Monday 16 June 2014

A pisshead in Prague

Recently work took me briefly to Prague. It's a long while since I've been and I have to confess my beery knowledge was a bit lacking so I looked for some assistance before I set off. Twitter didn't get much response, and the recommendations weren't near where I was staying. What I needed was something more comprehensive, 'The Discerning Drinkers Guide to Prague' perhaps, or maybe the 'The Beer Geek's Prague Pub Guide'. Unfortunately these publications don't exist, but fortunately a Pisshead's Pub Guide does. Oh well, if the cap fits...

Being there for work I only had limited time for freelance research but the Pisshead's Guide proved to be a great help. After wandering around the main touristy bits the thoughts of my colleague and I turned to refreshment.

We had passed a Good Soldier Švejk bar in our wanderings which appealed, what with Jaroslav Hašek being one of us, even if he did briefly go Bolshy.

But I decided to start at U Fleků, the chance to drink in a pub that's been brewing since 1499 proving irresistible. Over the years the place seems to have developed into a highly efficient operation for fleecing tourists and the Pisshead's Guide proved invaluable in preventing us being parted with excessive amounts of cash.

Soon after we'd settled down with our beers a waiter tried plonking shot glasses in front of us, but forewarned is forearmed, and as we were expecting this we waved him away, despite his repeated attempts to foist unwanted drinks on us. I couldn't really relax as the Guide also warned they'd try and bring us unordered pints too, which sure enough they did, but some slick footwork and swift payment to another waiter lead to us being at the door before our 'helpful' friend could return with more beer.

The beer was good but after my experience there I wouldn't recommend it as a place to visit.

We called in at another brewpub next, Pivovarský Dům. Things were altogether more relaxed here, though it was perhaps not the best of choices as it turned out the Brewing Research Institute my work was with was part of the same building so we ended up back here later. Still, I liked the place so it wasn't too much of a hardship.

The best was saved till last though, and we'd never have found the place without the Guide. Located beside a three lane carriageway, and with closed doors and blacked out windows Kulový blesk did not look appealing. In fact we thought it was shut until we saw someone walk in. But once we'd entered we were soon in a sunny courtyard and away from the traffic. It was great. They don't brew here but had the best beer range of the trip.

I started with a Matuška, which I suspect was an ale, as it tasted of American hops and surely no one would got to the trouble of making a lager with an overwhelming taste of grapefruit?

Being in Prague it wasn't quite what I was looking for but the next beer did the trick. A pale, hazy lager with mouth coating bitterness it was the beer of the trip. They need to look at their fining regime though.

If the glass was right it was from Únětický pivovar. Great tasting, I could have gone exponential on this one, but with work related research the next day we left it at that and headed back to the hotel. 


  1. Glad the book helped you have a better time. Thanks for the shout.

    1. Thanks for all your hard work, it made my trip much more fun than it would have been.

  2. Enjoyed several glasses of during our Prague trip, last December. This was in a real local's pub, right opposite our hotel. The pub did good, and cheap, food as well, and had live rock music in the other bar.

    We also visited U Fleku, and whilst I knew about the shot glass trick, we still went for one, as it was my wife's first visit to Prague and she wanted to try one. We didn't get any unordered beer shove in front of us either; in fact I rather wish we had, as it was excellent stuff! The food was also good, so I've no complaints about the place.

  3. I meant to add that U Fleků, obviously has changed since my first visit, back in 1984 when the old regime was still in charge of what was Czechoslovakia. On that occasion students, rather than tourists, seemed to make up the bulk of the pub’s clientele, and the beer was served in 0.5l measures rather than 0.4l.

    Still a must visit place though, on any trip to Prague.