Drinking Pivo in Prague

by Apr 24, 2015Czech Republic, Europe6 comments

The average Czech person drinks 1.5 litres of beer a day (or Pivo as the locals call it). I’ve heard slightly lower estimates (down to a modest 160 litres per year) but that’s what our guide on a free walking tour of Prague told us at least. That was also enough for us to decide the best option to really see Prague was to fit right in with the locals and spend a large portion of it drinking our quota of beer.

Pilsen – the home of Pilsner beer is only a little over an hour away after all so the Czech Republic is one of the best places in the world to drink beer. Dayna skipped her quota because she isn’t much of a beer fan so I felt obliged to cover her quota as well to make sure we didn’t cause a hit to the equilibrium of the local beer economy.

Prague is a beautiful fairy-tale like city and the history, architecture, bridges and cobbled lanes are a tourist’s dream for sightseeing. We had a great time exploring and sightseeing for three and a half days with our friends Jono and Cath.

Charles Bridge from Prague Castle, Prague, Czech Republic

Those cobbled lanes look great  but sure do take a toll on your feet though so what better place to take (very regular) breaks than in the various cosy pubs, terraces and beer gardens Prague is famous for.

Dark Lager at U Fleku, Prague, Czech Republic

Unintentionally, the hotel we had booked (the Best Western Hotel Pav) was right next to an old restaurant that was top of our list to visit for the food beer: U Fleků.

U Fleku, Prague, Czech Republic

This pub/restaurant was founded in 1499 and walking in felt like being transported back in time. Local music was belted out by enthusiastic musicians dressed in traditional outfits.

Musician at U Fleku, Prague, Czech Republic

Beer is served continually in the classic fashion with trays of freshly poured beer circulated and handed out to anyone without one or anyone with even a half full glass. You have to actively get the waiter’s attention and make it clear that you don’t want a beer more so than having to get their attention to order one. That is my kind of ordering system.

Besides the beer and platters of meat, sausages, sauerkraut and dumplings, the other local specialty we tried at U Fleků was the honey wine. Served in a thin and tall oversized shot glass, the honey wine was great if you have a sweet tooth (it really is super sweet) but it was a perfect way to finish off a meal and provide a contrast to the dark beer.

Warning: once you have one you do have to playfully fight the waiters off when they try and give you more of them and it is difficult to say no to more. U Fleků, like most of the bars around Prague, has primarily two options for beer: a light coloured lager and a dark coloured lager.

Honey wine

The dark coloured lager is a specialty and tastes amazing so I’d recommend that over the lighter coloured one and I believe you can only buy this dark lager at U Fleků so even more reason to try it when you’re there! After my first taste of dark beer at U Fleků I then had to try this out everywhere else and fell in love with another dark beer that is available most places (Kozel Black – try it!).

How much does Pivo cost?

Other than the fact it is tasty, one of the best things about the beer in Prague is the price. The price for a half liter mug of beer ranged from 39 Czech Krona to 79 Czech Krona (£1 to £2). A few years a go the price was even cheaper (more like 30p a beer) but I think it is still pretty good value.  The price of a coke or even a water was usually more than the beer so we were really just being prudent and sensible when ordering beer all the time – it’s always good to save money after all!

Pivo with a view of the river

On our first day in Prague we had set out to explore and stroll along the river away from the Tourists that swarm the Old Town and the central Old Town Square. Of course, exploring along a river is thirsty work so we found one of my favourite spots for a beer at La Terrassa while wandering along the west side of the river. The spring weather turned up and we got to sit out in the sun and enjoy the view of tourists struggling to manoeuvre their oversized floating swan boats around the river while sipping on our Pivos.

Pivo at La Terrassa Prague, Czech Republic

La Terrassa, river view in Prague, Czech Republic

Our favourite restaurant near Charles Bridge

Whilst out and about touring around the city, we returned a couple of times to Kozlovna Apropos. Apart from great local food, they also served up my new favourite beer (Kozel Black) along with baked goats cheese with honey and pistachios.  We had to come back a couple of times to this place!

baked goats cheese and honey in Prague, Czech Republic

The waiters were cheerful and funny although I don’t know if I approve of their little ritual with the check. The girls get roses while the guys get the bill.

Flowers for the Girls, check for the boys at Kozlovna Apropos, Prague, Czech Republic

Thirsty while heading to Prague Castle? Try the markets!

The one definite must see in Prague is obviously Prague Castle which is up a hill overlooking another famous spot, Charles Bridge. We opted to skip the tram to the Castle and walked up the steps, puffing our way to the top instead. The Czech people being so sensible and thinking of others, kindly put a great little market at the top of the steps for us. The beer was cheaper than the tram so it was still a good deal and the food looked amazing for market stalls even though we opted for only the liquid options.

Pivo St. Vitus Cathedral Prague, Czech Republic

Market Stall at Prague castle in Prague, Czech Republic

A local pub experience away from the crowds

I had a bit of a surprise for the others on our second day in Prague and that meant we had to wander over to the east side of the city and away from the crowds. This did have the great advantage of meaning we were well away from the hordes of tourist who choose not to leave the Old Town area and we got to experience a great little local pub, Restaurant Ztraty a Nalezy.

It was like a Czech version of the bar in Cheers with the locals all quite at home there. I described it as feeling like you’re in someone’s lounge but that was greeted with derision so maybe it wasn’t such an apt description. If you want to find a great, comfortable local pub to visit then definitely try it if you’re in the area (up a couple of blocks behind the top of Wecenslas “Square” – not sure why it’s called a square when it is a long street really). Na Zdravi!

And to help you with your own journey to drink Pivo in Prague…

Where to drink 

U Fleků – Křemencova 11, 110 00 Praha 1, Czech Republic

Kozlovna Apropos – Křižovnická 4, 10 00 Praha 1 Staré Město

Restaurant Ztraty a Nalezy – Vinohradská 208/14, 120 00 Praha 2-Vinohrady, Czech Republic

La Terrassa (sit outside with a view of the river) –  Dětský ostrov 25, 150 00 Praha 5, Czech Republic

Prague Beer Museum (we didn’t make it but sounds great if you can avoid the crowds) –  Dlouhá 720/46, 110 00 Praha 1-Staré Město, Czech Republic Open Air Markets by Prague Castle – 119 08 Prague 1, Czech Republic Plus many more great beer gardens, pubs and restaurants – let us know which one’s we should try when we get back there!

Where to stay

Best Western Hotel Pav – it is in a great location right next to U Fleků, is a reasonable price and it has a decent buffet breakfast included (with french toast, pancakes and cakes plus the usual meat, cheese, bread & cereals)