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Enjoy the Czech national treasure as it's meant to be served at this no-nonsense Vinohrady pub
This pleasant little pub, just two blocks south of Jiřího z Poděbrad, is exactly what we look for in a Czech restaurace. Fantastic beer, hearty, well-priced food, few tourists and the friendly yet disaffected service that many visitors and expats mistake for rudeness.
Rudeness implies an effort to be rude, and this is simply economy of motion and emotion. You'll get your beer and you'll get your food and if you make a joke the waitress will smile. Don't expect too much more and you'll be more than satisfied.
It's also a "country" pub, and for those uninitiated into the Czech country scene, it's well worth a visit to a place where men in cowboy hats sing classic American country melodies with completely different Czech lyrics.
The focus, however, is on the beer, and it's tank beer. Never kegged, unpasteurized, and with no carbon dioxide, it's the way any pilsner-type beer should be drunk. Gambrinus 10 degree, Pilsner Urquell and Kozel dark make up the selection and they're just about as good as it gets.
The Gambrinus, my personal favorite, was at the perfect temperature - almost cold enough to make your teeth hurt; a creamy head; the crisp, clean taste that you get with clean pipes; and the belgian lace, the telltale yeasty rings that cling to the glass all the way down to the end. The Pilsner was also excellent.
The menu is made up of classic ready-to-eat meals, like guláš and roast pork, plus other pub standards. The roast pork with two kinds of knedlík (dumplings) and two kinds of zelí (cabbage) is the real star for 85 CZK. The portions are generous and everything on our visit was as good as it gets. Nothing goes better with your beer than roast pork, potato knedlík, and red and white zelí. All swimming in a healthy ladleful of roasting jus.
U Vodárny is a perfect little pub in the heart of Vinohrady - a place where you can pay local prices for the Czech national treasure as it's meant to be served.
Update There is now outdoor seating on the sidewalk.
Check out the U Vodárny website (in Czech) for the full menu and details of upcoming concerts.
Pilsner Urquell: 25 CZK
Gambrinus Světlý (10 Degree): 21 CZK
Kozel Černý (Dark): 22 CZK
Restaurace U Vodárny
Korunní 75, Prague 3
Phone: (+420) 222 522 540
Metro: Jiřího z Poděbrad (line A)
Tram: 10, 16, 51 (stop: Vinohradská vodárna)
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