Prague’s newest pub actually hearkens back to an older era—and not in a brass-railed-bar, pretentious-gastro-pub way (although did we mention it’s also an art exhibit?).
Hospoda u Hada (The Snake Pub) was created by Studio MAK! architects in association with Viper gallery as a response to “the gradual change of urban districts such as Karlín, marked largely by the disappearance of traditional pubs and taverns.”
Among those recently shuttered neighborhood pubs, Pivnice U Fandy, which closed earlier this year due to renovations on the Negrelli viaduct, a project that is part of a larger plan to provide a direct rail connection between the city and the airport.
But the Snake Pub is something else entirely. Occupying a space that normally houses exhibitions on the intersection of architecture with contemporary urbanism, art, and design, it’s a living, breathing reflection on the ways in which society shapes cityscapes and vice versa.
Past exhibits at Viper have taken a look at the average Czech family home of the 1980s and 90s as well as the phenomenon of the Šumperáky, kitschy DIY homes that flooded Czechoslovakia in the 1960s.
The latest exhibit sees the entire gallery completely transformed into a traditional Czech pub, the kind, says curator Barbora Špičáková, that is a dying breed in Karlín and elsewhere in Prague.
“To meet at, and sit in the pub has for centuries formed a key part of Czech life and represents a notable social phenomenon…the locations where one goes to talk and voice opinions or merely listen have started to differentiate themselves strikingly, on the basis of price, generation or social standing,” she says.
Špičáková adds that, in such an environment, it has become difficult for a traditional pub with affordably-priced beer to survive.
The temporary corner pub at the end of Vítkova street will be open every day from 5 PM till 10 PM through October, serving up cheap beer (25 CZK for a pint of Gambrinus), hermelín, and homemade almond brandy, as well as displaying black-and-white images of Czech pub culture taken by Libuše Jarcovjáková, an underground photographer known as the Czech Nan Goldin.
A number of other artifacts and vintage ads from the Karlín area adorn the walls; foosball tables, dart boards, and spontaneous guitar singalongs add to the Czech-pub-of-yesteryear vibe.
Live performances, readings, and workshops are scheduled at The Snake through the end of the month.
Details and full program here.