Every time I find that my travel budget has gone awry I don’t have to look much further than my stack of food and snacking receipts – and yes, I am counting drinks here since eating and drinking generally go hand in hand.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t indulge in some local cuisine – local food and drinks are huge parts exploring local culture – but I might suggest going somewhere properly local instead of somewhere set up for tourists or food you could get cheaper and still indulge your non-local food needs.
We accidentally spent a whole day bouncing around checking out the food and drinking scene – well, as much as you can dragging two teenagers (and their parents) around with you. I say accidentally because our plans for the day were short, not well thought out, and then kept falling through. We started at the Mucha Museum – it was fun but for the price, I don’t recommend it for people who aren’t already fans – and then went to the Jewish Cemetary but none of the tickets options suited us and were more expensive than our group was willing to put in.
For lunch, I broke my own rule, but in the end, it was well worth it. We had a few people who, for all their want of travel, could not handle eating out of their comfort zone; hence, we were on the hunt for a good burger joint.
We ended up at Sad Man’s Tongue Bar and Bistro in Old Town. This is an Ex-pat (the UK kind rather than the US), dressed in a hipster-retro vibe – it’s all pinups and the rockabilly sentimentality, rather than your usual US soda shop aesthetic you see in American counterparts. The burgers, fries, and every drink we ordered were fantastic. Just be aware that when they warn you about a large or messy burger, they mean it! For what I’d prefer to pay for lunch, this was expensive, but it was really reasonable for what we ordered.
On top of the aesthetic and food, we love this place because of the service and the awesome manager. Everyone was lovely but at the end of the meal Ryan (just being Ryan) struck up a conversation with what ended up being the manager – he really wanted to know what inspired the theme (we’d been discussing their accents and wondered if it was a big ex-pat crowd working and as customers). Turns out that most people working here are ex-pats but they get a huge mix of customers.
The conversation ended up leading to drinks on the house and the manager writing us a list of cool bars to check out. Some of these were just cool local hangouts, where others had more tourist draw but he said they were well worth it.
In the end, we ended up at two of his suggestions (and I am sad to say I misplaced this list between then and now).
First up was Hany, Bany. Upon entering and first interaction, we were a little underwhelmed. This is definitely a locals place on a small street, and we were obviously not from around here. The bartender was a little terse, at least by American standards but the longer we sat, the better I felt about it.
The owner of this pub is a huge fan of Pulp Fiction, so posters and memorabilia are everywhere – this is the reason it ended up on our list. But the best part of this pub is that everything is cheap! We were only here for a drink and an easy afternoon, but we could have happily hit here multiple times to eat based on the smell of pub food and prices. I had a grog and it was a little different than I’d expected but I really enjoyed it. I think Hany, Bany is were Ryan convinced me that trying Grogs whenever they are on the menu should become our own personal tradition.
And then on the far end of the spectrum is the Joystick Arcade Bar. This one was a little bit harder to find (its entrance is inside a small shopping center) and going down the stairs made us a little apprehensive. But then you open the door!
Along one wall is a mural of classic videogame characters and then walls of videogames and pinball machines. You will need cash – you can exchange for coins at the bar – but it’s all really cheap. I didn’t get a drink here (our first two stops were enough for me) but Ryan and I loved playing Dance Revolution with the teenagers in the group. Ryan is far too good at this game, for anyone who is interested.
To keep things under control, you should definitely take out any cash you want to spend and you are cut off as soon as you run out!
Will I visit these bars when I head back to Prague this summer? Maybe. Even so, I will definitely be mentioning them as real possibilities.
This is Leave on the Wind, helping you soar.