Prague is one of the world’s greatest beer cities; the perfect blend of traditional breweries and pubs with modern craft beer bars and brewers. This Prague Beer Guide will help you focus on the best the city has to offer. It’s a list of the best craft beer locations in Prague, advice on where to eat and what to see as you move around the city, and a handy map to help you plot your route.
The Czech Republic (or Czechia for short) has a rich beer heritage; it is famously the origin of the Pilsner beer style. Pilsner was first brewed in Pilsen (or Plzeň) in 1842 but the Benedictine monks at the Brevnov Monastery (Břevnovský klášter) in Prague had been brewing for centuries when this breakthrough was made.
As the Czechs say, “kde se pivo vaří, tam se dobře daří” – where beer is brewed, life is good. The Czechs aren’t just a nation of brewers though, they’re a nation of beer drinkers. Czechia has topped the tables when it comes to beer consumption per capita in Kirin’s beer consumption report in every one of the 25 years it has been published. The average Czech downed an incredible 183.1 litres of beer in 2017, while their nearest rivals the Austrians managed only 106.6 litres per person.
Every self-respecting beer geek should therefore have the Czech Republic, and in particular Prague, on his or her holiday destination wish list. I can’t claim to be a Prague expert but this Prague Beer Guide is made up of the highlights of my three visits so far. It’s a list I hope to be able to refine when (and not if) I’m back in the city.
Drinking in Prague is no longer as dramatically cheap as it was when the Iron Curtain fell. A tourism boom has inevitably resulted in price increases but beer is still very good value by major city standards.
One of the first things you will notice, and may find confusing, when looking at a beer menu is that there is a measurement in °. This has nothing to do with temperature but is in fact an early indicator of the final alcohol content of a beer taken during the early stages of the brewing process – the weight of the dissolved sugars as a percentage of the wort. As a guide a pale lager will usually be 11 or 12°, which equates to roughly 4.5 – 5% ABV.
You can get good Czech beer on almost every corner and I would highly recommend wandering into at least one random bar, preferably in a less touristy part of the city, for a more traditional drinking experience. That being said, here is my pick of the bars in Prague.
The beer hall and restaurant, Lokál in the Old Town is the perfect place to start a Prague beer tour. Not only do they serve Pilsner Urquell from the tank but their food menu (which changes daily) is full of hearty Czech classics like Goulash and Svíčková, ideal for soaking up the booze to come. For anyone who hasn’t yet had the pleasure, Pilsner Urquell Tankova is an altogether different beast to the keg version and an absolute must drink beer. If the glass has a head larger than you’re used to, fret not it is meant to be that way. The sweetness of this creamy foam is in fact what makes this beer so delicious, as it balances out the bitterness of the lager. And you’re not being short-changed – the glasses are larger to accommodate the extra foamy goodness.
Dlouhá 33 – Prague 1 | Website
Two large TV screens show what’s on the 32 taps in this craft beer bar. Expect plenty of modern Czech brews – BeerGeek also brews under the name Sibeeria – and a good selection from international breweries in a wide variety of styles. If you’re feeling peckish, they have a snack menu with some very good (and if you’re into that kind of thing, wickedly spicy) chicken wings.
Vinohradská 62 – Prague 3 – Website
Pivotéka ILLEGAL BEER
The emphasis is on Czech craft beer in this small bar with 6 taps on a side street near Wenceslas Square, though there are some bottles from other countries in the fridges. It’s best to get here early if you want a seat as it fills up quickly with a mostly young crowd.
Ve Smečkách 16 – Prague 1 | Website
Don’t be confused by the neon lit entrance way – this isn’t a 70s inspired disco but rather a top-notch craft beer cellar bar. There are 8 taps pouring mostly Czech beers but the fridges are full of international imports. The bar is owned by the same guys behind Falkon Brewery.
Mikovcova 605/4 – Prague 2 | Facebook
It is well worth venturing out of the centre of Prague for a few beers at Pivní zastávka. There are just three beers on tap and a limited selection of bottles in the fridge but this small bar has a pleasant laidback atmosphere. As well as offering the chance to mix with a more local crowd, prices are noticeably cheaper than more centrally located bars.
Kodaňská 32 – Prague 10 | Website
Pivo na stojáka
Perfect for a break from sightseeing, Pivo na stojáka is just 2 minutes walk from Old Town Square but bear in mind, it’s standing room only at this tiny bar. The bar was closed both times I walked past last summer but drinking a cold Pilsner Urquell here is on my to do list for my next visit.
Týnská 10 – Prague 1
Brewing is part of the Czech Republic’s DNA and in addition to being the birthplace of Pilsner, the country also provided one of the four noble hops in Saaz. Named after the German title for the town of Žatec, where it has grown naturally for centuries, Saaz is widely used in lagers the world over.
It is important to try some traditional Czech beer in Prague but as you would expect from a country with such a strong brewing tradition there are several Czech craft breweries worth keeping an eye out for: Pivovar Matuška, Clock and Zichovec for example.
While BeerGeek Bar and Malý/Velký have brewery connections I feel they are more accurately categorised as bars than tap rooms.
Klášterní šenk (Břevnov Monastery Tavern) & Klášterní Sýpka (Břevnov Monastery Granary)
The original brewery at Břevnov Monastery was shut down in 1889 but Břevnovský klášterní pivovar (Břevnov Monastery Brewery) has been brewing in a former stables at the monastery since 2011. Their Břevnovský Benedict beers can be found at several bars and restaurants in Prague but are also sold at the Klášterní šenk, a tavern at the monastery and Klášterní Sýpka, a taproom and shop on the opposite side of the courtyard. It’s worth noting that there are more beers on offer at Klášterní Sýpka.
Markétská 28/1 – Prague 6 | Website
Another Prague spot with a special place in its beer story is U Fleků, a centrally located brewpub where beer has been brewed for over 500 years. There is only one beer on tap – their Flekovský ležák 13°, a dark lager – but many beer lovers make the pilgrimage here. Its reputation and central location mean that U Fleků is very full and touristy but it’s worth putting up with the crowds for a quick beer.
Křemencova 11 – Prague 1 | Website
The brainchild of Adam Matuška, son of Pivovar Matuška founder Martin, and Lukáš Svoboda, the man responsible for beer quality at Lokál, Dva Kohouti is a new kid on the Prague brewing block, having opened in December 2018. But with this kind of pedigree the bar has quickly developed a following. As well as the lager brewed on the premises, there are several Matuška brews and sometimes guest beers on the 8 taps. Unlike most Prague bars it’s self-service at Dva Kohouti.
Sokolovská 81/55 – Prague 8 | Website
The Bottle Shops
If you’re looking for some cans and bottles to take home from your trip or that one last beer to enjoy in the comfort of your hotel room there are a couple of Prague bottle shops worth plundering (in addition to Zlý časy mentioned earlier).
It was at the BeerGeek beer shop, which was the precursor to the BeerGeek Bar, that I found the biggest selection of bottled beers on my trip – over 500 so their website tells me. There a couple of beers on tap so you can even have a drink while you browse the shelves, and homebrewers can geek out at the brewing ingredients on sale. The shop is ideally placed to take a bottle to Jiřího z Poděbrad Square on warm summer evenings.
Slavíkova 10, Prague 3 – Website
Pivní Mozaika (Beer Mosaic)
You’ll find mostly Czech brews at the Beer Mosaic bottle shop, though there are some imports from larger international breweries.
Křižíkova 177/29 – Prague 8 | Website
The Beer Gardens
While winter visits to Prague should be all about eating hearty Czech comfort foods in the warmth of the best pubs and bars, a summer visit isn’t complete without drinking a cold pilsner in one of the city’s beer gardens.
Letná Beer Garden
With panoramic views across Prague from the numerous tables and benches under shady trees, Letná Beer Garden is naturally one of Prague’s most popular outdoor drinking spots. From here you can look out across the Vltava river, the Old Town and all the way to the Žižkov Television Tower. If you decide to walk here from the centre at the height of summer you will certainly have earned a few cold drinks.
Letenské sady 341 – Prague 7
Restaurace U Pinkasů
A plaque in the basement at U Pinkasů marks the spot where the first Pilsener Urquell was poured in Prague in 1843 but the beer isn’t the only reason to visit this city centre bar and restaurant. The ‘Gothic Summer Bar Garden’ here is an oasis of cool, overshadowed by Gothic ruins and the thick stone walls of the Church of Our Lady of the Snows.
Jungmannovo náměstí 15/16 – Prague 1 | Website
Prague has a good mixture of traditional restaurants selling classic Czech dishes and modern cafés and bistros offering a wide range of international cuisines.
Between the Old Town Square and Wenceslas Square, Havelská Koruna is a canteen style restaurant serving standard Czech dishes. As you walk in you will be handed a slip that you take to the counter to be marked with each of your orders and pay as you leave. The food is basic but tasty and great value for money given the location and they have Gambrinus, Pilsner Urquell and Kozel on tap.
Havelská 21 a 22 – Prague 1 | Website
Naše maso is a combination of a traditional butcher’s shop and modern deli on Dlouhá, one of Prague’s main party streets. You have to be very lucky to get a seat but the meat here is of the highest quality and they grill / cook / prepare it perfectly – you could get a steak, beef tartare (a Czech speciality) or the mouth-watering Prague ham in a bun. And you can wash your meal down with a 12° lager that you pour into a paper cup from a self service tap on the wall.
Dlouhá 39, Prague 1 | Website
A bright minimalist café in a former corner pub in Prague’s hipster neighbourhood, Karlín, Proti Proudu serves up light meals and snacks and excellent coffee. The mouth-watering desserts in a glass cabinet at the counter will be very difficult to pass up.
Březinova 22 – Prague 8 | Website
Můj šálek kávy
Another Karlín corner café, Můj šálek kávy was ground zero for the Prague third wave coffee scene and is a very popular breakfast and lunch spot. A reservation is recommended if you want to eat breakfast or brunch here, especially on the weekend. Breakfast is served until 11:00 during the week and all day on the weekend.
Křižíkova 105, Prague 8 | Website
A kitsch café with a gastropub menu, Café Sladkovský is a lively neighbourhood hangout and the crowd spills out onto the pavement in summer. The food is an eclectic mix with Falafel, burgers and curries rubbing shoulders on the menu. If you’re having fries, I recommend the garlic mayonnaise. Note that while the bar stays open into the early hours, the kitchen closes at 22:00.
Sevastopolská 17 – Prague 10 | Website
Prague is widely regarded as one of the world’s most picturesque cities so it would be a massive mistake to allow the undeniably delicious beer and thriving beer scene to stop you from taking in the sights.
The Old Town
Along with the Lesser Town and the New Town, The Old Town is part of the UNESCO World Heritage listed ‘Historic Centre of Prague’. Many of the most well-known monuments and sights are found here but simply wandering the cobbled streets of the Old Town is a wonderful way to get a feel for the city. The area around the Old Town Square is overrun with tourists, especially at the height of the holiday season but the myriad side streets and alleyways are well worth exploring. Immerse yourself, marvel at the spectacular architecture from the Gothic to the Baroque and let your curiosity take you into random courtyards and passages – you never know what you might find.
Ride the tram
Another good way too see Prague is to take advantage of the extensive network of trams. The tram will allow you to cover far more ground than you could on foot but isn’t generally so fast that you can’t take in the sights as you go. A 90-minute ticket costs CZK 32, 24-hours is CZK 110, and 72-hours is CZK 310; these tickets also cover travel on buses and underground trains.
The Charles Bridge
A walk across the Charles Bridge is an essential and pretty much inevitable part of a Prague visit so don’t expect to be alone; An early morning stroll will give you the best chance to take in the bridge at your leisure. Surprisingly free of tourists, you can get a bird’s eye view from the top of the Old Town Bridge Tower on the east end of the bridge – a bargain at CZK 100. And remember walking across the neighbouring bridges will afford you another perspective.
Old Town Bridge Tower – Staroměstská mostecká věž – Prague 1 | Website
Mánes Bridge – Mánesův most – Prague 1
Legions’ Bridge – Most Legií – Prague 1
It was the winner of ‘The Best Design of 1996’ award from Time Magazine but given the stark contrast of the building’s form to its surroundings, Dancing House is naturally not universally popular. Superstar architect Frank Gehry, who conceived the design in cooperation with Vlado Milunić, originally nicknamed the building Fred and Ginger, a nod to its resemblance to a pair of dancing figures but Dancing House is the name that has stuck. For the price of a drink you can get a breathtaking view of the river and Prague Castle from the rooftop terrace of the Glass Bar at Dancing House.
Jiráskovo náměstí 6 – Prague 2 | Website
Vrtba Garden (Vrtbovská zahrada)
Though I haven’t yet been, the attraction I’m most looking forward to visiting on my next trip is Vrtaba Garden, a UNESCO World Heritage listed Baroque garden on the slope of the Petřín Hill.
Karmelitská 373/25 – Prague 1 | Website
Obviously I haven’t stayed in lots of Prague hotels but as I had a good stay there I would happily recommend Motel One. If you’ve stayed in any of their hotels across Europe you’ll know what to expect – modern décor; a clean, functional and reasonably sized room; and most importantly, a comfortable bed. The Motel One in Prague is well-placed for exploring the city – it’s within walking distance (about 15 minutes) of Old Town Square; the nearest tram stop is about 75 metres away; and the nearest Underground station about 350m.
It’s always good to learn a few words of the local language when you’re heading somewhere new. Learning a language isn’t easy and remembering foreign words and phrases after a few drinks is especially tricky but I think all of us can manage a recognisable ‘thank you’ as a bare minimum. The Czech words are links to google translations so you can check the pronunciation.
Hello – Ahoj
Good-bye – Ahoj
Please – Prosím
Thank you – Děkuji
Cheers – Na zdraví
And as this is a beer guide it would be stupid not to include:
Beer – Pivo
And finally, if you use this Prague Beer Guide and find it useful (or not!), or if you have any tips for my next trip, please let me know in the comments.