Prague is a paradise for lager lovers. It can also be a daunting Old World city with hard-to-pronounce pub names and with even harder-to-pronounce winding narrow streets. Thankfully, Max Bahnson, a language teacher and beer enthusiast, has put together a 117-page guide that makes sense out of words that, even after just one pilsner, have way too many consonants in a row.
Prague: A Pisshead’s Pub Guide is an excellent choice for any beer tourist spending a few days in the capital of the Czech Republic because it chunks the city’s best beer halls into 15 manageable pub crawls. Using Bahnson’s guide you can drink like a local in the city’s best pubs even if your flight landed just an hour ago.
Bahnson got the idea for the book back in 2003 while talking with some of his students about beer—“pivo” in Czech—and the best places to enjoy it. He says the book took longer than he thought it would to complete and he was languishing a bit before it occurred to him that the great pubs should be organized by crawls to make them easier for people to enjoy.
“I’ve visited every pub in the book,” Bahnson said over a beer at the Pivovarsky Klub. “You really have to if you are going to write a real guide book. Prague is a city with many pubs and these are my favorites.”
On a recent visit to Prague, I used Bahnson’s book to find a number of neat spots I might have missed. Most beer fans will find their way to U Fleku, Zlatého Tygra and Zlý Časy on their own. But this insider’s guide will also turn you on to places like Bredovský Dvůr, U Bergnerů, U Sadu and U Medvíku.
Prague: A Pisshead’s Pub Guide is worth reading before heading to the city even if you only consume the two pages that deal with the “language of pivo.” Menus become easier to understand once you know the difference between Lehké Pivo, Výcepní Pivo, Ležák, Speciál and Porter.
The section on pub manners will also give you a leg up on making new friends at any Czech bar. “Dobrý den” (good day) is a universal greeting and “Pivo prosim” is a polite way to call for a beer. Warnings on where to sit—and not sit—ordering and how to tip will save you rookie embarrassment.