The first time I came to Prague, I was on a school trip in the mid-nineties. My well-travelled history teacher pointed it out to us and said that it was the best pub in the world.
The second time I came to Prague, I was with a lot of Polish students, and we therefore spent most of the time looking for places where we could get a pint for 15 crowns or less. U Fleku was not on the agenda.
The third time I came to Prague, in 2003, I was with Bailey, and we actually got through the door. We weren’t beer geeks at the time, but it’s in all the tourist books anyway, and I’d remembered what my history teacher said. We took one look at the hundreds of German tourists, the oompah band and the sneery waiters, and fled.
This time, we were determined to give it a go, having read up on it from various beer sources and having consulted our resident Prague experts. We picked Monday during the day to avoid the madness. However, it’s never too early for oh-so-friendly accordion players and waiters bearing trays of Bechorovka. Everyone seemed to know about the “free shots” scam (they’re not free) but that didn’t stop a waiter coming round every five minutes to try again. And they’re bloody persistent, too.
Which is all a big pity, as the beer is absolutely gorgeous, definitely one of my all time favourites. I was reminded of Fuller’s London Porter, with its mix of treacly sweetness and fruity sourness. Lovely, lovely stuff. It’s a shame we could only put up with the awful pushy, sleazy atmosphere for the time it took to drink two rounds.