|U Sadu, the pub I literally lived about a 30-second-walk from for several months, is a great, low-key place offering fantastic value.|
It's laden with peculiar benefits, aside from its location right in the middle of plastic-bag-babička-land. For a party night, there are numerous pubs and herna bars located within a sickeningly close radius, so plan on a night out in Žižkov and a cab ride home, because the worthless number 11 tram doesn't go anywhere you'd want to be.
U Sadu has fabulous hours of operation: 8am to 4am, every day, including Christmas and that bunny holiday. Their kitchen and bar are open all hours as well. Ahhh... There's really nothing like a plate full of haggis and white sauce at 3:30am on a Tuesday night. Or a Wednesday night, for that matter.
This pub is well-known, not horribly located (it's no problem if you like to hike up the hill from Husinecka), and extremely good value. Over the years, this U Sadu has accumulated a fine array of bizarre stuff, suspended from the ceiling and laden with memory and age: WWII gas masks, typewriters, records that no one will ever play or remember, old extendable box cameras, and some other weird crap. The regulars sit at a large table, right in front of the entrance, shouting and laughing.
The beer is good, and they also serve Gambrinus, but Pilsner, of course, is where it's at. The location isn't bad enough to prevent you from going there and the full menu, crazy closing hours and the simple fact that they serve haggis should be enough to send you to U Sadu at least twice.
Pilsner Urquell: 26 CZK
Pivnice U Sadu
Škroupovo nám. 5, Prague 3
Phone: (+420) 222 727 072
Metro: Jiřího z Poděbrad (line A)
Tram: Jiřího z Poděbrad
This review was written in April 2006.
Beer Temperature: 8 out of 10
The first beer was slightly tepid, the second one cold and frosty, the third and fourth were unacceptable and I tried to send them back after I'd finished them.
Upstairs: Very smoky and dark. This room could benefit from a couple more windows, and type of ventilation not provided by a decrepit smoker's lungs. Downstairs: Less smoky, but darker. Less pub-like, with MTV playing Pimp my Ride (A disgusting, worthless show that I love because it mesmerizes me.)
The food is traditional, tasty, and really cheap. Their massive menu doesn't include much health food, but there are plenty of vegetarian options and snacks. I tried the Řecký salát (Greek salad; 55 CZK and very nice), the Salami with onion (45 CZK), and, since my day hadn't been ironic enough, the "Jewish steak," which comes smothered in blue cheese (135 CZK).
Culture & Friendliness: 8 out of 10
Entering this place for the first time can be a little strange, but once you make yourself at home, the staff are pretty good. U Sadu is foreigner-friendly, with a great English menu. It is pub culture in its truest form. Beware of the busy times, though -- everything turns to crap if there are a lot of people are around.
Fairly friendly and English-speaking downstairs, but upstairs is a different story. When it gets busy, it gets extremely smoky and the service becomes extremely slow. I've been ignored for long stretches of time in the upstairs area, and treated with mild disgust. Lots of expats come here to ponder their Prague existence.
Although not horrible, the bathrooms were somewhat difficult to find and access. If you're over 6' 6" tall (1.95 meters), you can't enter the men's bathroom. In fact, if you're that tall, don't go downstairs at all (unless you're chasing that pesky rabbit).
There's no actual garden, but rows of tables accommodating at least 120 people are set up outside, on a sidewalk that surrounds a pleasant rotunda.
Cleanliness of Taps: 9.5/10
As good as can be expected. How clean are your taps?
FINAL SCORE: 8 OUT OF 10
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