Prague Beer Capital of Europe
Beer capital of the world! When in Prague, you need only ONE word: pivo and perhaps one more: pivnice. These two words are your passport to understanding Czech: beer and beer garden. Prague and beer go hand in hand. The Czechs drink an average of 150 liters beer per capita annually. This means that they are the biggest beer consumers in the world. It seems as if everyone has his own favourite beer: Pilsner, Budweiser and Budvar are the most popular. Each pivnice specializes in a particular brand.
Prague-Now tip: When in Prague, the beer capital of Europe, go on a beer sampling tour: try seven different types of beer and learn the rules for beer tasting: aroma, flavour, body and aftertaste.
Beer and Beer Gardens
When you order a beer in a Prague pivnice, you will always get a sturdy half-litre glass mug unless you ask for malé pivo, a small beer. Czechs tend to swallow it in gulps rather than sip it slowly and gracefully. As soon as your glass is empty, staff will ask if you want another. However, in ‘tourist traps’ a second glass is put in front of you without asking first. It is good to know that the beer garden need not be an OUTSIDE GARDEN, it is simply a place where you drink beer and socialize with the locals. A beer mat is used as an abacus, a vertical line for each glass of beer and when you have paid a horizontal line through the vertical ones.
Beer Capital where Beer is Cheaper than Water
The price of pivo ranges from €1 to €4, depending on whether you are in the centre or on the outskirts of Prague. Where in the world is beer cheaper than soft drinks or mineral water? No wonder grandfathers, grandmothers, fathers, mothers and tourists all drink beer in a pivnice any time of the day. As in most cities tourists are easy prey. When a 0.4 liters mug is placed in front of you, you are sure to be in the wrong place. Only tourist-catching pubs serve this quanitity and of course at tourist prices!
Whether you drink Budvar, Pillsner Urquel, Flek, Kozel, or Staropramen: Na Zdravi, cheers!
Beer Gardens and Pivnice
Beer garden are all over Prague. The closer to the centre the more expensive the beer. When the beer and food menu is in several languages you are sure to pay ‘tourist prices’. Drinking beer on Old Town Square is quite an experience: all around you beautiful Baroque and buildings and the Astronomical clock within reach. The square is buzzing day and night. However if you like to meet Czech people, you’d better go to a residential district where most restaurants double as beer garden.
1. Restaurant Solidarita, Strasnice district, neighbourhood restaurant and beer garden in summer
2. Hospoda Ferdinanda, Mala Strana, microbrewery for Fredinand beer
3. Riegrovy Pivnice, Vinohrady district, largest open-air beer garden in Praag
4. Mlikarna, Vinohrady district, especially popular for Pilsner Urquell and Gambrinus on tap
5. Letna Beer Garden, Holesovice district, for beer with a view of the Vltava River