Tweet Velký Al is hosting a series of guest blogs titled "My Local", where authors from both sides of the pond talk, basically, about their favourite pubs.
In its contribution Ron Pattinson, among other things, describes a local as a place where "It doesn't matter how long since your last visit, you pick up straight away where you left off, even if it's been a year.". Words that could very well describe what happened to me during my last visit to Pivovarský Klub.
There was a time when PK was mi local. I'd go there almost every week, I knew several of the štamgasty and had a very friendly relationship with some of the staff and even a couple of the owners. This lasted until I discovered Zlý Časy, which became my local almost from the first visit. It wasn't because the beer temple in Karlín had done anything wrong, but because the one in Nusle had that neighbouhood dive thing that I didn't know I was missing so much.
I still believe the Klub is one of the best pubs in Prague and every now and again I drop by. In this particular visit, Klára was "womanning" the taps downstairs. To me, Klára is something like the 21st century version of Maryška, the main character in the film Postřižiny (the man who saw this film and did not fall in love with Maryška should start questioning his sexuality, the man who has not seen this film, should correct that), she's pretty, friendly and understands beer (she's even brewed a couple of batches herself). I sat at the bar and started to talk with her, soon we were joined by her friend, who was also sitting at the bar, and later by another bloke, also sitting at the bar. I felt as if my previous visit hadn't been months, but just a few days before. Ron is right, in some way, Pivovarský Klub is still my local.
Some days later, at Zlý Časy, I was having a beer with an Argentine on holidays in Prague. We were talking about thisandthat and then I saw familiar face coming in, a good friend from Asturias, who was also on holidays in Prague, with her Czech miláček. She had agreed to meet there with a couple from Barcelona, also on holidays in Prague, and also good friends of mine.
What followed was a magic afternoon. All sitting around a small table, laughing, talking at the same time, having a wonderful, beer-fueled time.
And this is also one of the things that define a local. You can make new "friends" in any good pub, even during your first visit. A local, besides that, gives you also the possibility of chance encounters with old friends, something terribly enjoyable just because they are casual and spontaneous.
And back to the "past local" thing. I was very glad to learn that U Pětníka, my first local in Prague, is now tapping Únětická 12º, one of my 2011 beers of the year. The place is, looks and feels the same as when I "left" it all these years ago. I remember some of the faces from the days I went very often. It was a very nice feeling to once again have a reason to visit this quintessential neighbourhood pub.
Some advice before signing off. If you don't have a "local", find one and read the "My Local" series in Fuggled to understand why you should.
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