It may not have the best drinks or the best prices, but this Old Town bar is a good place for cocktails and conversation
"Nobody goes there anymore. It's too crowded."When we are in Old Town and we want to talk and have a cocktail, we go to Zapa Bar.
I don't think they have the best drinks or the best prices. But they've done a good job updating the former below-street-level digs of Alcohol Bar, and surprisingly enough, I've never seen it full.
That's what we really like about it.
They mix some fine and expensive drinks nearby at Tretter's, but it is usually jam-packed with yammering yuppies, posturing poseurs, and meat-market manipulators. Getting a seat or hearing a conversation in there is close to impossible.
The American Bar at Obecní dům is beautiful and we once had some nice, big gin-and-tonics there. But the prices are through the Art Nouveau roof. It just felt touristy and dead.
At Zapa Bar, I saw the barman making some very fancy fruity drinks.
I can only tell you they looked good because neither of us is likely to order an electric blue or hot pink cocktail.
I ordered a Cuba Libre (120 CZK). An unimaginative selection, I know. But this is my drink of choice when I am dead tired and don't want to keel over off my stool.
This was the case on this evening. I needed a caffeine and sugar boost.
If you like the rum to dominate the Coke, then you'll enjoy it. There was a full measure of rum, but it was served in a relatively small glass.
So, there wasn't a lot of room for the cola. I wouldn't have minded a little bigger glass and a little more cola.
And I wanted more lime. Tretter's version was bigger and had plenty of citrus.
In fact, I was craving limes so much that after two Cuba libres, I switched over to a gin gimlet (115 CZK).
It was not too sweet, not too sour, but a little on the watery side. I prefer the sourer version at Hapu up in Žižkov.
What I really didn't like was how small it was. The gimlet was served in a tiny martini glass only partly full.
V surprised me (she does that a lot) and ordered a 0.2-liter glass of Lambrusco (100 CZK). I'd never seen her drink that before.
The chilled, sparkling red had a touch of sweetness and was quite refreshing. She enjoyed it so much, she had three glasses.
It was 10:30pm, and I hadn't had dinner. I was absolutely starving, so I looked over the small food menu.
I chose the grilled sausages (150 CZK). That's a lot for a couple of sausages, but I didn't expect to get off cheaply when ordering food at a cocktail bar.
I did fondly recall the cheapness of the 49 CZK sausage I had recently at Mad Bar.
These two were good. I haven't seen sausage curls too often in Prague. They were well-seasoned inside, and properly cooked.
The accompanying items underneath looked good, but unfortunately, they were really mostly for show.
The sausage sat on top of plain white toast. It came with fresh rucola and a few cherry tomatoes. But they were dry.
No dressing. No fun.
I was so hungry I didn't think to ask for some oil and vinegar. The sausage also came with small servings of ordinary ketchup and mustard.
The final bill, which also included two bottles of Mattoni (35 CZK each) came to 875 CZK. A lot of money. Then again, we had more drinks than we planned because we were having such a nice conversation.
You can't put a price on that.
Will we return to Zapa Bar?
If we need a quiet spot to relax in the center, probably yes. It is comfortable, there's no attitude, and we always get a seat.
But if it ever gets too crowded, we ain't going there anymore.
Tel.: (+420) 222 315 899
Prague Directory Listing
This article was written in May 2008.
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