1 Mar 2015

A double obituary


Last week was a sad one for lovers of beer minimalist pubs, with two of them closing on Friday: U Klokočnika and Hrom do Police.

I found out the former when I dropped by to make some photos for the new edition of the Pisshead's Pub Guide. There was a blackboard outside announcing the news, but I didn't take it seriously, anyone could have written it. It was true, of course. When I asked, the waitress told me it was because of the insanely high rent for the location—78,000 CZK + utilities (though I read 76K elsewhere)—and the shop's being in serious need of a refurbishing (on a side note, the premises don't belong to any greedy capitalist pig but to MČ Praha 4).

Later that day, a couple of hours after having posted the news on U Klokočnika on my FB page, I read on Pivni.info the news on Hrom do Police. The reasons behind it are quite similar: high rent—more understandable given its prime location—and the need of likely expensive renovations that nobody was willing to pay.

At first I felt that the boozer by the prison was the greater loss, as there aren't that many pubs in that neighbourhood, let alone pubs I would like to visit, while Vinohrady seems to be bursting with them. But then I remembered how I felt when almost a year ago I was informed that Kaaba Lucemburská was closing, and I realised that for the štamgasty of Hrom do Police it doesn't really matter how many pubs they have walking distance from their homes or jobs, nor it matters how good those pubs may or may not be, it just won't be the same. They probably won't have a place were are be in “ahoj” terms with the staff, where they can walk in any day knowing they'll find someone to talk to (which in a way is better than having arranged meeting someone). It made me feel a little sad and in the end I did go to Hrom do Police for a couple of farewell pints, even if I didn't have that much time; the place deserved it.

I went there on Thursday before catching the train to Pilsen. I sat at the bar and a short exchange about the news I overhead between a regular and a waiter reaffirmed my belief pubs are far more important than beer (even, to some extent, than the beers they have). Yeah, having a cellar, fridge or cupboard full of beers for every possible occasion, posting their photos and their tasting notes on the internet might be fun, but, as far as I'm concerned, none of that can come even close to being in a place that's neither home nor work with other people (even if they are complete strangers), where beer is more an excuse than a purpose.

Na Zdraví!

9 comments:

  1. Very Sad. Heard Adverse Reports on Praha 4, Ruling. Cannot Comment. Not Enough Knowledge. Hrom Do Police, was on My to do List. Guess Not to Be. Agree, Bars. All about People. Last Week was in Klosterni Pivinice. Ano, change of Name. Though Still Welcoming. You See the Same People. Sometimes in the Same Seats!. Though they Make the Bar. Always have Long Conversations There. Plus Good Pivo.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The MČ Praha 4 is as far from good as it can possibly be, but the problem here seems to be another. A private owner would be willing to negotiate knowing that they aren't likely to get that much money for a place in that location, but the people working for that town hall don't give a fuck one way or another whether that place remains empty or not.

      Delete
  2. Klasterni, that is. There Before Sparta Hokej.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Sad News! Hrom do Police was one of my first favourites in Praha. Last year I had planned to visit U Klokočnika, but 4 days were not enough. And, now it's to late.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Kácov is fairly available in Prague, there's this pub around the corner from Nota Bene that has it very cheap and in good condition, and there's another one not far from there, too. Further, they've opened one in Zaběhlice that I'm planning to visit this week for research purposes.

      Polička, on the other hand, has a pub in Malá Strana, Kampárium, that looks pretty neat.

      Regardless, those two pubs are indeed a loss.

      Delete
    2. Loads of Policka pubs in Brno, Max, you need to get over there and check it out. How about a chapter on Moravia in your next book?

      Delete
  4. That's a great pity. Two pubs selling excellent "non-craft" beers -- Kacov and Policka, which aren't widely available in Prague.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I know, it's something I've got in the works, but it will take time.

      Delete
  5. It's a shame about Hrom do Police. Ever since I moved to Prague over 10 years ago it always seemed to be there. It was probably the place that instigated my love for small breweries and unfiltered beer. The servers were always nice, even to a foreigner who hardly knew a word of Czech at the beginning. Where will I find good chili tagliatelle now and the delicious Policka dark? It's a shame that all good things come to an end. I guess all we can do is enjoy what's left and what's coming.

    ReplyDelete