I wasn't very much looking forward to April this year. Back in February I leant that my main beer supplier, Nápoje Charvát would be closing at the beginning of the month – some personal issues of the owner. When March was coming to an end and there was no news about someone who would carry one with the business, as was Mr. Charvát's wish, I started to worry. Loosing that bottle shop would be a real pain the ass to me as there's not a single one retailer in Prague that can match this nápojka in terms of brand diversity, price and convenience – we park nearby when we come to town by car, which gives me the possibility of buying beer by the case. And then came the sad news about Kaaba.
Although it's true that now in Prague there are plenty of nice spots to have a good early pint, to me, Kaaba wasn't so much about the beer as it was about the people I met there, and that would be very hard, if not impossible to replace.
But things have turned out well, after all.
Nápoje Charvat has found new owners, people who took it over because they want it to remain unchanged, or at least with as little change as possible. The don't have much in stock yet – I was told it would take them another couple of weeks – but they've promised the same range of beers. I wish them success.
It was a bit different with Kaaba. There was no chance to keep the place open. However, a week or so after it closed for good, the geezer who was working there wrote to all those who had left their e-mail addresses with some good news: he had found a place for us. He managed to talk the owner of Café Galeria, a spot around the block, opposite U Vodoucha, to let him open at 9 on weekdays.
The other day, when I walked in, there were a couple of Kaaba's morning regulars sitting at the bar; people I had not seen since the end of last month. We greeted each other with honest joy, and the same happened when another one came in a bit later, and with everyone else. It was, an is, a hard to describe feeling, it's a sense of community.
Granted, this place may not be as nice as Kaaba, and, to my taste, the beer isn't as good either – Pilsner Urquell instead of Polička – but I don't care, because at the end of the day, those things aren't that important, what really matters is the people.
Happy endings, don't you just love 'em?