Czechia (Czech Republic)

Our Guide to Czechia

Ratings Key (0-10)

A: Choice and/or quality of drinks

B: Style and décor

C: Atmosphere and feel

D: Amenities, Events & Community

E: Value for money

F: The Pub Going Factor

Bars marked (*) will take you to our full profile write-up!

Name Location A B C D E F
U Poutnika * Brno 9 8 9 6 9 9
U Alberta Brno 9 7 9 7 7 9

Ochutna-

vkova Pivnice

Brno 9 6 9 7 7 8
U Karla Brno 8 9 8 7 10 8
Pegas Pivnice Brno 8 8 7 6 7 8
Posledni Lec Brno 7 8 7 6 9 8
Budvarka Ceske Budejovice 9 6 7 6 9 8
Traveller’s Pub Cesky Krumlov 7 8 8 8 9 8
Gorila *

( CLOSED)

Cesky Krumlov 7 4 8 6 9 8
U Krale Jiriho Cheb 8 8 8 7 9 8
California
Club
Karlovy Vary 8 6 8 7 10 8
Pivovar
Svaty Florian
Loket 8 7 7 7 8 8
U Kudeje * Olomouc 10 9 10 7 9 10
U Floriana Olomouc 7 8 8 7 10 8
Citadela Olomouc 6 8 8 7 10 8
Senk Na
Parkanu
*
Pilsen 10 7 7 7 6 8
U Pasaka Pilsen 8 8 6 7 8 8
Base Camp Prague 10 8 8 6 9 8
T-Anker Prague 10 8 7 7 5 8
Pivovarsky
Klub
Prague 10 6 7 7 5 8
U Cerneho
Vola
*
Prague 9 9 10 6 9 10
U Hrocha Prague 9 9 10 6 9 10
U Prasivka Prague 9 8 9 7 10 9
U Vodoucha Prague 9 7 9 8 9 9
Prvni Pivni Tramway Prague 9 9 9 7 9 9
Pivnice
Jamajka
Prague 9 8 9 7 8 9
Jelinkova Plzenska
Pivnice
*
Prague 9 9 9 6 8 9
Vycep
U Bansethu
Prague 9 7 8 8 9 8
U Rudolfina Prague 9 8 7 7 9 8
U Vejvodu Prague 9 8 7 7 9 8
Vzorkovna Prague 9 10 9 8 8 8
U Medvidku Prague 9 7 8 7 8 8
Los V Oslu Prague 9 8 7 8 8 8
Poctivej Vycep Prague 9 7 9 7 7 8
Pivni Lokal
Ostry
Prague 9 7 9 6 7 8
U Slovansky
Lipy
Prague 9 8 7 6 7 8
U Vystrele-
nyho Oka
Prague 8 8 9 6 9 9
Pod
Smetankou

(CLOSED)

Prague 8 9 7 7 10 8
Hostomicka Nalevarna * Prague 8 8 9 6 9 8
U Rytire Prague 8 8 9 6 9 8
Pivnice
Ferdinand

Prague 8 7 8 7 9 8
U Buldoka Prague 8 8 8 6 9 8
U Deminky Prague 8 8 8 6 9 8
U Tunelu Prague 8 8 7 7 9 8
Centrala Prague 8 8 8 8 8 8
Café Jehuda Prague 8 9 7 8 8 8
U Zlateho
Tygra
*
Prague 8 8 9 7 7 8
Hany Bany Prague 8 8 7 8 7 8
Hospoda Nad Viktorkou Prague 8 9 8 5 6 8
Cross Club Prague 7 10 9 9 8 9
U Rotundy * Prague 7 7 9 7 10 8
Zazemi Prague 7 8 8 8 8 8
U Sadu Prague 9 9 9 9 9 9
Pivnice U Lva Tábor 7 9 10 8 10 9
U Certa Trebon 4 9 7 6 9 8

19,464

A working class town on the outskirts of Prague with an excellent and weird brewery near the station. Well worth a diversion from Prague and Karlstejn Castle for that alone.

Brno follows a trend of 2nd cities featuring riotous nightlife. A small centre and modern transport infrastructure provides a pull for locals who can expect a tidy selection of all the best sorts of pubs Czechia does well. Cosy traditional pivnices, neighbourhood pajzls and alternative hangouts thrive, as we pointed out HERE in our Days Out feature.

93,984

A large town that dominates rural South Bohemia, Budweis was a town with a German majority before the war. Famous for Budvar beer still owned today by the Czech government. The city is compact but retains a historic layout including an impressive central square, which perhaps is now too big for its own good. Nightlife is decent but unspectacular.

13,056

A centre overrun with Russian mobsters and Asian tourists, there is no real bar life to speak of other than casinos and drab hotel bars. To find nightlife climb into the hills or walk the other side of town where the locals life, where you can find a typically Czech range of down to earth boozers and lunch hospudky.

32,071

This border town has a mixture of historical sights and a typical market town square that can easily evoke times passed. There is a small cluster in the centre of busy bars of various descriptions and you can guarantee real local life and no tourists to speak of.

pop. 48,501

A city with a split personality, the city centre itself is a typical example of what happens when town planners allow middle aged, middle class tourists to dominate: no real pubs and expensive drinks. However, the locals have simply worked around the problem, and you can still find down to earth pubs only 5 minutes walk outside the central part of town which serve beers as cheap as you can find anywhere west of Berlin. Our recommendation is to ignore the centre in the evening, and pick the nearest couple of passable bars in the suburbs.

28,880

This medium sized town near Olomouc, pronounced ‘Krum-yeah-zzheesh’ is too easily bypassed, however as a former bishopric it has a disproportionate bounty of religious buildings and an impressive central square that make it a diverting visit for an afternoon. A central brewery and one or two sidestreet pubs offer a reasonable choice, but don’t expect anything too dramatic.

20,622

Given Kutna Hora is well on the tourist trail you may expect it to feature more in the way of nightlife. However, the strange long drag and touristic centre seems to have distended the town somewhat. While the town is worth exploring on its own right, it would be nice to find more than just the reasonably pleasant pub restaurant Dacicky and a long drag of drab sports bars towards the train station.

104,693

A city of this size should have a far better selection of pubs and bars. I’m afraid I have little to report except the blandest chain bars. Liberec operates as a skiing hub during the winter but out of season it is slightly sodden and drab, as is its nightlife.

pop. 3,200

Loket’s dramatic hilltop castle plonked dead centre in an almost sandbox world ringed by hills renders it well worth a visit. The typically Bohemian painted townhouses of the centre and cobbled streets on the periphery provide a beautiful and charming character, and – considering the small size – a competent cellar brewpub and neighbourhood hospoda with local life supplement what is a thoroughly enjoyable day out from Karlovy Vary.

pop. 19,486

Upon approach to Melnik it appears to be a normal town, with a gradual hill up to the centre. Then while wandering to its central church a cobbled lane appears to end, leaving only the horizon. You’ll never manage to pre-empt just how huge the drop and expansive the panorama is when you reach the edge. In addition to this outlook, you’ll find a characterful square of two storey town houses, low-rise, yes, but each arched in a defensive style similar to a Bastide town in France. You won’t find anything as dramatic in terms of drinking options, but the central brewpub remains a pub rather than simply a restaurant, and one or two nearby places have character due to local life in the evening.

pop. 7,359

A small south Moravian town more famous for its wine than its pubs, you won’t find anything other than perfunctory, tolerable venues for evening drinking. However, the surroundings are truly beautiful with vinyards, steep valleys and fanciful – yes- I’m going to say it – fairytale castle. If you fancy punctuating your trip to Brno or Bratislava, you could do far worse than changing trains at Breclav to spend a few hours here.

pop. 100,378

Among the most unheralded cities in Europe, no efforts, whether that be from broadsheet journalists or obscurantist bloggers, has persuaded the great unwashed with their Instagram accounts and selfie-sticks to visit Olomouc.  Its obscurity is infuriating and unfair on some levels, but that there are such places remaining in Europe, both beautiful, interesting and very cheap is of direct benefit to those intrepid enough to explore them. Two large squares with architecture every bit as charming as Prague old town, an astronomical clock and dramatic ‘Plague Column’ represent its core centre, while a ring of gardens around the old town and series of lanes spurring off like spokes on a wheel provide the background wandering.

The nightlife? Berserk. A very high % of the town’s inhabitants fill up seemingly hundreds of city centre venues, making it difficult to find a seat on evenings and weekends. A lack of tourism means the local economy yields fair prices and local wares that have to be good enough for local people to buy – this sets it apart from Prague which is – taken as a whole – a mixed picture.

We highly recommend Olomouc, a city is also very well-connected on the main transport arteries. There really is no good excuse not to go.

pop. 1,281,000

What can you say about Prague that hasn’t already been written? Dozens of diverse venues to suit pretty much everyone’s needs – even teetotallers. The core offering is of course the historic pivnicea Czech pub restaurant frequently situated in a cellar or venue shielding you from the outside world, but the common and humble hospoda, a neighbourhood pub frequented by locals rather than tourists is the bread and butter of the city’s offerings.

The drink? High quality expertly poured pilsner lager served by the half-litre. While Prague’s central Staropramen brewery is well known and its beers can be commonly found, the ubiquitous and more highly rated Pilsner Urquell is the staple option. You may well see plenty of Gambrinus – the working man’s lager – being drunk as well.

As the years go by, gradually more attention needs paying to avoid disappointment in Prague. Without wanting to dwell on the negative, we would like to highlight the following:

  • Good value is not going to be found by visiting a city centre ‘craft’ venue or aimlessly attempting to visit a tourist trap at random on ul. Karlova. If you go home complaining Prague wasn’t as cheap as people were telling you, it’s probably because you didn’t do your homework. You can still find hundreds of Prague pubs which serve a half litre of beer or glass of wine for 35 crowns or below, dozens of venues at sub 30 crowns. But in a sprawling city with one of the most touristic centres in Europe, you can’t simply bank on everywhere being great value.
  • Find venues that suit your tastes. If you don’t like beer it’s unlikely a brewery tap specialising in dark and light lager is going to yield the experience you seek. Every year I see hordes of tourists gingerly supping their Světlý Ležák simply because it’s the ‘thing to do’. Secondly, if you love beer then going to somewhere like the Absintherie probably isn’t going to be a good idea. Thirdly, if you are into late night clubbing then the atmosphere down a local pivnice isn’t going to be as good as ‘my mate told me it would be’.
  • If you are dead set on visiting a particular venue, make reservations. Prague locals are very savvy while even boozers which barely serve food will take table reservations on evenings. If you don’t do this then there is a real risk you will turn up to find no space and be hastily dismissed by a server – who don’t have the most stellar reputation for courtesy or patience towards tourists.
  • Be aware of scam tricks. Venues like U Fleku aren’t offering you shots of suspicious-looking herbal liquers out of the goodness of their hearts. They cost the same as they do in the West, but without you being informed in advance. Likewise that bowl of bread isn’t a peace offering, just another way of getting money out of you. But every single day, at any one time, thousands of people are falling for it.

pop. 170,548

While Plzen has recently been the European City of Culture, it’s worth bearing in mind this award is usually dished out to unheralded cities to give them a rare chance for the spotlight and economic leg-up. Plzen has arguably 4 key attractions at the time of writing which warrant visiting it – a dramatic central square, a successful football team (by Czech standards), a bus link to Nuremberg (which breaks up a journey from Prague) and, of course, Pilsner Urquell. Overall, the city is a ‘working city’, a phrase sometimes used euphemistically to scrub up more industrial/drab human settlements, of which Plzen is certainly one. Nevertheless, those key attractions above justify a visit, and you will find they occupy a full day without boredom creeping in. The nightlife is steady, but unspectacular in comparison to the busy and vibran Brno and Olomouc, although the central Pilsner Urquell pubs more or less define Bohemian drinking and dining.

pop. 5,276

A small exquisitely beautiful town, set on a peninsula surrounded by a lake. The central square is a true classic with rows of painted facades and porticos that give the town a distinctive character. Drinks-wise, expect to get your hands dirty, as the only venues with any character or atmosphere are some truly working class boozers located on the periphery of the more middle class, disinfected centre.

35,853

A typical market town with activity centred around its town square. However with a small Jewish quarter and a brewery not far from the centre, there is enough here to merit a stop off in between Brno and Telc.

pop. 8,253

Another true beauty spot, Třeboň is a delightful lakeside town with pretty town square, characterful lanes, castle, and impressive Victorian brewery. It’s also a fairly difficult-to-reach venue, which, along with its more general obscurity, renders it less prone to tourist influx. Sometimes pretty middle class towns do not translate into havens of lively nightlife, and nowhere is this more the case than Třeboň, where virtually zero interest is shown in evening drinking outside an atmospheric, gothic venue called U Certa. Wandering around the handful of comatose drab bars where time appears to have stood still is an experience, but not necessarily the one you want.