Dive Bars: Karlín-Žižkov’s Dodgiest Pub Crawl

What do you get when you take 5 Brits, 1 German-Singaporean and a bunch of random bars?

After the partial success of my previous article, Are These Europe’s Weirdest Toilets? I was (shockingly) given another opportunity to show off my literary skills – this time covering some surprisingly good, some fascinatingly bad, and some just really, really ugly lesser-known Prague pubs. As with the previous article, my aim was to show off some Prague drinking holes that you won’t find in any Lonely Planet or EasyJet in-flight magazine and came with a set series of bars. But once beer and surprising snippets of knowledge came into play, the evening’s pub crawl with some of my best mates became much more organic, as you’ll soon discover…

The Meet Up : Florenc Metro

Dive Bars: Karlín-Žižkov’s Dodgiest Pub Crawl



To start off the classy evening I had planned, I chose a suitably classy meet-up spot, outside Billa at Florenc Metro station. I’d like to introduce to you the group who will be your escorts through the bars for the evening. I could now give you fake names for them to protect their identity, but that wouldn’t be fun, so without further ado, from left to right above, we have: Our Graham (from Liverpool), JP Rahmann (Hamburg/Singapore), City John (Warrington, Cheshire), myself (Tunbridge wells, Kent) and last but not least Craig (Wrexham, North Wales). There, now that’s dealt with, let’s move on to the bars…

Pivnice U Fandy, Prvního pluku 207/1

Dive Bars: Karlín-Žižkov’s Dodgiest Pub Crawl

With overall group trepidation we headed towards our first venue. Tucked away under the bridge near to Florenc bus station lies this beautiful little gem of a pub. I would imagine many people reading this might have even spotted it and steered clear, and you’d probably be right for doing so, but we headed straight into the belly of the beast and kicked off the evening. 

Dive Bars: Karlín-Žižkov’s Dodgiest Pub Crawl

With the prices of the 3 standards of drink at liver-ruining prices, all seemed pretty good on the outside. How can something so wrong be so, so right? Always judge a pub or bar by its windows and these smoky, glazed panels make sure you don’t get to see the delights inside before you take the plunge and step in.

Dive Bars: Karlín-Žižkov’s Dodgiest Pub Crawl

On entering the bar you only then realise the true size of the place. What you thought was going to be a very small pokey, smoky hole of a pub actually turns out to be, well, a big pokey, smoky hole of a pub… Pleasantly surprised.

Dive Bars: Karlín-Žižkov’s Dodgiest Pub Crawl

First round in! Fresh beers, great prices (26 CZK a pop), teak tables to go with the teak wall paneling, what’s not to love about this place? Oh, and a lovely fireplace (in the background of this picture) to boot.

Dive Bars: Karlín-Žižkov’s Dodgiest Pub Crawl

The vast expanse of the pub is clear in the above picture. It even has a plasma screen TV, and of course, more wood paneling. It was sadly time to move on…

Rapid Bar 65, Křížíkova 33

Dive Bars: Karlín-Žižkov’s Dodgiest Pub Crawl

As Craig beautifully demonstrates, next was this Karlín Herna. Previously known as Herna U kapitána, this fell into the crawl merely by local convenience. On a normal evening out we would have sidestepped this, but as the theme of the evening dictated, no bar was too rough, too shabby or too crap for our group of pioneers. 

Dive Bars: Karlín-Žižkov’s Dodgiest Pub Crawl

Heading in to use their facilities I discover the best-ever urinal flush button (we should all have a favourite). The yellow arrows greatly assisting the inebriated patrons to make sure they press the big green button and flush appropriately.  

Dive Bars: Karlín-Žižkov’s Dodgiest Pub Crawl

Poorly wired dangerous lighting – TICK! Scary child’s painting – TICK! Broken electronic dart board – TICK! Chunks of ceiling missing – TICK! Pure class.

Dive Bars: Karlín-Žižkov’s Dodgiest Pub Crawl

Framed ship scenes paintings, originals I’m sure. 

Dive Bars: Karlín-Žižkov’s Dodgiest Pub Crawl

Before long the bar locals discovered this adventurous group of foreigners in the back room and it’s at this point that I’d like to introduce you to Petr. As he started to demonstrate his singing abilities, we were then asked by the barman to not join in with him as it makes him sing louder. We obliged and moved onto the next bar. Overall though good beer, wallet pleasing prices and amazing toilet interior.

Restaurace a Sportbar U Zábranských, Křižíkova 330/89

Dive Bars: Karlín-Žižkov’s Dodgiest Pub Crawl

This humble sports bar just across the road from the old Expats.cz office didn’t look too impressive from the outside but JP was clearly in awe of this Křižíkova Sports Bar once he stepped inside. With a giant projector screen taking centre stage, other supporting smaller screens and a decent handful of foosball tables this has possible future football watching potential for the upcoming English Premier season… TV channels available permitting of course. With a decent food menu and ample seating space, we SHALL be returning. 

Dive Bars: Karlín-Žižkov’s Dodgiest Pub Crawl

I mean, just look at our clearly very happy faces, if you can make out Craig in the background. Although he joined us late back at U Fandy, only now can you see the sixth musketeer (Krusovice?) to join the group. Tim, second from left, is smiling on the inside in this photo, he really is. Maybe it’s due to the fact that the rest of us are about two beers ahead of him that we are appreciating the evening that much more.

Bajkazyl Žižkov, Tachovské náměstí 3

Dive Bars: Karlín-Žižkov’s Dodgiest Pub Crawl

After heading through the Karlín Tunnel we emerge thirsty and looking for our next conquest. Now, Planet Žižkov, although a great bar, is nowhere near as odd, quirky or rubbish for this stage of the evening, so we head next door to this bar-come-bike shed. This article is not for me to give the Wiki lowdown on the bar, I’ll preserve the mystery for when you hopefully follow in these pilgrim’s footsteps to go to see for yourself and find out more. All I could tell was that they repaired bikes/stored bikes/sold bikes (delete where correctly appropriate).

Dive Bars: Karlín-Žižkov’s Dodgiest Pub Crawl

Bike wheels lined up on the ceiling waiting to be picked up or sold. We decided to pass on any late night two-wheeled purchases.

Dive Bars: Karlín-Žižkov’s Dodgiest Pub Crawl

A decent selection of beers available to be served by a lookalike of the taxi driver in the Chili Peppers By The Way video (see https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JnfyjwChuNU for reference). With all this said, City John, still not happy. What more can this evening give?

Dive Bars: Karlín-Žižkov’s Dodgiest Pub Crawl

Before leaving this bar I decided to don a construction hat and point to an armless male mannequin, it just seemed like the right thing to do.

Dive Bars: Karlín-Žižkov’s Dodgiest Pub Crawl

Outside the bar were front doors masquerading as tables covered in life advice, but I fear it was too late for this at this stage.

U Slovanské lípy, Koněvova 288/1

Dive Bars: Karlín-Žižkov’s Dodgiest Pub Crawl

Smack bang across the tunnel entrance from Bajkazyl is this beer aficionados haunt. If you’re looking for a no-frills pub round this area, and of course flock wallpaper and not a single square metre of wall space not encroached by a framed picture, then this is your place.

Dive Bars: Karlín-Žižkov’s Dodgiest Pub Crawl

As if to prove that noone had dropped out by this late point of the evening, here’s another smiley group photo. Please remember Tim’s inner smiling from earlier.

Bar Bazar, Husitská 55

Dive Bars: Karlín-Žižkov’s Dodgiest Pub Crawl

You know how it is, you’re in a late night bar, half way through your Gambrinus, and then you suddenly remember you don’t have a kettle to boil water for your tea in the morning. That’s ok, you’re in Bar Bazar. It’s a bazar and a bar at the same time, as you’d probably guessed. Problem solved. Sadly this was closing up by the time we arrived, which could have been around the midnight mark, times may vary.

Dive Bars: Karlín-Žižkov’s Dodgiest Pub Crawl

As you walk in, this is the site that greets you to your right. Impressive, non?

Dive Bars: Karlín-Žižkov’s Dodgiest Pub Crawl

Just look how pleased he was to tell us that he can’t serve us. I did notice though the shocking lack of electronic appliances behind a bar that has more electronics than Tottenham Court Road within its premises.

Tiki Taki Bar, Cimburkova 231/22

Dive Bars: Karlín-Žižkov’s Dodgiest Pub Crawl

The final stop of the night, a cocktail bar, naturally. There should probably be more photos but this was our last stop and at this point I decided enough was enough and the remainder of the evening could be excused from being reported… 

There have been a few notable bars which couldn’t possibly be managed by mere mortals in one evening, but these may well be featured in a sequel to this. Still to be explored is the První Pivní Tramway bar in Sporilov, the train station bar in Dejvice and the bar in Kampa with the David Černý bar top. I just need to give my liver and head 2 months to recover.

**

Want to follow in our humble footsteps? See the map below showing our evening’s adventure.


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