It may seem odd to some people that one of the most well-known breweries in the world on produces and serves one beer, and a dark one at that. But such is the case with Pivovar U Fleku, a brewery and restaurant in the middle of Prague that has been continuously running since 1499. Ranked #3 on All About Beer’s 125 Places to Have a Beer Before You Die list (and the first brewery listed), U Fleku is a pilgrimage spot for any serious fan of beer.
When we decided we were going to Prague, U Fleku was the first thing that popped into my mind. We immediately made a reservation, which is recommended—I don’t know what other nights are like, but it was packed the night we were there; possibly because it was a springtime and a little too cool to sit outside at night. Altogether, the place can seat almost 1,200 people.
After we were seated, it quickly became apparent how things were done—a slip of paper is put on your table, and servers come along with huge trays of beer glasses. If you want one, you let them know and they mark it on your slip. If not, they pass you up and deliver the beer elsewhere. Since the dark lager (which only clocks in at 5% ABV) is the only beer, it’s a pretty efficient system. The same works for other drinks—when we were there, they came around with two different shots, one of mead and one of Becherovka (a very herbaceous Czech liquer). We only had one shot of the Becherovka, but had a few meads mixed in with our beer.
While most of the seating is family-style at long wooden tables, we were lucky enough to sit at our own table, which gave us plenty of room to spread out our food. Unfortunately, while the beer was delicious, the food was just okay. The idea of it was great, especially since U Fleku serves a lot of traditional food that is worth trying if you’ve never had experience with it, but the predominance of bready dumplings overshadows most other things.
Wanting the widest variety of traditional food, I ordered the “Fleck’s Treat,” which is a quarter of a roast duck, roast pork, sausage, red and white cabbage, bread dumplings, and potato dumplings. LeeAnne ordered the half roast duck meal, which was accompanied by bread dumplings, potato dumplings, and speck dumplings. Definitely not light meals. LeeAnne tried, though, as she always craves some kind of healthy touch to her meals. She also ordered the mixed salad, which was tomatoes, cucumber, bell pepper, and about a pound of Balkan cheese on top. Apparently in Eastern Europe, it counts as a salad if the animal ate a plant at some point in its life.
Despite the standard food, the beer was top notch and the experience was second-to-none. I started as a beer writer, and having heard about this place for so many years made finally getting there all the more special. But even if you’re not necessarily a beer person, if you’re swinging through Prague, U Fleku is a must-go kind of spot. The prices are a little higher than some other traditional places in the city, but the time you’ll have will make it worthwhile.