75. Pivovarsky Klub, Prague, Czech Republic

You really have to want to find the Pivovarsky Klub.

IMG_1184

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.

IMG_1170

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.

IMG_1187

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.

IMG_1193

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.

IMG_1201

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.

IMG_1206

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.

Advertisements

132. Gösser Bierklinik, Vienna, Austria

IMG_7807

For me, Vienna was a squalid disappointment on many fronts. The most romantic city in the world? Better stick to the square kilometer in the centre then.

IMG_7811

I thought Vienna would salvage its reputation with its old European charms and quality beer. So much potential: I even liked the name; “The Beer Clinic”, how whimsical! But none of the chthonic, ancient, rustic Central European charm, so resplendent in Prague, can be found in Gösser Bierklinik.

Often great bars have an unremarkable frontage, but at the Bierklinik, this rather set the tone for the evening. We asked the impatient waiter for a beer recommendation and were left lumbered with bloody Gösser. This piss-water is the Heineken of Austria, and surely has the friendliest profit margin.

IMG_7817

Damn good schnitzel though:

IMG_7812

Venue: 4/10

Unremarkable. Played heavily on the historic, medieval theme, but in this respect can’t hold a candle to the average old Prague pub.

Beer: 1/10

We asked for a recommendation, and were treated to Gösser pils; the Heineken of Austria.

Worthy? No

There are much better bars of this style in Vienna, and a remarkable new one in 1516, so this inclusion is unfathomable.

Candidate #2- Bier Fabriek, Amsterdam, the Netherlands

IMG_9629

Bier Fabriek is a micro-brewery in Amsterdam, currently hidden behind the metro development on the Rokin. This doesn’t keep the numbers down; the weekend demands a reservation. And rightfully so.

IMG_9642

They brew two of their beers on site in the middle of the bar. Size demands that extensions to their range are brewed offsite on their behalf.; this is currently an unfiltered pilsner crafted in collaboration with the family run Brewery Alfa and is bloody splendid. It is quite similar to the “Lager” at 1516, Vienna, if that helps?

IMG_9623

The menu is extensive so long as you want barbecue chicken. Which you should, as it is moreish. And there are great sacks of monkey nuts to snack on and discard their shells all over the floor.

IMG_9635

Venue: 8/10

Industrial-chic isn’t easy to pull off, but De Bierfabriek does it and then some; there are even parts that feel cosy. The service is splendid too, which in Amsterdam is like a virgin behind a window in the Red Light District. There are also monkey nuts everywhere; I don’t think I need to explain why that is brilliant. Some of the tables have their very own taps for you to dispense the beer yourself according to you rwhim.

Beer: 7/10

Only three beers on the menu to choose from, but they are all their own and cover pils, amber-weisse and black. They are good, undoubtedly, but not as fine as the frustratingly micro-brewed offerings at “1516″ in Vienna.

Worthy?

This blog is very young still, so it is hard to opine with conviction. I really enjoy this bar- there is an undefinable quality, a quality that no amount of old beer memorabilia can guarantee. So they have done something right. One of the top 150 in the world though?