Prague is a great city for beer lovers, and there is no better place to taste different varieties of local brews than some excellent microbreweries and brewpubs. Prague currently has 25 working breweries and a population of just 1.25 million, giving the city one brewery per only 50,000 people. And when it comes to the price, even in Prague’s most expensive pubs, good beer remains very affordable, including many imports, compared to similar cities in Europe.
Micro-brews have grown in popularity not only amongst visitors but locals alike. Throughout most of the past two decades, the three largest beer companies—StarBev (manufactures Staropramen), Heineken (produces Krušovice) and SABMiller (makers of Gambrinus, Kozel and Pilsner Urquell)—have bought up or edged out their smaller competitors. Lately, Czechs have started looking past “euro-taste” beers to more inventive micro-brews. As a result, growing numbers of restaurants are creating their own beers or offering beer solely from an independent brewery. During 2011, SABMiller—who owns 50% of the market for Czech beer—unexpectedly opted to limit its beer yeast supply to micro-brewers (beer yeast production is not possible for the smaller breweries). However, micro-brewers rapidly discovered a different supplier with Bernard, the biggest independent brewery, and could celebrate a minor victory—the big companies are now taking them seriously.
As well as the giant breweries, such as Pilsner Urquell, Budvar and Staropramen, there are quite a few microbreweries producing excellent lagers and dark beers too. Beer made in these breweries usually has a distinctive taste, where freshness is guaranteed.
Wherever you go in Prague, you can be sure that in every brewpub, great beer is waiting for you just around the corner.
U Fleků Brewery Museum
Here you can see very old brewing machines, instruments and drinking vessels.
Open: Mon-Fri 10:00-15:00. Admission: 50 CZK. website
This pub is extremely popular among locals and tourists for starting their night off. The restaurant serves hearty Czech food at very reasonable prices. Light and dark beers from their microbrewery simply must not be missed.
Location: Vodickova 20, Prague 1. website
U Medvidku is great example of a traditional Czech pub, which is busy every night of the week. Hotel, restaurant and brewery on sight, plus Budwar and Staropramen on tap.
Location: Na Perstyne 7, Prague 1; Open: 11:30-23:00. website
This famous Czech pub is almost always full, as it’s popular among tourists and locals alike. Bustling and noisy, like a traditional Czech pub should be, U Bulovky has a very unique atmosphere which is hard to find nowadays. The beer (house lager ležák is a yeast beer, cloudy in appearance) is excellent – always fresh tasting and rich, each beer has its own unique taste.
Location: Pivovar U Bulovky, Bulovka 17, Libeň; Open: 11:00-23:00.
An old traditional pub, Pivovarsky dum is an excellent place for a pint of local beer. The menu offers sausage, beans, fried and pickled pork, dumplings and potato croquettes, along with classics such as goulash and svickova. Gleaming copper vats where the house brew is made are on display, and an angled mirror lets visitors in on a view of the malt-processing tubs.
Location: Jecna / Lipova street 15, Prague 2, Open: 11:00 – 23:30. website
Klášterní Pivovar Strahov
Near the Prague Castle, the Strahov Monastery complex has a historical brewery, which offers its own beer along with excellent Czech cuisine. The Strahov monastery allowed a commercial brewery, Klášterní Pivovar Strahov, to set up a restaurant within their precincts. Even though monks have nothing to do with the brewing process, beers here are named after St. Norbert. It is a very dark-brown beer and far more bitter than you would expect. Presently, the Strahov Monastic Brewery includes three “locals” – a beerhall with its own copper brew-kettles and the two-story St. Norbert restaurant. During the summer months, the brewery courtyard garden is open to visitors.
Location: Strahov monastery, Strahovské nádvoří 301. website
U Dvou koček (‘The Two Cats’) Restaurant and Brewery
The ‘Two Cats’ Restaurant, located at the old ‘Coal Market’ in the center of the city, has a tradition dating back as far as 1678. The history of the house itself dates back to the 13th century. The painting of the two cats only appeared on the facade of the building as the house sign in the early 20th century, giving a name not only to the well-known pub, but also to the house itself. The microbrewery itself opened here in 2010. The restaurant interior has kept an old-world atmosphere, a Gothic feel with vaulted ceilings, massive metal chandeliers, wooden furniture and walls covered with murals. The kitchen specializes in traditional Czech cuisine, offers goulash, roast leg of wild boar with rose-hip sauce, and rabbit in cream sauce. Beer can be enjoyed both in the spacious restaurant or standing up at the bar with a close-up view of the distinctive tap tower. An accordionist plays here every night.
Uhelný trh 10, Praha 1 – Staré Město; www.udvoukocek.cz
Open: MON–SUN 11am–11pm
Sousedský pivovar Bašta and U Bansethů Restaurant
A small family business, which comprises a beerhall, a brewery and a bakery, located a short walk from Vyšehrad Castle. U Bansethů is a legendary pub with more than a hundred years of history, for many years the holder of the Pilsen Urquell brewery certificate for excellent draught beer keeping. It has also made its way into the subconscious minds of Prague citizens thanks to its famous and regular visitor – writer Jaroslav Hašek, author of the satirical novel “The Good Soldier Svejk and His Fortunes in the World War.” The author’s favorite table is still here, ready for him. The kitchen presents a purely Czech menu. The local specialty is roast duck with stuffed potato pancakes and sauerkraut. The Bašta neighbourhood brewery was opened in 2007 and is located right next to U Bansethů. The interior is typical of a traditional Czech beerhall, with a tiled stove, the ubiquitous wood, and stained-glass windows. The brewery pours only its own beers, among which the renowned semi-dark 12° lager can boast a number of awards, including 1st place in the Czech Brewers’ Spring Prize competition.
Táborská 49, Praha 4 – Nusle; www.ubansethu.cz
Open: MON–SUN 11am–12pm
Jihoměstský pivovar (‘Southtown Brewery’)
The Jihoměstský brewery was opened in March 2010 in the renovated former boiler room that used to provide distributed heating for the Jižní Město (‘South Town’) area. It offers an environment with a German pub atmosphere — an intimately lit, spacious, wood-paneled local, filled to the brim each afternoon with local regulars and the curious from further afield. The space is dominated by the stylish copper brew-kettles, designed by František Richter, the well-known beer guru. The beer brewed here covers the eleven- to twenty-four-degree proof range, and there are plenty of beer specials (Prague Weisse – wheat-beer flavored with wild woodland raspberries or the current Bezinka (‘elderberry’.) The menu is focused on traditional Czech cuisine to accompany beer, including their popular homemade potato crisps. The Jihoměstský brewery is a place suitable for meetings, larger private events, or just a pleasant dinner.
Podjavorinské 11, Praha 4 – Chodov; www.jihomestskypivovar.cz
Open: MON–THU 11am–11pm, FRI 11am–midnight SAT noon–midnight, SUN noon–11.30pm
The Staropramen brewery‘s history dates back to 1869, when it was founded in Smíchov. An important step for the promotion of the new business was the opening of the restaurant Na Verandách (‘On the Terraces’) in the autumn of 1871, still in operation today. From the very beginning, the brewery prospered, thanks to the introduction of progressive new technologies, including one of the first bottle filling plants in the Austro-Hungarian Empire or the artificial cooling of cellars and fermentation cellars (the “spilka”.) In 1884, the brewery began to brew the Granát semi-dark beer. The brewery acquired its “Staropramen” name in 1913, after one of their beers, and in 1932, it became the largest producer of beer in the country. At present, Pivovary Staropramen is the second-largest beer producer in the Czech Republic. In addition to the Staropramen brand, they also operate the Ostravar brewery, where beer has been brewed since 1897. The company’s broad portfolio of beers includes other known and traditional beer brands – Braník, Velvet, Měšťan and Vratislav. They distribute the Belgian beers Stella Artois, Hoegaarden and Leffe on the Czech market. The Pivovary Staropramen company has, since 2012, been part of the Molson Coors Brewing Company group, which is among the largest brewing companies in the world.
Nádražní 84, Praha 5 – Smíchov; www.staropramen.cz
Staropramen Visitors Centre
An audio-visual interactive walk through the ages, which reveals the unique story hidden behind the Staropramen brand name. There are many interesting things to see from the original brewery, such as the original brewery brew-kettle or the delivery truck from the 1930s. 16 large screens are located in the historical building, providing the visitor with a detailed insight into the beer brewing process. Tours for groups of max. 35 persons take approximately one hour, including beer tasting. Naturally, the Visitors Centre can be used for special events, with its capacity of up to 150 guests and a wide range of catering services on offer.
Pivovarská 9, Praha 5 – Smíchov; www.centrumstaropramen.cz
Open: MON–SUN 10am–6pm
Admission: Adult: 199 CZK with beer tasting, 169 CZK without beer tasting; Student: 169 CZK with beer tasting, 149 CZK without beer tasting; Child: 99 CZK
Sv. Vojtěch (‘St. Adalbert’) Břevnov Monastic Brewery
The history of the Břevnov brewery is inextricably linked with the history of the monastery, which was founded as early as 993 A.D. It can be assumed that soon after the monastery was founded, the brewery was also built to go with their agricultural activity, its existence being indirectly referenced in a document from the 13th century. The brewery is, therefore, considered to be the oldest brewery in the Czech Republic. During the Hussite wars, the entire monastery, including its farm buildings, was almost destroyed. It was rebuilt only towards the end of the 17th century. Most notably, Kryštof and Kilián Ignác Dientzenhofer (renowned architects) were involved in its reconstruction. According to the monastery chronicles, the construction of the new brewery took place in 1720. The monastery did not operate the brewery itself, but lent it out to various tenant farmers. The original brewery building was demolished when the motorway by-pass to Karlovy Vary was expanded. The St. Vojtěch Monastic Brewery, which was reopened in 2013 and is located in the former Baroque stables, builds on the age-old tradition of Břevnov beer. The brewery equipment is largely Czech made, and the establishment has a capacity of 3,000 hl of beer per year. In addition to the classic pale lager, the brewery produces a range of special beers using various types of malts and hops. Monastic beers are sold under the brand name Břevnov Benedict. The restaurant “Klášterní šenk” (‘Monastery tap-room’) is located in the grounds of the monastery, where you may taste most of the beers produced.
Markétská 1, Praha 6 – Břevnov; www.brevnovskypivovar.cz
Open: MON, FRI 10am–5pm, TUE–THU 10am–6pm
Marina Brewery Holešovice
The new Marina brewery is located in a romantic setting on the banks of the Vltava River, right inside the Holešovice port. This expansive stylish space, dominated by the massive wooden beamed ceiling, is divided into a Mediterranean restaurant and a traditional Czech carter’s bar with its own brewery. Daily live music sessions enhance the atmosphere in the evenings. The kitchen offers both seafood and Italian specialties, as well as a number of beer snacks and archetypal Czech food. From the bar, you can select classic beers or higher ABV specials brewed in-house. Worth a mention is the Marina dark special – a notably roasted beer with notes of coffee and a hint of caramel. The Marina brewery builds on many years of traditional brewing in Holešovice.
Jankovcova 12, Praha 7 – Holešovice; www.pivovarmarina.cz
Open: MON–SUN 11am–midnight
Vinohradský pivovar (‘The Vinohrady Brewery’)
Opened in October 2014, this is the only brewery in the Vinohrady district of Prague making its own beer and planning to distribute it around the city. Its seat is in the former fermentation cellar of the previous Vinohrady Burghers Brewery, which was in operation until mid-20th century when it was converted to a storage facility and, in 2001, burned down under somewhat mysterious circumstances. The renovation emphasizes new porthole-like windows made in the two-meter-thick walls between the taproom and restaurant and the brewery itself, lending the space a special character. Half of the extensive vaulted cellars are used for the boiling, fermentation, and lagering of several types of beer – traditional unfiltered lagers from Czech malt and hops, but also various specials. The taste and quality are the responsibility of the experienced brewmaster and co-owner František Richter, proprietor of the pioneering U Bulovky Brewery. The other half of the space is used for a taproom, restaurant, and underground ballroom, which is to be used for concerts and other events. The kitchen focuses on beer-friendly dishes in regular rotation, as well as game and fish.
Korunní 106, Praha 10 – Vinohrady; www.vinohradskypivovar.cz
Open: MON–SUN noon–midnight
Hostivar brewery, located on the border of two districts – Hostivař and Horní Měcholupy, is the first-ever brewery in this area. The first batch of beer was brewed in February 2013. Inspired by historic tradition and the Czech brewers’ craft, beer is brewed here as it was before the great industrialization of beer brewing, using water, hops and malt, without pasteurization or filtering. The original architectural design of the brewery building consists of wooden walls and a glass brew-kettle. Wood and dark colors predominate in the contemporary spacious interior; large windowpanes provide plenty of light and a stylish stove adds to the cozy overall feel. A mosaic of beer motifs made of beer-bottle tops will grab your attention. You may also enjoy your beer standing up at the bar. In the summer, the brewery garden is available in a pleasant setting and an outdoor bar, complemented by the smoke-house and grill. You may sit on the grass on picnic rugs borrowed from the restaurant staff. The menu is dominated by dishes that go well with the beer. This includes meat specialties and a variety of delicious beer snacks, such as spicy wursts in semi-dark beer or pork crackling lard spread on fresh bread.
Lochotínská 656, Praha 15 – Hostivař; www.pivovar-hostivar.cz
Open: MON–SUN 11am–11pm
The historical regional brewery was built in Únětice in 1710. This is a guess, based on the date carved into the foundation stone in the granary malt-house space, which today houses the Brewery bar.
In 1897, Únětice brewery was the third largest in the region; however, the 20th century was not kind to the brewery – the growing pressure of competition caused problems, which were exacerbated by its location away from city industry. In March 1949, production finally closed down. For a short time afterwards, it functioned as part of the Smíchov brewery, but in 1951, the Únětice brewing tradition was put on hold for years to come, and the buildings began to serve as a warehouse. Beer brewing began here again as late as 2011 thanks to the Tkadlec family, who rebuilt the brewery. In 2011, the first batch of Únětice beer was brewed, and the beer-opening ceremony launched the modern history of the brewery. Draught beer and lager is produced by means of original methods using only natural ingredients, without any additives whatsoever. To date, Únětice beer is on draught in dozens of businesses in the surrounding area, as well as in Prague. In the spring of 2012, production was expanded and the renovated brewery bar opened, offering traditional old Czech cuisine and beer directly from the tank.
Rýznerova 19, Únětice; www.unetickypivovar.cz
Open: MON–FRI 8am–5pm (brewery); MON–THU 11am–10pm, FRI–SAT 11am–11pm SUN 11am–9pm (restaurant)