Sunday 27th June 2010
In many ways U Medvídků (the Little Bears) is a unique pub for a city in which there are a lot of eclectic pubs. For a start it's in the middle of the Old Town with all the attendant tourists, yet still retains an atmosphere of normality.
It's a maze of a pub with many rooms and is also a hotel with 33 rooms and offers a 20% discount if you stay three days or more. The food is solidly Czech and is reasonably priced.
Finally, but definitely not least, it has its own micro brewery. The house dates from 1466 and you'll find it at Na Perstýne 17.
Even the drinking areas are very contrasting rooms. At the front of the building there is a small bar that opens at 16.00 yet doesn't close until 03.00. On the right is the main beer hall which is the most original.
I first drank in this room in 1970 and although it's now much cleaner and generally smarter it is still recognisable. In those days it was well known as one of the very few outlets in the capital for Budějovický Budvar from České Budějovice and was certainly the most popular.
This beer is now nearly always known as Budweiser Budvar, German for the town of origin and a Czech "word" that is an abbreviation of the Czech name. Confused....you will be!
These two front rooms sell only Budweiser on draught, although it is now possible to obtain the dark version. A more recent development is that a least the normal version is a "tank" beer. This is a beer that does not come from a keg but from a tank and it is unpasteurized.
In the days when I first drank here, beer in all pubs was served from large aluminium casks using only its own naturally made carbonation to propel it to the glass. The tankova beer is the modern attempt to recreate this.
To get to the best beer in the house you must continue to the back of the pub, all of which is new, then up until you come across the gleaming copper brewery. If you are seated in this area you will be served beers brewed in-house.
On the occasion of my visit the selection was 13% Old Gott (5.2%) a half-dark beer (Polotmavý), 14% 1466 Svètlý Ležák (6.1%) (light.... in colour, not alcohol), X Beer 33% (rocket fuel....12.6% abv).
Finally there was a one called 11% Medvědí Krev (5.2%), which looked like a wheat beer, so I passed. I only had the first two which were both fine. There is a shop selling take-away beer and souvenirs. I like this pub a lot.
Mínipivovar U Medvídků (Restaurace a Penzion U Medvídků), Na Perštýně 7, Praha 1, 11000.
Open: Mon-Fri 11.00-23.00; Sat 11.30-23.00; Sun 11.30-22.00
The pub is in the Old Town and stops for trams 6, 9, 17, 18, 21, 22 and 23 are within ten minutes walk.
Staroměstská (A), Můstek (A & B) and Národní Třída (B) Metro stations are also very close.