Ice-cold Kozel, incredible value, and a surprisingly good steak help make up for this Vinohrady pub's dingy atmosphere
Slezská 134, Prague 3
Phone: (+420) 272 734 957
Metro: Flora (line A)
Velkopopovický Kozel: 17 CZK
Beer Temperature: 9 out of 10
Consistently cold and frigid like my third grade teacher. The cheapness of it made it even colder. Kozel seems a bit less difficult to swallow than its slightly harder competitor, Gambrinus.
Atmosphere: 7 out of 10
Smoky and old. It seems like the horrid haze of smoke is part of the pub itself, coloring the walls with satisfaction. I remember a large cluster of pictures near the entrance wall, snapshots from their hopelessly shoddy "topless server" nights, which begin at 6pm on Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. On God's day! Jesus Moses Christ!
Food: 9 out of 10
I was surprised right out of my knickers by the 200g steak I received (160 CZK). It was thick and tasty, covered in a creamy mushroom sauce with herbs. The dish's name is startlingly unoriginal -- "steak with mushrooms" -- but it was just swell. Steak fries were added for 25 CZK. There was some interesting animal matter in the white wine that a friend ordered, which leads me to my comments below...
Culture & Friendliness: 8 out of 10
No English allowed. This could be inconvenient for travelers who don't know rudimentary Czech, which I barely know. There's no English menu, and no English spoken. The servers were friendly enough, in so far as we were obviously foreigners in their establishment, and we weren't poisoned, attacked, verbally abused or laughed at. But a wad of saliva the size of a pigeon's head abruptly entered our sphere of influence, in mid-air, and disappeared behind one of the booths. Like a shooting star, arcing perfectly...
Service: 7 out of 10
Fairly quick, and angrily acquiescent. The female server scoffed at our request for a white wine without any phlegm or brain tissue in it, claiming "not to see it." This simply wasn't deniable. It was like saying you don't see Prague Castle over the Vltava: "No, I don't see it. A castle, you say?" A cute older barman with a Ulysses S. Grant/Archduke Franz Ferdinand-style moustache and low, thick sideburns slowly chugged along with fresh foamy beers, sloshing the damn things all over us as he carried them. He spoke with a softly booming voice, like he was a forgotten opera singer, pronouncing with gusto each syllable and háček.
Bathrooms: 3 out of 10
If you've ever seen the bit in Trainspotting where Mark rushes into "The Worst Toilet in Scotland," then you can imagine the pitiful and putrid condition of the bathrooms here. Strewn with poorly choreographed nude photos, the men's restroom was only slightly better than the women's disgusting pit, which had what my friend sincerely hoped was "just blood" on the wall, right next to the huge hole kicked through one of the stall doors. A foul and wet experience.
Garden: Not Applicable
No garden or outdoor seating is available, but you can probably tear a door off from somewhere and sit on the sidewalk out front.
Cleanliness of Taps: 8 out of 10
Decently clean. It was hard to see them through the nauseating smoke and the khaki motif but I detected nothing that may have come from either bathroom on the taps.
U Bergnerů is a sad but pleasant glimpse of the days before foreigners arrived here, and you had a pretty good chance of maybe going home with one of the local floosies.
Aside from the incredible value and the damn good steak (particularly in a country where steak means almost every meat other than cow), there's not much to see. It's dingy, unimpressive, and has the worst bathrooms I've seen in this city. It's at the end of a street that puts you almost in Prague 10, but very close to Flora metro station.
I may find myself there on a Tuesday night though -- after 6pm of course -- for another go at the steak. It wouldn't be an outrageous thing to expect...
FINAL SCORE: 7.32 out of 10
This review was written in May 2006.
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