Beer is an integral part of Czech culture, and has been for many centuries. Czech beer can be traced to 1118, when the country’s first brewery was built in Cerhenice, and even before then, citizens had the right to brew their own, so each home effectively doubled as a microbrewery. Fast forward to today, and the Czech Republic has the world's highest per capita beer consumption (a whopping 132 liters per person annually), beating heavyweights like Germany and Austria. Though tourism has transformed the capital, there are still a handful of pubs and taverns that offer up an authentic taste of Prague.
U Cerneho Vola
Czech for the Black Ox, U Cerneho Vola is a simple, smoky inn just steps from the castle. Despite its position, the pub is refreshingly free from tourists, and sports dark wood benches and a vaulted ceiling that add to the authentic atmosphere. The delicious draft beer, Velkopopovicky Kozel, is brewed in a small town nearby. (Loretanske namesti 107/1, Mala Strana)
Popular with locals and tourists alike, U Pinkasu benefits from a prime spot in the shadow of the Church of Our Lady of the Snow, which is visible from the garden. The venue has a long, rich history but combines this with a contemporary vibe that extends to the well-loved food menu. Order the Pilsner Urquell, the world's first pilsner, which has been served at U Pinkasu since the year after it was first brewed. (Jungmannovo namesti 15/16, Old Town; +420 221 111 150)
U Jelinku is close to Prague Town Hall and frequented mostly by locals and white collar workers looking to disappear behind a smokescreen for an hour or two (indoor smoking is still permitted in Prague). U Jelinku has been going since 1918 when the Jelinek family took over to work as innkeepers, though it was seized by the state for a brief time during the Communist era. The tavern was handed back to the family after the Velvet Revolution, and remains one of the best places to drink Pilsner Urquell. (Charvátova 33/1, New Town)
U Zlateho Tygra
Known to locals as the favourite haunt of writer Bohumil HrabalIn, the Golden Tiger is an inconspicuous pub, once infamous for its insular culture. Not so long ago a stranger’s arrival might spark stares and silence, but these days in cosmopolitan Prague, all are welcome. The atmosphere remains intimate, though, as does the no-nonsense service: All new arrivals get a beer delivered to their table without word. Indeed, as is the custom in many Czech pubs, you’ll automatically get given a new beer when your current glass is almost empty. (Husova 228/17, Old Town; +420 222 221 111)
More on Prague:
- Artists Are Doing Crazy Things With Light and Video in Prague. Take a Look.
- Things to Do in Prague: A Walking Tour of the City's Communist Past
- How to Speak Czech: Five Tips For Your Next Trip to Prague
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