25 Jan 2016

The Tram Beer Challenge (2): I.P. Pavlova - Újezd - Chotkový Sady


There's a tram at the stop (I.P. Pavlova, in case you missed the first instalment). I could catch it, but I'm no Bruce Springsteen—I wasn't born to run. And there's no need, anyway; any tram would do.

It doesn't take long for one to come, the 22 to the centre. I'm trying to figure out where I'll have to get off, but I can't quite remember whether there is a stop between Karlovo nám. and Národní tř. There is. Újezd is my destination, then. I know where I'll drink my next beer.

Kampárium was one of the new places I wanted to check out for the 2nd edition of the Pisshead's Pub Guide. I didn't make it in the end; I'm not sure why—laziness, probably. Good to have an excuse to see what this pub is like, and drink some Polička in the process.

Other than the staff, it's empty. Both servers greet me with a wide smile when they see me coming in and going down the stairs, as if they were happy to finally see someone who will take them out of their boredom.

There aren't any seats at the bar. You can sit on stools by the wall opposite, but those tiny semi-circular shelves (they can't be called tables) between them look awfully uncomfortable. I take the table nearest to the bar, and order Hradební Tmavé. I haven't drunk that beer since Kaaba closed almost two years ago, I'm glad it's on tap here. The waiter doesn't look very happy I'm not ordering food, though.

The beer takes long to arrive and the wait is not worth it. Its distinctively stale character could have been appreciated by a Porter drinker in 18th century London, but I'm a (mostly) Lager drinker in 21st century Prague. I should probably return it, but I can't be bothered; it is no worse shape than the Gambrinus I had earlier at Na Břežance. I'll bury my face in my book and will try not to pay too much attention. (To give them credit, though, the glass has been very well washed and rinsed).

I'm tempted to order the 15° from Dobruška that's also on tap, but I decide against it. Not only I fear it will have a thicker Flemish accent than the one I'm finishing, but because I don't want to stay here any longer. This place is as boring as the music they play, and as mildly irritating as the fake flowers decorating the ceiling. (Really, who decorates the vaulted, bare-brick ceiling of a cellar with fake lotuses? What do they want to convey with that? That the owner is a slightly overweight, loud woman in her fifties who wears golden rings on all her chubby fingers and has a silly hairdo?). I pay and leave, feeling better for not having bothered with Kampárium during the fieldwork for my book.

Újezd is a bit crap. It's three ways, and all the stops are far a part, there's also poor visibility. I'm lucky, though, before I can figure out a vantage point, a 12 comes from Smíchov. I break into a trot, I don't want to miss this one.

The route of the 12 was changed a couple of years ago, I think. Which is good, otherwise I would have to get off at Čechův Most, and that stop is rubbish. Now, I must get off at Chotkový Sady, which is actually not that much better.

If the weather was nicer—like sit-under-a-tree-sipping-beer-from-a-plastic-cup nice—I would venture into Letná, even if it meant bending the rules, but it isn't and I will have to make do with what I have at hand: an Italian restaurant whose name I can't remember or Café Pointa. I pick the latter only on the merit of being closer.

Fancy looking place this one is; almost as fancy as the patrons--who I bet earn in average significantly more than me. To make it more clear that I'm not the audience of this establishment, I'm the only one with a beer, but that's not what bothers me, really (honestly, I'm 44 and all my shots of notgivingashitasil are up-to-date). It takes me a little to figure it out: the tables are way too close to each other, preventing any sense of intimacy. I can hear very clearly every single word of the conversation at the table next to mine, and they aren't speaking loudly. A woman is talking about all the people she knows at some Municipal Authority. I know I shouldn't be listening to that, but it's impossible not to.

I don't stay here for a second pint, either. The beer, Pilsner Urquell, tastes all right, but I feel my time will be better spent drinking elsewhere, even if I still don't know where.

Kampárium
50°4'54.523"N, 14°24'20.932"E
Říční 9 – Praha-Malá Strana
+420 730 629 299 – kamparium@kamparium.cz
Mon-Sat: 10:30-23, Sun: 11-22

Cafe Pointa
50°5'48.688"N, 14°24'27.105"E
Na valech 2 – Praha-Hradčany
+420 233 321 289 - info@cafepointa.cz
Mon-Fri: 9-22, Sat-Sun: 9-21:30

1 comment:

  1. I used to work at a language school just round the corner from Kamparium, on Vsehrdova. Used to drink from time to time in Tlusta Mys - not a great choice of beer, but it was a reassonable enough place for a pint of Kozel.

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