U zeleného stromu

This Old Town pub/restaurant offers good beer and a great location, but steer clear of the more fanciful items on the menu

This is a tank pub the way it should be done. It's always a good sign when a place is heavily patronized by the people for whom it was originally designed. There weren't many spaces to sit, so a reservation could be a good idea, but don't worry about it before 8pm or after 10:30pm. U zeleného stromu doesn't welcome haphazard drunks and degenerates (except on Thursdays), and if they do, they're kept in their own room, away from the rest of us normal drunks.

Overall, it was a decent, friendly experience with lots of space between the tables and good privacy. The downstairs area is enormous, airy, and, uh, woody, considering that it used to be the worst dungeon in Scotland only 300 years ago, when it was exported here to become Prague's first commercial dungeon. Seating was comfortable and there were plenty of hooks for winter coats, which, as of April 12th, were still sadly required.

There is an odd disparity between menu items. For instance, I ordered the suspiciously titled "Prague Alchemist" chicken dish, which was basically glorified carrots with two small chicken breasts on top. Included were the famous raw-but-extremely-fresh vegetables, plus some "American potatoes," which are normal French fries with more fat added. It was pretty disappointing, and my friends suggested that an alchemist was needed to change it into something more appetizing - like a golden sombrero. The pickled hermelín (soft cheese), on the other hand, was excellent and smooth, covered in stinky onions and spices. Also, they have Heinz's "Mexican Ketchup", the long lost delicacy of Mexico.

CONCLUSION
The beer is good, if a little more tepid than usual, and the location is wonderful. The price is right if you're sticking to beer, but, as we found out, your tab can really explode if you aren't careful. Go with the hermelín and the beer, and come with friends. U zeleného stromu offers a comfortable scene, invoking that sense of community drinking that all alcoholics strive to find in order to make themselves feel better. I'll be going back.

BEER PRICE
Pilsner Urquell: 29 CZK

VENUE DETAILS
Plzeňský restaurant U zeleného stromu
Betlémské nám. 6, Prague 1
Phone: (+420) 222 220 228
Metro: Národní třída (line B)
Tram: 6, 9, 18, 19, 21, 22, 23, 53, 54, 57, 58, 59 (stop: Národní třída)
Website

• Not to be confused with the similarly named Restaurace U Zeleného stromu in Prague 8-Karlín
PTV SCORECARD
Beer Temperature: 8 out of 10
Seemingly a bit warmer than in other pubs, probably from pre-pouring due to heavy traffic.

Atmosphere: 9/10
Well financed and picturesque. Incredible amounts of wood! Many people were smoking, but the downstairs was well-ventilated.

Food: 8/10
The menu caters to a more international crowd (teriyaki pork?), but is generally oriented toward Czech cuisine. A bit expensive for what was actually served.

Culture & Friendliness: 9/10
As good as can be expected. It was possible to communicate in English with all employees, who though not necessarily friendly were clearly not malevolent.

Service: 8/10
Prompt and hard-working people staff this pub. The food took a bit long due to protests taking place across the street over the pointless road construction in front of my flat.

Bathrooms: 9/10
I was only in the women's restroom for about five minutes, but it was top-notch. I went into the men's bathroom to wash the blood off my face after being in the women's too long, and it was as equally fresh and well-stocked.

Garden: N/A
Closed at time of review.

Cleanliness of Taps: 9.5 out of 10
Very clean and sanitary.

OVERALL: 8.7 out of 10


READERS' COMMENTS

I experienced worse service perhaps only once, in Russia.
Miroslav Novak
May 31, 2008
(Translated from Czech)

Me and my friends got kicked out and taunted from this restaurant because i was turkish! And because they were from different places in the world. The waiter even told us this restaurant was ONLY for czech people, and if we wanted 2 have a beer we should go to a turk restaurant or a austrian. The worst racism i have ever experienced in my LIFE! I recommend NO-ONE to ever go to that place.
U.C
December 16, 2008

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