Zajic Černa Milenka.

Left: Berounsky Medvêd Medové. Right: Kynšpersky Zajic Černa Milenka.

Hendrych H8. What a cute glass!

Hendrych H8. What a cute glass!

Pivni Mapa

Pivni Mapa

Pivnice U’kata (Jewish Quarter)

Our Tab: 0.5L Kozel Cerny & 0.5L Pilsner Urquell for 90 Kc (about $3.70)

Sometimes you’re walking around a city in Europe, need to use the restroom, and realize that you can either pay 2 Euros to use a bathroom, or 3 Euros to have beers AND use a bathroom. I know what choice I always make! That’s how we found Pivnice U’kata, nestled in the southern part of Prague’s Jewish Quarter. It’s a great stop to make en route to somewhere, but not worth a detour.

Left: Kozel Cerny. Right: Pilsner Urquell.

Left: Kozel Cerny. Right: Pilsner Urquell.

Sometimes I'm so artsy I can't even handle it.

Sometimes I’m so artsy I can’t even handle it.

The outside of Pivnice U'kata.

The outside of Pivnice U’kata.

Nota Bene Beer Point

Our Tab: 0.3L Únêtice Nefiltrovany Ležak & 0.3L Prager Laffe Vidensky Special for 60 Kc (about $2.47)

This is the only bar we visited where the beer was almost warm. In their defense, we showed up right after they opened so I’m pretty sure half my small beer was warm from sitting in the lines. I wish I could at least say that the atmosphere was nice, but it was really just strange. I felt like we had teleported to a new contruction home in the States where someone madeover their basement to feel like a cave for their homebrew hobby. It did not feel like a bar in Prague. But hey, at least they were friendly.

The "cave" bar, with drywall ceiling. Lol.

The “cave” bar, with drywall ceiling. Lol.

Left: Únêtice Nefiltrovany Ležak. Right: Prager Laffe Vidensky Special.

Left: Únêtice Nefiltrovany Ležak. Right: Prager Laffe Vidensky Special.

U Medvíku

Our Tab: 0.5L of Budvar & 0.5L of Oldgott Barigue for 100 Kc (about $4.11)

This spot is mainly a restaurant and can sometimes have a huge wait. Luckily, if you can catch the guy guarding the door and tell him you only want beer, he’ll let you right through to sit in the bar. Oddly, the bar area was non-smoking, while the restaurant was super smoky.

Left: Budvar, the original Budweiser. Right: Oldgott Barigue.

Left: Budvar, the original Budweiser. Right: Oldgott Barigue.

Beers at U Medvíku.

Beers at U Medvíku.

Hospúdka Obyčejny Scêt

Our Tab: 0.3L of Klášter Kvasnicovy, 0.3L of Kvasar Honey Beer & 0.3L of Cherry Lambic, and Potato Pancakes, for a total of 135 Kc (about $5.55).

Left: Klášter Kvasnicovy. Right: Kvasar Honey Beer.

Left: Klášter Kvasnicovy. Right: Kvasar Honey Beer.

The dreary bar.

The dreary bar.

A Cherry Lambic. Do not recommend.

A Cherry Lambic. Do not recommend.

It’s not worth the trip to find this place. The bar is dark and super smoky, which isn’t what we look for at our ripe ages of 29 and 30. Obviously, we made the best of things and had a few beers.

Drunken Sightseeing (Kidding, Sort Of)

By now you think I have a drinking problem. I promise you, I do not. If there’s one thing Kevin and I are good at, it’s drinking in moderation most of the time. That all goes to hell when we’re abroad and there are so many local beers to try. But that’s why it’s called vacation, AMIRITE?!

Anyway, we did visit most of Prague’s sights. Here’s a photo tour of our time in Prague!

Running in Prague

Running has quickly become one of my favorite things to do when sightseeing in a new city. There’s no better way to get to some of the best views and visit parks you’d never otherwise see than by running through and to them! I’m not sure I can travel without running gear now.

This is Kevin in Vitkov Park, which sits high atop Prague with amazing views of the "City of Spires". Prague was a hilly place to run, but that means two things: burning quads and beautiful views!

This is Kevin in Vitkov Park, which sits high atop Prague with amazing views of the “City of Spires”. Prague was a hilly place to run, but that means two things: burning quads and beautiful views!

On the way back from Vitkov Park, we take a great paved trail that runs right next to a big, beautiful row of abandoned buildings. It's amazing how many abandoned buildings there are in Prague.

On the way back from Vitkov Park, we take a great paved trail that runs right next to a big, beautiful row of abandoned buildings. It’s amazing how many abandoned buildings there are in Prague.

Churches in Prague

The Kostel Sv. Ludmily. We couldn't go inside, but it was fun to see from the outside!

The Kostel Sv. Ludmily. We couldn’t go inside, but it was fun to see from the outside!

The inside of St. Vitus Cathedral. Apparently there has been an ongoing battle between the church and the state as to who has the rights to run this church. When the state runs it, apparently it’s free to visit. When the church runs it, it costs to get in.

The inside of St. Vitus Cathedral. Apparently there has been an ongoing battle between the church and the state as to who has the rights to run this church. When the state runs it, apparently it’s free to visit. When the church runs it, it costs to get in.

The St. Vitus Cathedral is at the top of the Castle Quarter. This is one of the most popular places for people to just sit and hang out. Beautiful views, right?!

The St. Vitus Cathedral is at the top of the Castle Quarter. This is one of the most popular places for people to just sit and hang out. Beautiful views, right?!

Views from the Castle Quarter.

It’s best to take the bus up to the Castle Quarter, then walk down. You wind your way through beautiful vineyards!

The Lennon Wall

When John Lennon was killed in 1980, this wall was covered in memorial graffiti. Each night the police would have it painted over, and by morning the next day it would be filled with graffiti again. This became a meeting spot for local hippies, freedom-lovers, and activists until Prague gained its independence from communism in 1989. Today, it’s a big tourist destination, but still has a really cool vibe. There was a guy playing guitar and singing while we were there.

Prague's Lennon Wall.

Prague’s Lennon Wall.

Musician at the Lennon Wall!

Musician at the Lennon Wall!

The Lennon Wall

The Lennon Wall

The Charles Bridge

Posing in front of Prague's famous Charles Bridge, a pedestrian-only bridge that is almost always PACKED with tourists!

Posing in front of Prague’s famous Charles Bridge, a pedestrian-only bridge that is almost always PACKED with tourists!

We visited the Charles Bridge in the evening, and I thought I’d share with you our EPIC FAILURE of trying to take a selfie on the bridge facing the sun. We are goons.

MY EYES!

MY EYES!

Better... better...

Better… better…

Whoops where's my face. I love the look in Kevin's eyes in this one. Lol.

Whoops where’s my face. I love the look in Kevin’s eyes in this one. Lol.

Close but no cigar.

Close but no cigar.

This is as good as we could do!

This is as good as we could do!

The beautiful Vltava River in Prague, with the stone arched Charles Bridge in the background.

The beautiful Vltava River in Prague, with the stone arched Charles Bridge in the background.

The Old Town Square and Astrological Clock

Most people like to watch the clock. I like to watch the people watching the clock. It's hilarious.

Most people like to watch the clock. I like to watch the people watching the clock. It’s hilarious.

This is the Tyn Church on Old Town Square, and the statue in the foreground is the Jan Hus Memorial. Jan Hus was executed for speaking out against church corruption in the 1400s.

This is the Tyn Church on Old Town Square, and the statue in the foreground is the Jan Hus Memorial. Jan Hus was executed for speaking out against church corruption in the 1400s.

The beautiful buildings surrounding the Old Town Square - all the tents are leftover from the morning’s marathon!

The beautiful buildings surrounding the Old Town Square – all the tents are leftover from the morning’s marathon!

Cafe Savoy

Kevin got eleven beer stops, so I deserved a trip to Cafe Savoy. It’s a ridiculously ornate tea room and patisserie on the West side of the Vltava river. Such a treat!

I picked the Granny's Garden Tea. Because I am an old soul.

I picked the Granny’s Garden Tea. Because I am an old soul.

The real reason we went to Cafe Savoy was to try Czech dessert dumplings. Strawberries have started popping up at markets here, so that’s what these were served with. It’s strawberry inside of dough, served with “curd” and powdered sugar. Glad we tried it, but I'll never, ever, ever seek it out again.

The real reason we went to Cafe Savoy was to try Czech dessert dumplings. Strawberries have started popping up at markets here, so that’s what these were served with. It’s strawberry inside of dough, served with “curd” and powdered sugar. Glad we tried it, but I’ll never, ever, ever seek it out again.

Tasty desserts at Cafe Savoy.

Tasty desserts at Cafe Savoy.

The bread counter had me salivating. I was tempted to grab a loaf and run!

The bread counter had me salivating. I was tempted to grab a loaf and run!

Other Sights Around Prague

The beautiful Wallenstein Gardens.

The beautiful Wallenstein Gardens.

Inside the Wallenstein Palace Gardens, this is the grotto wall. It was weird, but there were live owls hanging out in a big cage at the end of it.

Inside the Wallenstein Palace Gardens, this is the grotto wall. It was weird, but there were live owls hanging out in a big cage at the end of it.

Beautiful Streets in Prague.

Beautiful Streets in Prague.

An old water wheel in Prague’s Little Quarter. Some people have used this bridge I was standing on as their own little “lock bridge” here in Prague. (Don’t know what a lock bridge is? Lots of couples will write their initials on a lock and attach it to a bridge as a symbol of their love.)

An old water wheel in Prague’s Little Quarter. Some people have used this bridge I was standing on as their own little “lock bridge” here in Prague. (Don’t know what a lock bridge is? Lots of couples will write their initials on a lock and attach it to a bridge as a symbol of their love.)

Prague’s beautiful National Museum at the top of Wenceslas Square. Interesting thing - you can see light-colored patches on some of the columns if you look closely in the picture. These patches cover up bullet holes from the Soviet crackdown in Prague in 1989. The masons who had to fix the holes showed their Czech spirit by intentionally filling the holes with mismatched patches!

Prague’s beautiful National Museum at the top of Wenceslas Square. Interesting thing – you can see light-colored patches on some of the columns if you look closely in the picture. These patches cover up bullet holes from the Soviet crackdown in Prague in 1989. The masons who had to fix the holes showed their Czech spirit by intentionally filling the holes with mismatched patches!

This is a weird sculpture inside the Lucerna Gallery Mall. It’s called Wenceslas Riding an Upside-Down Horse, and is by artist David Cerny. Cerny is known for trying to provoke controversy. Some of his other escapades include painting a Russian tank pink, attaching baby dolls to Prague’s huge TV Tower, sinking a shark-like Saddam Hussein inside an aquarium, and pooping inside the gallery area of Prague’s National Gallery to protest the policies of its director.

This is a weird sculpture inside the Lucerna Gallery Mall. It’s called Wenceslas Riding an Upside-Down Horse, and is by artist David Cerny. Cerny is known for trying to provoke controversy. Some of his other escapades include painting a Russian tank pink, attaching baby dolls to Prague’s huge TV Tower, sinking a shark-like Saddam Hussein inside an aquarium, and pooping inside the gallery area of Prague’s National Gallery to protest the policies of its director.

Kevin snapped this photo from the sweet little park a block from our Airbnb.

Kevin snapped this photo from the sweet little park a block from our Airbnb.

Another photo from our neighborhood park.

Another photo from our neighborhood park.

Prague's beautiful Vltava River.

Prague’s beautiful Vltava River.

Gorgeous Prague.

Gorgeous Prague.

We Want to Hear From You!

Have you been to Prague? What were your favorite bars/sights/foods there? Also, do you have an opinion on what I should write about in future blog posts? If you nod your head “yes” to any of these, stop what you’re doing and leave me a comment! :-)

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