Thursday 17 November 2011

A pub is a pub is a pub

A pub is a pub is a pub. In the cellar bar I go, in the area around Prague Castle where tourists refugee themselves about during the day, but when the light went on Monday night and the mist came down like the proverbial wolf on a flock of sheep, it became quiet and mysterious. Magical Prague, footsteps on the cobbles, a shadow hurrying by on the other side of the street, the watery yellow light of a bar or a hotel. And so I came to U Hrocha — in English the Hippo. A cellar bar, or if you want a man cave with honorary women, smoke everywhere, the robust cuisine of Czech food (six men stabbing away at a big platter of pork in the centre of their table). Beer? PU on tap. D├ęcor? Nicotine yellow paint, arched ceiling, stone. This is the pub as a hideaway or if you want a concert hall with the noise of people (men with the honorary women) enjoying themselves. Walk in, there are looks and then people carry on with the business of the very opposite of sensory deprivation: chew, slap, slash, eat, the men are eating, the women are eating, Svejk is eating. Beer in the glass, a glass full of beer, snow white soft foam on the top of the glass. Drink. A pub is a pub is a pub.  


  1. Oh yes, Kafka was very much on my mind when I was there but this ios also the place where the Czechs finally found themselves free in 1989 — I also remember the band Josef K.

  2. One of the great things about Prague is that you could take out the reference to U Hrocha and replace it with any number of pubs in the city, Bruska, U Dvou Kocek, U slovanske lipy, Ferdinanda, Dobra Trafika.

    Perhaps one of the reasons why the Czech Republic is a beer lover's paradise (especially lager) is simply because the pub is at the heart of every day life?

  3. Velky — perhaps it’s also that Czechs are not afraid of drinking beer at any time of the day. I have seen them downing pints at 9am and yesterday no one battered an eyelid when I went into a bar prior to going to the airport and asked for a large Budvar, meaning 500ml. I got a litre stein, which I had to drink in less than 10 minutes. Boy it was good, as finer an expression of the Saaz as I have had since the Zatec the other night.