27 Jan 2012

Heresy!

I love cellar pubs, the deeper they are, the better. There's something almost clandestine in going to a cellar for a beer. You have the pleasant sensation of escaping or hiding from something or someone, of sheltering yourself in the solace of alike souls. In a cellar the time and the seasons loose much of their meaning. It doesn't matter what time of the day or the year it is, the cellar has this static continuity that is impervious to calendar or clock (and not long ago, it was also impervious to mobile phone signals). You don't go to a cellar to have a quick pint on the go, walking several metres down into the bowels of Mother Earth implies a commitment to yourself.

And if we are speaking about a place we've never been before, uncertainty should be added to all of the above. A cellar hasn't got a front or windows, there's nothing that can gives us at least an idea of what awaits us. Just a door, an impassive piece of wood that won't reveal what's hiding behind it challenging us to overcome our fears and discover it ourselves.

U Kacíře - The Heretic*, is one of those pubs. It's not too deep, only a dozen or so steps below Manésova. If you take the challenge of the door you find an inviting place, well lit and with warm colours. To the right there's the non-smoking room, to the left, the smoking room, both are separated by the bar, which has a sort of U shape cut in the middle by the wall that separates the non-smokers. Nice.
Foto (c) U Kacíře
But I need more, much more than all this to make me happy. Kout na Šumavě 10º nefiltrovaná is one of those things that can make me happy. I think this heretic and I can become good friends.

As usual when I go for a pint alone, and specially if it's at a new place, I take a seat at the bar. It helps me get an idea of how well the staff treats the beers and there's always the chance to start a conversation with them or with any other patron that happens to be perched there.

The bloke at the bar is pretty busy and won't say much, but this Kout is wonderfully done. It's not only that what shows the respect this man has for his beers (within the possibilities, all the 30l kegs are below the bar). Mi Kout must be the first he's tapping today, the pub opens at four and it's only quarter past or so. He pours about half a pint that goes straight into the drain. The ritual will be repeated with some of the other beers as more people come. Trubáč, the beer that is left in the pipes from the day before, something that should never make it to the patron's glass, but quite often does. Not at U Kacíře it seems. Good.

There are other nine beers besides this monument to the national beverage I'm enjoying now. Kout 12º (filtered), three from Žatec and the rest, an assortment from K Brewery. Nowadays, this mix won't rise many eyebrows, it's almost par for the course, I would say. But this Kout 10º (already in its second pint) tastes so sinfully delicious, and Žatec Tmavé isn't too shabby, either, straightforward, subtle, some chocolate and a pinch of roast and as well served as the other.

A familiar face walks in. A woman who used to work at Zlý Časy and is now using all she learnt at Nusle's beer temple here in Vinohrady. I stay a půl litr longer than I had planned. I'm starting to feel almost like at home, as happy as a pig in a pub. We talk about this and that and I'm glad to hear the place is doing quite well considering it opened only two months ago. The good job these people are doing should be enough to guarantee success, I hope I'm right.

If you happen to be in the neighbourhood (and also if you don't, this pub is right next to the Jiřího z Poděbrad Metro station) drop by at U Kacíře and see it for yourselves.

Na Zdraví!

Pivní Šenk U Kacíře
50°4'40.829"N, 14°26'52.627"E
Manésova 87 - Prague-Vinohrady

+420 252 545 454
Mon-Fri: 16-?? Sat-Sun 17-??

*Yeah, I know, the title of this post is kind of crappy, I couldn't come out with anything better. On the other hand, only a few years ago a pub with 10 taps, all with different beers, would have been almost a heresy, an apostasy to the pivní status quo. Fortunately, those days are gone.

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11 comments:

  1. Looks nice, hope the Kout will taste as good as at U Slovanské lípy... either way I'm going to give it a try.
    Btw. have you visited Zubatý pes since the change in ownership?

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  2. I haven't yet. I've heard the new owner, a Russian bloke, is very nice and certainly tries to do his best, but he's no Mike...

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  3. Yeah about that: someone said that Mike had to let go of ZP implying some kind of difficulties and just yesterday I heard while shopping at Pivní rozmanitost that it was the so-called ,,offer you can't refuse'' (very lucrative I guess); still I had the impression that ZP was kinda like his dream project, so I don't fully understand the change...

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    1. What I heard from a good source was that the offer was too good to let go. I hope Mike can open another pub in a better location soon, he was doing a great job there.

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    2. Well if he did get a good 'settlement' for it then he should be able to open up a new place no problem, and maybe pick a bit more inviting location for it (and I say that as someone who actually lives fairly close to it).

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    3. Makes no sense to me, I have been to Zubatý Pes many times but the place is always virtually deserted even on a Friday or Saturday night. Does not have the atmosphere conducive to more than a quick pint as sitting in a big, brightly lit and empty room is not much fun. The only reason I go there is because I live on the same street and Zly Casy is nearly always full.

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  4. Looks like a great place, and not far from another favourite of mine, Hrom do Policce. What about the food; is it ok?

    Lasse

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    1. Didn't try it. They only have beer snacks and what I saw coming out of the kitchen didn't look too shabby, really.

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  5. Anonymous, Hrom do Policce - mega shit place.

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    1. ^just pounding the keys and scowling as that was typed, a true beer authority

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  6. Great! Another Kout place in Prague.
    Time I visited Prague again. Nearly 18 months since I last had a pint of Kout. How time flies...

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