Beer Culture

Stories about great beer from the countries that invented it.

Bohemia Regent Beer at Prague’s Art-Café u Irmy

Ron Pattinson has written about U rotundy, one of his favorite rough pubs. It might have its charms, but for me there are two good reasons not to pick U rotundy: one, they serve Staropramen, which you could get just about anywhere else in Prague if you wanted it. And more importantly: just two doors down the very same street is Art-Café u Irmy, which you might call a “rough café.” In addition to great inexpensive Georgian food — as in the country, not the American state, nor the historical era — u Irmy is one of the few places in town where you can get draft Bohemia Regent.

Many thanks to reader James for the tip, as well as pointing out the café’s excellent atmosphere, like a wacky house party where all the characters come from different corners of the old soviet sphere of influence. The food, as well, is an eastern treat: great dolmas, outstanding lobio (Georgian red beans with red onions, pomegranate seeds and coriander), borscht, chačapuri (cheese bread), čachochbili (chicken and red-pepper stew), sacivi (walnut sauce) and chinkali (beef dumplings). How could U rotundy possibly compete with that?

And then there is the beer.

Once widely considered the second-best mass producer of beer in Bohemia (after Pilsner Urquell), Regent has virtually disappeared from taps in Prague. And yet its dark lager remains one of the country’s best, certainly when in good condition. My half-liters (40 Kč) were at the very top of their game, in excellent shape, rich and coffee-like with the bitter notes perfectly balanced by the sweetness of the malt, or at least that’s how I described it in my review of U Irmy in Lidové noviny two weekends ago.

I love rough pubs. But I think I like rough cafés even better, especially when they serve great beer, great cheap food and have convivial, Borat-esque atmosphere. In fact, just across from U Irmy is Duende, which serves Bernard, another one of the country’s great smaller brewers — and many times better, for most beer lovers, than the ubiquitous Staropramen.

If you want two great stops for great beer and a fun scene in the heart of the touristic center, you know where to go on Karolíny Světlé.

Art Café u Irmy
Karolíny Světlé 19
Praha 1-Staré Město
Tel.: 775 565 868


Berentsens Sorte Får Stout


The Eschenbräu Brewpub in Berlin


  1. I’ve been wanting to go into that place for some time now, but every time I showed up at the door, it seemed to be closed. Nice to see it’s open, and a good option to visit in the centre

  2. Sounds great. I’ve had that cheese bread in a Georgian restaurant somewhere. Riga, maybe?

    Regent might be rare on tap in Prague, but they’re exporting shedloads of the stuff to the UK in bottles where it’s turning up in all kinds of grubby little corner shops next to the Tennents Super.

  3. Clearly a must visit for us in Prague, since my girlfriend isn’t much for normal Eastern European cooking, but absolutely loves Georgian cuisine. And I have to say I quite like it myself. So together with the other attractions that takes this high up the list of places to go for us.

    By the way, chačapuri must be the Czech spelling. In English I guess khachapuri would be the norm.

  4. This place is just opposite where Mrs Velkyal buys her materials for dress-making and the like – finally somewhere to while away the hours! ;)

  5. Gunnar

    This one goes onto my “todo” list for my next Prague visit. :-) , U rutundy not ;-)

    If my memory dont play games with me, I seem to remember a restaurant on the other side of the street, which served the excellent Rohozec. Their awardwinning polotmavý Skalák are maybe found there?

  6. Ian

    Sounds like a nice enough place, i noticed it a few weeks ago, but the prices put me off, 40kc for a Regent, thats madness. Its 19kc in Zizkov.

  7. Ian, I like the way you think. Do you mean U Pizducha? There’s a picture of that pub in GBGPrague when it still had Regent 10° priced at 16.50 Kc. Only up two and half crowns in two years, not bad.

  8. Ian

    Pizducha just changed to Breznak, they have svijany also, both for 19kc:)
    Venda steak bar on Jana Zelivskeho has it and i think its cerny. Also at Irish pub for 23kc, but they tap it pretty badly there i reckon. I still remember a trip to Trebon, fresh from the brewery for 12kc, ah the old days.

  9. What a great blog, Evan. I bought your book as soon as it came out and have found it to be excellent. Bohemia Regent is one of my favourite Czech 12 degree ‘blonde beers’. It was much better though in the 90s and has lost some of its character (as has Budvar and to a greater extent, Pilsner Urquell and Gambrinus). You’re right distribution used to be far more extensive. As it became rarer and rarer, every time my friends and I returned to Jindrichuv Hradec for a visit we always went to the pub that served it to see if it was still on, as it wasn’t advertised outside. Imagine our horror, one year, when there was a Staropramen sign outside! (But it was still on and in excellent form and the Staro sign — and, presumably, the beer — soon went). I recall being told by someone in the know that the reason that Regent lost its extensive distribution (which the very large brewery could easily support) was because someone was persuaded to sub-contract the distribution to Pilsner Urquell . . . You may easily imagine what then happened . . . Aside from that, PU, has many ‘goodies’ e.g. umbrellas to give in return for bars and restaurants signing up which other breweries can’t afford to match. In its home region, Krakonos seems to be one of the few local breweries which is still holding up against the PU / Gambac invasion which has steadily spread to the four corners of the Czech Lands, alas.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress & Theme by Anders Norén