Candidate #17- Junkyard, Nottingham, England

The Midlands has a long, proud ale brewing history; Castle Rock, Marstons, Nottingham Brewery.

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But forget all that: the junkyard celebrates all the other types of beer; saisons, stouts, west coast IPAs, bizarre fruity potions and all sorts of hybrids. It’s bloody brilliant. A corner of the bar is reserved for fridges for take-out or drink-in, resplendent with a great selection of cans (usually a massively underrepresented receptacle, for some reason).

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The junkyard is tucked away down an alley in an actual yard, giving the venue outdoor seating front and back and a bit of peace in the city centre. There is a large row of bar seats which is rare and welcomed in England, and is a nod towards the underlying American influence. The food is classed-up bar food, with plenty of big flavours and stocky quantities to soak up the booze, with a pan-European influence: French toast, scratchings, charcuterie, Padrón peppers; and some American staples: fried pickles and popcorn.

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Venue: 6/10

Hidden away from the noise, two gardens, a long bar seating area and tasteful decor. Hopefully more will be added over the years to give an aged rather than worn feel.

Beer: 8/10

Very respectable selection of canned beers (an underrated option, in my opinion), and 15 taps mark it out as a leading stockist in the Midlands.

Worthy? Maybe

 

75. Pivovarsky Klub, Prague, Czech Republic

You really have to want to find the Pivovarsky Klub.

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After spending some 30 minutes following a picture of a picture of a bad map, we were committed and had to make the cumulative efforts worthwhile. What didn’t help is an anonymous suburban location, past a run-down underpass.

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The exterior is unappealing grey pebble-dash, but inside you are met with a very modern conversion. This first floor is more bottle shop than bar, and does lack warmth as a result.

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Typical of Prague, downstairs hosts the main room in a cave-like warren. This is a great space with some classy features and thoughtful lighting. However, there is much more of a restaurant feel, where the interior offered ample opportunities to facilitate a great, cosy bar.

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The beers we tried were so-so. The unfiltered pilsner was OK, but once you have tried the incarnation served at 1516 in Vienna, the bar is high. The blueberry beer was a decent desert tipple, but not remarkable.

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The staff we met were great and really had everything under control. We were offered fresh beers before we ran out which made us feel looked-after, rather than pestered.

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Taken outside, waiting for the rain to lessen.

Venue: 4/10

Upstairs is really a (very good) bottle shop. Downstairs is decent, but lacks some charm.

Beer: 5/10

The tap beers were not remarkable, but the large bottle shop upstairs is somewhat redeeming.

Worthy? No.

It’s a good bar, for sure, but the cave theme is an oft used one in Prague, and the top floor is vanilla at best.