Our Top 10 Pubs in Brno for 2018

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It’s that time of year again where we provide an insight in to our favourite pubs in Brno right now. Every year we try to an include as many fresh entries as possible based on a mix of atmosphere, beer, snacks and service. And while we have many new additions to our list here, three ever-presents remain as they are our favourites, our locals, our second homes. And as you will see, not many are in the city centre – we like to get out.

So, before you sit down with a beer to enjoy the following, remember that these are only our suggestions for this 2018. There are many more excellent pubs in this wonderful city, so use your noggin and go and find them…

U Čolka
(Tábor 879/3, 616 00 Brno-Žabovřesky)

U Čolka used to be a regular watering hole at the back end of the 90s before heading over to the Mersey Club. It’s now just an excellent choice for an evening beer. A great selection of both local and national beers, we highly recommend the Sobesice 12, if it’s on tap. As with all great pubs, they serve up  wonderful snacks to go with your ale – all freshly made with the perfect service. The summer garden’s a great place to enjoy a cold one in the sun.

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Google Map of Tábor 879/3, 616 00 Brno-Žabovřesky


U Alberta

(Pellicova 10, 602 00 Brno-střed)

Tucked away just off Pellicova, this justifiably popular pub sits conveniently out of earshot of the Brno bustle. The owners keep things interesting with a progressive attitude towards their beer choice. There’s always an ale and they brew their own stuff too. In the summer it’s a great place to enjoy a cold one and watch the world go by.

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Google Map of Pellicova 10, 602 00 Brno-střed


Kabinet Múz

(Sukova 49/4, Brno-město, 602 00 Brno)

Kabinet Múz is one of the few pubs in the very centre that we go to. One of the reasons is that it is one of the best gig venues in the city. On top of that the bar serves up a couple of of good lagers and it’s also a place where you can buy a good selection of interesting vinyl. Also, if you fancy a bit of vegan food this is the place to be, with a decent set of options from a vegan-only menu. The only thing wrong with the place is that Craggy hasn’t been offered a gig there yet.

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Google Map of Sukova 49/4, Brno-město, 602 00 Brno


Music Lab

(Opletalova 1, 602 00 Brno-střed)

For another city centre pub, we have included Music Lab in the list. Offering three variations of beer from our favourite middle-sized brewery, Polička, it might have got in here on that alone! However, the pub also offers a good venue for smaller gigs, and musicians offer gather here in the atmospheric interior. If you fancy the regular cheesy beer snacks, those are also on offer.

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Google Map of Opletalova 1, 602 00 Brno-střed


Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven

(Jiráskova 251/51, 602 00 Brno-střed-Veveří)

And for one more musical addition to the list this year we have Rock ‘n’ Roll Heaven. Although the name might suggest a ‘Chicago Rock’ type of affair, it is nothing of the sort. Yes, it has some posters of rock icons but the real deal is in the beer, snacks and music that fills the basement pub. With the occasional acoustic show taking place, and an interesting list of beverages, it’s a great place to spend a weekend evening.

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Google Map of Jiráskova 251/51, 602 00 Brno-střed-Veveří


Traubka

(Traubova 1547/8, 602 00 Brno-sever)

Located on a quiet residential street, it would be quite easy to miss Traubka. Somebody once described it to us as “the best underground pub in Brno” and “a cozy den”. We can’t really argue with that much. They have a couple of beers on tap and are always happy to rustle something up in the kitchen should you feel a bit peckish.

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Google Map of Traubova 1547/8, 602 00 Brno-sever


Pivnice Na Šrébráku

(Jugoslávská 599/34, 613 00 Brno-sever)

Back in the day, there were two pubs with a reputation for serving the perfect beer, so Brno beer lovers used to switch between Blahovka and U Zmije. Pivnice Na Šrébráku moved into the building where the original U Zmije used to be and offers the same high quality sherbet with three or four of the Czech Republic’s finest on tap.  A pub full of life, it’s quite often standing room only if you get there late in the evening.

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Google Map of Jugoslávská 599/34, 613 00 Brno-sever


Zastávka

(Úvoz 78, 602 00 Brno-střed)

Here is the first of what we could call our three ‘locals’, and definitely three of the best pubs in the city. Zastavka is the point of contact for the Blansko Klobasa as it is placed somewhere between two of your dedicated writers. This bar serves one of the best pints in Brno, with an ever-changing list of beers. The accompanying beer snacks include the infamous karboš, which are a kind of freshly made open beef burger which get offered around as some mystical point in the evening. All beers and snacks are offered up by some of the best service in the city.

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Google Map of Úvoz 78, 602 00 Brno-střed


U Míče

(Staňkova 15, 602 00 Brno-Královo Pole)

U Míče is where the Blansko Klobasa talks shop – it’s opposite our office and it serves Polička. It’s a popular place with the Brnaci and it’s not difficult to see why. Definitely a pub with an atmosphere, it is best if you can get a seat at the bar and get your hands on the beer snacks before they’re gone.

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Google Map of Staňkova 15, 602 00 Brno-Královo Pole


U Dvou přátel

(Tábor 25, 616 00 Brno-Žabovřesky)
The newly opened sister pub can be found at Dominikánská 23

We love U Dvou přátel (At the Two Friends), and it is an ever-favourite destination of the Blansko Klobasa when we head north of Uvoz. The pub is a welcoming and lively place, and the scene of some great music and excellent beer – they have even ventured into the brewing scene themselves with Brewniverse. Last year saw the opening of a second pub right in the centre (Dominikánská 23), still serving the great snacks but this time with a bigger basement venue for gig nights.

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Google Map of Tábor 25, 616 00 Brno-Žabovřesky

As always, we have a few Honourable mentions. We are aware that we have only covered a tiny area of the Brno pub scene, but some of these have made in to previous lists, or make one in the future. If you want something new and from a small brewery out of town, try Doubravnik not far from the centre. Pomaly Bar is an old favourite of ours and is worth it for the atmosphere alone. If you want something right in the centre go for Zelena Kocka. It attracts the tourists and prices are rising, but the quality and choice is always guaranteed. Further out of town is Paradox, a decent pub with its own small theatre. Lucky Bastard is favoured by some, and it certainly has a great choice of its own beer. Blahovka is a Brno standard – every Brnaci knows this pub. U Sajmona is also a favourite, with a great fresh pint of beer and some of the best pub food you can find.

Brewery of the month – January

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Pivovar Svatý Florian, Loket – T. G. Masaryka 136, 357 33 Loket

Introducing for 2018, our new regular feature – Brewery of the month. As we regularly travel to all corners of the Czech Republic (and further afield), we have decided to focus on one brewery every month of the year for 2018.

First up for this is year the Pivovar Svatý Florian in the magical town of Loket, nestled in an elbow of the Ohře River flowing through the Karlovy Vary region of the Czech Republic. This area previously belonged to the Sudetenland and is as historically significant as it is breathtaking.

The brewery sits atop a bridge which reaches over the river below. Housed in a striking historical building a stones throw from the castle (like everything else in Loket, actually) the brewery is popular with German tour groups but still makes a nice stop for solo travellers or small groups. Decent 11 degree lager and generous portions of food make it a worthwhile stop, especially in a grey and cold January. Tell them we sent you.

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Opa(va)tunity Knocks in Silesia

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17th November is a significant date in Czech history. 1989 spelt the end of 41 years of communism and the start of a new era in Czechoslovakia, as it was back then.

It’s also a state holiday and an opportunity for us to head north to Opava for some Friday afternoon football. We’d learned earlier in the week that the governing body for football in Moravia and Silesia had decided in their wisdom that Blansko’s season would end last Saturday, denying Craggy a final game of the season and the rest of us a chance to meet up with our pals at Slovan Rosice. However, a quick perusal of the fixture list brought up an intriguing game between SFC Opava and Hradec Králové. We also knew that there were a couple of breweries in town, so that was us sold.

Oh and before we forget, we should thank Czech Railways for providing us with free travel, thanks to their points system.

Trips like these require a bit of research and one of our students recommended the castle in Hradec nad Moravici, a 15 minute train journey from Opava. After missing out on the castle in Letovice on our last TBK day out, we were keen to make amends and even though we were on a tight schedule, we knew it would be possible.

7.00 am on a Friday morning, you would expect Brno train station to be fairly quiet… well, think again. The whole of Brno had decided to leave for the day and on our train too. We were not too sure where they were all going, but they had brought enough okurky to feed the entire Czech Republic.

First stop was a favourite train station of ours – Ostrava Svinov, the basis of deciding what makes a good train station is it’s pub and Svinov has two, so what’s not to like. A quick Radegast and we were on the train to Opava, a lovely town on the Czech/Polish border and the historical capital of Czech Silesia. During World War 2, it became an independent city and part of Nazi Germany. For some of the older generation, German is still their first language.

As mentioned above, we like to try and fit some culture and history into every trip, so upon arrival at Opava Východ we hailed a taxi and went to Hradec nad Moravici to see the castle, just to see it as from October to April all castles are closed here. Our Taxi driver raced through the country lanes, he must have felt the urgency of our trip or just wanted to be another Nigel Mansell. A friendly guy, he told us that he used to play football until he was seriously injured in a car crash. At this point we asked him to slow down a bit as with the current situation at FK Blansko, we may be asked to play this season.

At the castle, we were greeted by a bus load of Austrian tourists or given their age, they might have been from Opava. We explored the grounds, took some photos and walked down the hill into the town centre for a late-morning beer. The only place open was the “cultural house” which had been recently converted into a Chinese restaurant and we were the only paying customers. When our beers arrived we knew exactly why we were on our own… the house beer was Staropramen. Friends of the blog will know that we that we rate this beer as one of the worst in the country (possibly only Vyškov ranks lower).

Drinks paid for and to get an idea of our bearings I asked the waitress if she could point us in the direction of the train station, which surprisingly she didn’t know the answer to. It was a bizarre conversation and one which made us question her employment contract. Her Czech was poor and the impression we both had was living and working in Hradec nad Moravici was not her choice.

On the way to the train station we found a much more pleasant drinking den in Pivníce na Staré poště, where the beer was better and full of pub regulars enjoying a midday drink. Radegast 12s downed we continued to the train station where a single carriage train full of Opava fans took us back into town.

We followed the crowds of football fans along the Opava river to the stadium. It struck me as I was walking to the ground how much I miss the stream of scarf wearing supporters walking and talking on their way to the ground. When you follow a smaller team, you see just one of about 50 regulars and very rarely do we meet other supporters on our strolls to various football “arenas”. Oh, and I love floodlights and Opava have four beauties.

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Now, I am writing this in January, so the details of the game are hard to recall, but what I can tell you is the game was five goal thriller and definitely the best game we have seen for a while. Hradec took the lead twice and with 5 minutes remaining, the home team scored twice to take the three points. It was 90 minutes of scintillating football and an added bonus was the club were handing out free beer, well it was a bonus until we became aware that the free beer was in fact Gambrinus. We apologise for becoming pivo snobs, but there are a few breweries that are definitely a “no thanks” and two of them we’ve mentioned in today’s blog.

We followed the sea of yellow and blue back into the centre of Opava bidding them farewell on Pivovarská (Brewery Street) as we had one more item on our tick list before heading back to South Moravia, the microbrewery Nová Sladovna.

On my previous visit, some 11 years ago, the old brewery was still standing, however in 2007 the Ministry of Culture refused its application to become a listed building and it was knocked down and in its place a huge ugly modern shopping centre was built in 2010. The old Opava beer “Zlatovar” is still produced, not in the city, but miles away in Uhersky Brod.

Neither of us are fans of modern shopping centres, but this one was home to Nová Sladovna and with feeling a bit peckish and thirsty, we swallowed our pride and joined city shoppers and a handful of Opava football fans in the pub for a wonderful spicy guláš soup and an equally delightful local beer… you will pleased to read that we refrained from doing our weekly shop.

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Bellies now full, we made one final stop in the centre of the city for photo opportunities. In our humble opinion, Opava has more than enough to keep you occupied for a weekend should you ever find yourself in Silesia.

In the above paragraph, I did say the centre was our final stop, However, I have just reminded myself that we did go for one final beer in Stredoveka Krcma for a pint of the “local” Zlatovar. Both of us drawn to the pub by a man standing outside smoking and drinking wearing a pig’s head… like you do, maybe it’s the fashion in these parts. As he high-fived us on the way in I stopped myself from asking him why he didn’t go the whole hog… I fear it may have been lost in translation.

A great day.

Highlights:

Opava – it’s a lovely town.

The soup and beer at the brewery.

The match (best we’ve seen this season).

Hradec nad Moravici, a castle worth a a few hours of your time.

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Budapest – The Musical

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Many of us have been to Budapest before, it is a stunningly beautiful city famous for its Turkish baths, incredible architecture and my favourite river… At this point I should ask if anybody else has a favourite stretch of water? Friends often laugh when I list off my 5 favourite rivers…Ralph stop…

The purpose of our visit to the Hungarian capital was not to enjoy the baths, but to watch one of Hungary’s most famous football teams while exploring the city in search of good food (klobasa) and of course the local beer.

6.22am and we were off, comfortably positioned in a Czech Railway dining car, where we would stay for the entire 4hr 23mins of the journey south-east. One of the finest (I am keen to avoid using favourite too much) qualities of Czech Railways is the dining car – the service is good and the prices are excellent – highly recommended if you are ever lucky enough to find yourself travelling in the Czech Republic.

Roughly half an hour into the journey and not even in Slovakia we had already ordered our first beer of to go with our equally unhealthy breakfast of ham and eggs. We were also using the time to refresh our knowledge of Hungarian,  very much like the scene in Monty Python with the very same phrasebook. It’s a difficult language to grasp, but we were both determined to refresh our knowledge of the pleasantries.

The train journey from the Czech Republic is one of the nicest is Central Europe, especially when you cross the border into Hungary from Slovakia. While, the Hungarians may be blessed with stunning countryside, they haven’t been so lucky with ticket inspectors, as a couple of young ladies sat behind us in the buffet car found out when the most miserable inspector told them that a mobile phone was not a train ticket (I suppose he’s right there) and charged them an extra 80 euros for not taking the time to read the small print. No matter how much they pleaded with him, he was not going to let them off, unless they promised to give him back Dunajska Streda. I made that last bit up. However, they did leave the train lighter.

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As we approached Budapest Keleti, two things of note happened – First of all, with us keen to settle the bill, we went in search of a buffet car member of staff. It had been a while since we had seen them, but before you call the police, we did find them, all of them, fast asleep in the first class department and I felt awful having to wake them up. Welcome to Ceske Drahy.

The second, and this might give you an insight into life on the road with The Blansko Klobasa, was that Craggy turned to me right as we pulled into Keleti station and said, “maybe, we should turn this trip into a musical”. Now before you laugh, and we’d only had a couple of beers, honest – I thought this was a brilliant idea. Yes, you are all welcome to join us on a trip. We’ll list the bizarre songs that come into our heads later.

At Keleti train station, I made my first mistake of the day by heading over to change some Czech crowns into Hungarian forint. In untypical fashion, I went to the first place I saw.

“Excuse me, could I change some Czech crowns into Hungarian forints, please?”

I handed over the equivalent of about 35 GBP.

The woman behind the counter smiled and took the money and asked a question that took me by surprise.

“How long are you staying in Budapest for?”

Now, I took that as her asking me out on a date, but before we could finalise a night out on the tiles and possibly a life together in the Hungarian capital, I realised that she was encouraging me to change more money, so that she could rip me off a little bit more…The lesson learned here is – don’t change any money at the train station and although they a being extremely friendly, they are not inviting you out for ghoulash.

So, about 5 beers down in commission, we walked out of the terminal and into the bustling centre of Budapest, where we encountered another, and we must final, attempt to get more forint from us. Craggy will have to watch his back while withdrawing money at Budapest cash machines.

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After that final attempt at the cashpoint, we found a cafe happy enough to provide us with our first Hungarian beer of the day, for probably the only time during the trip we were not there for food or alcohol, but to use modern technology called WIFI to locate our hotel, somewhere over the river. Years ago, we’d have picked up a map from tourist information, now we have smartphones to ruin the fun..

“It’s about a 25 minute walk that way” said Craggy, while confidently pointing in the direction of the Danube, my favourite river if I hadn’t mentioned it all. What my travel partner hadn’t mentioned was that the entire journey was uphill.

So across the Chain Bridge we went, and then up and up and up. It was a challenge. While on that journey, we noticed piles of rubbish on the streets, I can’t really explain it, some people were selling junk, some of the residents had left whatever they didn’t need anymore. There was old furniture, pool tables, computers, old televisions, not in organised piles, but it looked like they had just been thrown from the nearest balcony… Could anyone from Budapest tell us why?

We finally got into the hotel Bi&Bi Panzio, and to my relief without needing climbing equipment, about 3 hrs before kick off. Even though it was a bit of a walk from the Keleti station, it was in a great location and we’d also heard wonderful things about the breakfast. It was also close to the metro line and we had a game to get to. Of course, not before we tried a restaurant recommended to us by the incredibly friendly lady at our hotel reception.

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Trombitás Gösserező was a gem, not the kind of place you would perhaps enter from unwelcoming facade, but a paradise of Hungarian cuisine and beer on the inside. The food did not disappoint and with a belly full, we paid and took various modes of transport before arriving at Budapest Honved’s magnificent stadium.

Arriving 30 minutes before the game might be enough time to get a ticket and find your place in the stadium, but not at Honved. Fans patiently queued well into the first half (apart from two annoying Australian tourists), and the only reason I can think of for waiting in silence without complaint was they knew something we didn’t… That Hungarian football would wait until everybody was safely in the stadium before scoring a goal.

We finally secured our tickets in 32nd minute, after providing I.D and speaking more Hungarian than we’d done in any of our previous visits. The only thing we didn’t understand was probably “Don’t worry about the score, we have asked both teams to pass the ball around in the centre circle until all fans are in the ground”, okay maybe the ticket lady didn’t utter those words, but there were still a healthy number of Honved fans queuing without a care in the world – so we knew the action would wait.

The Hondved stadium should be under UNESCO. It’s sadly been ruined by the plastic seats, but the floodlights are just glorious. For anybody who knows me well, they know that floodlights, rivers and Central European train journeys are up there as my most favourite things ever…

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Beers bought, we positioned ourselves behind the goals and as close to the ultras as possible – I still don’t know how MattLostBoyo finds his way in home end, there must be a talent to obtaining those tickets. Matt?

The game was as you would expect, a bit dull with moments of magic from both teams…The first half went by without much action, but that might have been because we missed the first 35 minutes….aaaahhh. Half-time was spent making sure Honved knew who the Blansko Klobasa were by plastering as many stickers as we could in and around the stadium, while trying to take the perfect photo of the floodlights with our crappy smartphones… The football tourist, hey? Can’t live with them … can’t live without them.

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The second half (a full 45 minutes of action) was entertaining. I actually thought Debrecen were the better team for much of the game and had several chances to score with former QPR and Watford midfielder Daniel Tozser pulling the strings in midfield and second half sub Hyun-Jun Suk running intelligently in attack, they probably should have won the game..but what do we know about football with 85 minutes on the clock scored the only goal we have seen in 360 minutes of Hungarian football, Marton Eppel latching on to a through ball from Kabangu. Against the run of play, but for us it didn’t matter, we just wanted a goal.

With Hungarian football not keen to give us much more, Craggy suggested finding some trendy bars in Pest. By this he meant hipster, where beers are served in bicycle repair shops. Admittedly, it was good place to start, but with none of us in possession of a Raleigh Racer we knew we had to leave after our our only beer and headed for more local climates.

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Those “climates” were a local dive where a local man took an instant shine to our Craggy, offering a leather belt and some perfume for something we are still unsure of. While, we were not in need of something to keep our trousers up or a fragrance that may have been to our advantage, we were in need of beer and the more Hungarian the better. With every sip of beer, came more questions from our new friend.”You like the belt, special price for you my friend”. Sometimes it helps to be the ugly one.

With both of us declining the option of a second beer and bidding farewell to our new friends (which included one who had possibly been sleeping in the same position since our previous visit to Budapest), we made our best decision of the night to find as many local pubs on our way back to the hotel, but not before we had popped next door to Kobe Sausage for what can only be described as a few small sausages in a cone, with lots of sauce. As we were trying to get a photo of this very unique snack, two men approached us..

“Mmmm..klobasa? Is it good?”

“Er…we don’t know, it’s difficult to eat” ( and it was)

“Do you want some cocaine?”

“Er..no thank you” we both replied.

“Grass?”

Well, we declined both, but what impressed us most was that he started on a Class A drug and moved down to something less classy.

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A lot of sauce in an awkward bread cone

Beer stops were made, photos were taken until we arrived in one of our final stops of the evening after being waved away from a tiny bar that had been so welcoming the year or so before. With midnight fast approaching we walked into an empty cafe across the river and a km from our home for the night.

“Are you still open?” I enquired

“Well, we would like to close, but you can have a small beer if you promise to drink it in 25 minutes” The barmaid responded.

She had obviously no idea of who we were, or maybe just thought we had already had one too many.

Then something strange happened, the music changed to mixture of late 80s classics and her colleague came in from the cold. Now, they no longer wanted us to leave, they were locking us in and asking us  if we wanted a shot… this all to a Simple Minds soundtrack. We accepted their offer of a palinka, but we weren’t too sure about them locking us in…It was a bit of a turnaround and one we were not expecting. Suspecting they now wanted a bit more than to dance to Tiffany’s “I think we’re alone now”, we downed the shots, thanked them politely for their hospitality and asked them to unlock the door and let us out. It was a very bizarre moment and one that completely took us by surprise.

We tried other bars on the way up to the hill, finding a Croatian pub open to provide us with one final beer and a nightcap. Budapest we love you.

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Our second day started with the most incredible breakfast we’ve had on our travels, service with a smile and a meal that was worth hotel fee on its own. Follow the link to Bi&Bi Panzio here, it’s worth every single forint.

The Sunday was spent in typical Klobasa style, taking in the sights of one of the most beautiful cities in the world, while finding watering holes to quench our thirst.  In our opinion there’s nothing better than seeing the sights of such a spectacular city, while tasting the local beverages and cuisine.

As we were on the Buda side, we made the short walk up to the castle, past the Matthias church, where like every other tourist in Budapest we stopped for photos – before slowly walking down the hill to the Chain Bridge, to the cities second most popular place for selfies. One too many selfie stick for us and we headed straight to our first beer stop. The rest of the day was pretty much the same, sightseeing and Soproni drinking.

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Around 3.00pm we found ourselves, quite by chance, just outside Keleti Train Station and with two hours to kill and feeling a tad peckish, we found another great Hungarian restaurant, Huszár étterem, on one of the side streets.

“Welcome, Welcome to Budapest”

And I suppose , even though we on our way out of Budapest, the people, the food, the palinka, the beer had made it such a great trip that we knew we’d be back for more.

As Craggy so often says when he likes a place…

“I could live here”

Viva Budapest. Viva Soproni. Viva Palinki.

Craggy: and what about the setlist for the musical, I can hear you asking? Well, this is the rather inexplicable, and somewhat embarrassing setlist that we sang all weekend:

Driftwood by Travis (You’re driftwood floating down the Danube. Can also be artistically applied to suit the names of Blansko players flying down the left wing)

Summer Son by Texas (Really painful one, this one)

Don’t You Forget About Me by Simple Minds (sounds even better after about 15 beers)

I Think We’re Alone Now by Tiffany (don’t ask…)

Cocaine Blues by Johnny Cash

Enjoy the Silence by Depeche Mode

Don’t You Want Me by The Human League (Sang by the guy in the bar offering himself to Craggy)

Living on a Prayer by Bon Jovi (Which Craggy was doing)

Freelove on the Freelove Freeway by Ricky Gervais

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Ralph and his favourite river