The (Bar) Charts

Top 10 Choice and/or quality of drinks:

  • T’Brugse Beertje – Bruges – An absurdly good and wide selection of Belgian beers for such a small bar, and though most are bottled, it hardly matters.
  • Delerium Café – Brussels – It could take you an hour to properly read through the directory of beers you can ask to read, almost like a travel brochure. The majority are Belgian and thus outstandingly good.
  • BierCab –Barcelona – 32 beers on tap covering so many bases and at such a high median, all displayed via flatscreen above the bar. You simply have to bow down.
  • Monk – Brussels – Not an exhaustive list but one of the most exquisitely well chosen selections of Lambics, Sour and Fruit beers anywhere, both in bottle and on tap.
  • Senk Na Parkanu – Pilsen – One of the few places on earth serving Pilsner Urquell not just unpasteurised but unfiltered. The beer still arrives via horse drawn carriage from the brewery. If you order anything else you want your head examining.
  • Bier Charakter Bar – Nuremberg  – Multi-tap offering a perfect balance between traditional German beer offerings and craft ale.
  • Kanguruh – Vienna – An uncompromising and comprehensive selection of Belgian bottles, along with a choice selection of tapped German beers.
  • Strefa Piwa – Krakow – The cream of Polish craft ale on tap, with a varied and well chosen range of guest ales and bottles behind the bar.
  • Poechenellekelder – Brussels – Excellent choice of options covering most Belgian bases and to a very high standard.
  • Schlenkerla – Bamberg – The best unfiltered rauchbier from the barrel along with beers such as the weizen and doppelbock which are difficult to find elsewhere. The standard is unsurpassed.

Top 10 Style and Décor:

  • Szimpla Kert – Budapest  – The original and still the best ‘ruin’ pub.
  • Zlatna Ribica – Sarajevo  – Trinkets, goldfish, old TV’s and vintage furniture.
  • Alchemia – Krakow – Rotting, ruined antique furniture and peeling paint.
  • Goupil Le Fol – Brussels – Jazz bunker with books and records nailed to the walls.
  • SchlenkerlaBamberg – The ultimate Germanic medieval tavern.
  • Café Vlissinghe – Brugge – Authentic medieval Flemish inn from 1515.
  • Eszewaria – Krakow – Vintage furniture, gnarled stained surroundings.
  • Neon Side – Wroclaw – Recovered neon signage creates a mini-Blade Runner courtyard
  • Fogas Haz – Budapest – Sprawling venue of various styles and something to look at in each room.
  • Monk – Brussels – A careful, lavish yet understated recreation of a Brown Café

Top 10 Atmosphere and/or Local life:

  • Szimpla Kert – Budapest  – The matchless atmosphere of young people relaxing and having a good time in a unique partly open-air venue.
  • Zlatna Ribica – Sarajevo  – Brooding chintzy tradition meets-the-orient eccentricity
  • Alchemia – Krakow – Crimson candlelit woozy quality with live music and drinkers spilling out onto the street
  • Goupil Le Fol – Brussels – Hazy windowless jazz bunker that feels secret and special
  • Snekutis (Uzupis) – Vilnius – Unparalled DIY rustic feel shared by old men, local bohemians and travellers alike.
  • Schlenkerla – Bamberg – Medieval tavern and cloistered banqueting hall hosting proud Franconians and excited travellers
  • U Hrocha – Prague – Prague locals fighting hard to keep this local. Tremendous classic cosy beer hall atmosphere.
  • Papa Joe’s Biersalon – Cologne – Eccentric jazz and oompah singalong venue packed with local character.
  • A Baiuca – Fado Vadio – Lisbon  – Passionate folk crooning in someone’s kitchen amongst an attentive and authentic crowd.
  • Garden Henry – Varazdin – The cycling rebels of Varazdin’s cycling-decorated courtyard and garden for unlicensed drinking and hanging out.

Top 10 Amenities and Events:

  • Szimpla Kert – Budapest – Live music, shisha, breakfast + lunch, social events and outside area
  • Papa Joe’s Biersalon – Cologne – Live music and performances of various kinds, boistrous singalongs and bar snacks
  • Snekutis Uzupis – Vilnius – Home-brew beer, rustic food from a home kitchen, local events
  • Ellato Kert – Budapest – Live music, social events, garden terrace
  • Fogas Haz – Budapest – Live music and performances across a myriad of platforms, games rooms, social events, rooftop bar
  • Alchemia – Krakow – Live music, social events, adjoining food kiosks, street drinking
  • Opium – Krakow – Live music, live sport, some food options, outside area
  • Senamiestis Snekutis – Vilnius – Live music, sport, food, food options and games
  • Traveller’s Pub – Cesky Krumlov – Adjoining hostel sharing the usual facilities
  • Piwna Stopa – Poznan – Live sport, food, pub quiz, barbecues, outside area, pub dog

Top 10 Value For Money:

  • Angel Inn – Leeds – A good pint for less than £2 can still be obtained in the UK
  • U Cerneho Vola – Prague – 40czk for a quality beer in a quality pub right next to Prague Castle
  • U Poutnika – Brno – 30czk a pint at a great pub in the centre of Brno
  • Bernard pri Lyceu – Bratislava – Top quality Bernard pivo for barely a euro
  • Budvarka – Ceske Budejovice – Tank Budvar from the home of Budvar for pennies
  • U Vejvodu – Prague – Tank Pilsner Urquell in Prague Old Town for a fair price
  • California Club – Karlovy Vary – For 30czk, the cheapest Pilsner Urquell I have ever found
  • Hostinec U Rotundy – Under a pound a pint in Prague old town, this echo from another era is still going strong.
  • U Certa – Trebon – Out in the sticks in Czechia, no surprise to find beer for pennies
  • Proletaryat – Poznan – Barely over a pound a pint for their own brew, great value

Top Ten All-Rounders (Average of 7.5+ and above 7/10 in all categories):

  • Szimpla Kert – Budapest  – The best combo of drinks, decor, atmosphere, amenities and good value in Europe.
  • Piwna Stopa – Poznan – Other than the toilets, everything about this place is very good or superb.
  • Schlenkerla – Bamberg – A rich, traditional experience covering all pub wants and needs.
  • Eleszto – Budapest – Modern, stylish but very well executed, good value and a good atmosphere, with plenty to do.
  • T.E.A. Time – Krakow – English style cask ale, fish and chips and pub quiz, they have hardly put a foot wrong with any aspect of this pub.
  • K.K.C – Riga – Latvia’s take on a ruin bar. Does the full range of pub stuff very well.
  • Spiz – Wroclaw – A central European Ratskeller is a special thing indeed and this institution proves how well it can be done.
  • Café Vlissinghe – Brugge – Rich in history, with good beer, great surroundings, warm homely and local, with food options, boules in the garden, a pub dog and decent value. Fantastic.
  • U Vejvodu – Prague – A traditional taproom pub upstairs with live sport, great cheap beer and a vibrant atmosphere, then a sprawling Pivnice downstairs with uncomplicated affordable Czech food. Covering most bases there.
  • The Red Deer – Sheffield – Traditional pub with a real fire, great choice of cask ales, fresh food, folk music, a courtyard, a band practise room upstairs and a social venue for the university close by. A community hub covering all bases really well.