Prague has several traditional old alehouses in which visitors can sample traditional Czech beers. The most famous is U Zlatého Tygra, not far from Old Town Square is a place where Czech president Václav Havel took Bill Clinton for a drink here in 1994. Another classic local pub is U Černého Vola (just up from the castle), it’s one of the best pubs in Prague.
You have probably already heard that Czechs brew some of the world’s best beers. So where better to enjoy these pale, golden lagers and rarer dark varieties than in a traditional Czech pub?
And once you choose from the recommended places listed below and order your first pint and start drinking, don’t be surprised that your glass is replenished even without asking. That’s part of the Czech tradition. Another tradition is sharing a table – it’s not unusual if someone asks you if they can share a table with you, and of course, you are expected to say yes.
U Zlatého Tygra (The Golden Tiger)
This is quite an old drinking hall with cool beer prices, just 30 CZK for 0.5l for the frothy Pilsner Urquell lager. When Bill Clinton visited the Czech Republic, Vaclav Havel showed him this pub – to see a real Czech Pub. The average beer tourist may find it hard to get a seat in this popular locals’ hangout, so make sure you get there early as seats fill up quickly. Have a pint while standing at the bar if all the seats are reserved for regulars. This is one of the world’s greatest beer bars, so treat it and its regular patrons with appreciation.
Location: Husova 17, Old Town; Open: from 3-11 pm. website
Some bars in Prague have veered towards the tourist currency; U Medvídků has retained its traditional charm and is still a favourite with Czech locals. This is a straightforward Czech pub and easily large enough to accommodate everyone.
Location: Na Perštýně 7, Old Town; website
Hostinec U Kocoura
This long-established pub is located on the tourist route at Nerudova. It is very famous for cheap beer and is often crowded.
Location: Nerudova 2, Lesser Town; Open: daily 11am-11pm.
This is a small and the best microbrewery in Prague and is occupied mostly by locals. The restaurant’s extensive beer list boasts some fairly unorthodox flavours such as coffee and champagne. Czech lager at just 28 CZK for 0.5l is a great value. It is a really nice place to have a few pints.
Location: corner of Ječná and Lipová street; Open: daily 11am-11pm. website
U Vystřeleného Oka (The Shot Out Eye)
It is a pleasant pub with a beer garden and serves cheap food and beer. This pub pulls in all sorts of people, from backpackers to local writers.
Location: U Božích Bojovniků 3, Žižkov; Open: Mon-Sat from 4.30pm-1am. website
It is a pub and microbrewery in Prague. The front facade of the 12th-century building has an old, highly decorated clock above its door. U Fleku is more expensive than other places, but you are drinking special dark beer brewed on the premises of the oldest Czech brewery in Prague while enjoying live music and chatting with tourists from all over the world.
Location: Křemencova 11, New Town. website
The first Prague pub to serve Pilsner Urquell (back in 1843) is still recommended for great and reasonable Czech meals. The interior is straightforward, but the back patio is a surprising enclave surrounded by ruins and divided into distinct open-air rooms; it welcomes boisterous groups (you may hear impromptu singing) or those seeking a more romantic place.
Location: Jungmannovo náměstí 16, New Town; Open: daily 11am-11pm. website
Letenský Zámeček Beer Garden
With its great views down the Vltava, the beer garden is cheap and popular with the locals. It offers a wide choice of draught beers, light snacks and delicious grilled meat. There is also an upmarket restaurant; open daily 11 am-11.30 pm. The beer garden is open in the summer season, depending on the weather. website
Address: Letenské sady (Letná Park)
Many different customs have evolved over the years when it comes to pubs and beer halls which are still observed today. Perhaps the best known is that when a man and woman enter the building, the male should always enter first to protect the woman should there be a brawl going on inside (although this is now a rare occurrence indeed). Other customs include the placing of a beer mat in front of you to indicate that you would like to order, raising a glass to your neighbour and looking them in the eye before drinking and – perhaps most importantly – never complaining about a glass of beer having too much head, as this is simply the way that it is drunk in the country.
The vast majority of Czechs regards this as being one of the best pubs in the country, and it often wins the award for having the best Pilsner on tap in the whole nation. It is slightly out of the way, but it’s well worth taking a detour and heading to this pub in the Bubeneč neighbourhood for a quick pint and a chat with the locals.
Location: Eliášova 324/14, Prague 6, website
Pivnice U Černého Vola
This is an authentic and very nice beer hall: local clientele and local prices.
Location: Loretanské náměstí 1, Prague Castle; Open: daily 10am-10pm. website
It doesn’t get much more classic pub than this unassuming hideaway close to its namesake Rudolfinum. An arch-ceilinged beer hall that pours some of the best-tapped Pilsner Urquell and also serves up some truly great pub fare, like hearty plates of goulash with dumplings.
Address: Křižovnická 60/10, Prague 1-Old Town
Open daily 11:00-23:00
U kocoura (The Cat)
This is an authentic traditional Czech pub on Nerudova in the Lesser Town. It used to be a very famous pub with excellent service, but recently it has slightly lost its quality. But it still attracts tourists, and the locals come here too for cheap Pilsner Urquell and Budvar. The food here is neither fancy nor expensive, so it is just right for people who seek something local, unspoiled by tourism.
Address: Nerudova 205/2, Lesser Town
U Sadu is a favourite spot amongst locals and visitors alike. It is a good traditional Czech pub with a cosy upstairs, with walls decorated with everything from garden hoes to saws. The lower floor features a maze of rooms filled with smoke mingled with drunk people. It also features an older jukebox that is endlessly pumping out requests from the locals; consider yourself lucky if you catch a moment like this, as the locals are very enthusiastic about oldies – everyone sings and dances, and so will you when someone grabs you. The bar is well stocked, and the drinks and food are very reasonably priced. website
U Tří Růží
A recent addition to Prague’s microbrewery scene, this spot has housed a brewery as far back as the 15th century. In addition to some seriously sumptuous suds (the half-dark lager is delicious), At the Three Roses has a solid, unpretentious menu, with goulash soup, homemade duck rillettes and other filling treats.
Address: Husova 10, Prague 1-Old Town
Open Sun.-Thurs. 11:00-23:00, Fri.-Sat. 11:00-midnight. Website
The most famous drink to come out of the Czech Republic is undoubtedly Pilsner beer, made in the town of Plzen since 1842. As well as its fantastic taste, it is well-loved for its colour and clarity, which have both been refined over the years. The first beer made in Plzen was actually of poor quality, but this all changed when the Pilsner brewery was opened in 1842. The brewery was a coming together of all of 12 different breweries in the region and thus had a lot of experience to call upon. As the popularity of this beer spread, many different countries started breweries to imitate the taste. However, there is still only one original Pilsner beer. That is the beer produced in the town of Plzen.
Lokál U Bílé kuželky
The Lokál U Bílé kuželky, in Malá Strana (Lesser Town), like its eponymous cousin on Dlouhá Street, rests its reputation on outstanding draught Pilsner Urquell beer paired with honest traditional Czech cuisine. The interior is done along clean and simple lines, as is the menu. Ready-to-serve meals are made here several times daily, ensuring freshness. The evening menu includes appetizers, beer snacks, and main courses, which can be ordered until 9:45 pm. The kitchen focuses on fresh ingredients from renowned local suppliers. In addition to the signature svíčková (sirloin in cream sauce), guests also favour the expertly prepared tripe soup. Both food and beer are also available for takeout.
Míšeňská 12, Praha 1 – Malá Strana; www.ambi.cz
Open: MON–THU 11.30 am-midnight, FRI 11.30 am–1 am SAT noon–1am, SUN noon-midnight.
Valašská pivnice (‘Wallachian Beerhall’)
The atmospheric Wallachian Beerhall is located halfway between Strahov Monastery and Prague Castle. Here, they serve unpasteurized and unfiltered beers on tap from the Wallachian brewery BON, brewed according to the historical beer purity law of 1516. The interior of the cellar, adorned with wrought iron and solid wood in Wallachian style, completes the characteristically Moravian regional atmosphere. The kitchens offer regional Wallachian fare – “kyselica” (cabbage and potato soup), “halušky” (potato gnocchi) and “škvarková pomazánka” (pork crackling in lard.) Also available are quality Moravian wines and Wallachian slivovitz (plum brandy.)
Úvoz 26, Praha 1 – Hradčany; www.valasska-pivnice.cz
Open: SUN–THU 10am–11pm, FRI–SAT 10am–12pm
U Hrocha (‘The Hippo’) Beerhall
A Lesser Quarter beer hall, hidden away from the city’s hustle and bustle, has become an iconic tavern in its relatively short existence. Those who come to enjoy the exquisitely kept Pilsner beer (they say that it is one of the best in Prague) include locals, tourists and officials from the Castle. The tavern, where people come to ‘join in and chat’, is renowned for its authentic old beerhall ambience, with Gothic arches and a homely feel. This is a traditional beer hall, so the menu includes mainly cold snacks to go with the beer – cheeses, headcheese, pickled sausage (called “utopenec” or ‘drowned man’) and rollmops (pickled herring.) Hot dishes include grilled pork steak or sausage. Even though it is often crowded, you will almost always find a free spot, or you can drink your beer standing up at the bar.
Thunovská 10, Praha 1 – Malá Strana
Oepn: MON–SUN 11am–11pm