What’s your local called? Some Czech pubs are named for the statues at their entrances, such as U Zlatého Tygra. Others got their names from the current owners or, in the case of U Pinkasů, where the first Pilsner Urquell was purportedly poured in 1843, from the original owners.
A few pub names are a little more inventive, and when translated into English sounds shocking or even comical.
At the Shot Out Eye
U vystřelenýho oka is something of an institution. But whose eye was shot out exactly? It’s a reference to the Hussite War.
At the Weak Will
Not far from the river at 21 Revoluční is U slabé vůle. Meaning “At the weak will”, the owner told me he called it this because everyone has one – a weak will that is.
The pub renowned for its range of brews, Zlý časy at 5 Čestmírová Prague 4, could be translated as Evil Times. In fact the owner said the pub is named after the E.L Doctorow novel Welcome to Hard Times.
The Laughing Hare
Found close to the Old Town Square, Vysmátý zajíc at 13 Michaelská is named after the owner whose surname was Zajíc (hare).But why the Laughing Hare? According to its website, the pub was renamed in reaction to the outcome of the Battle of White Mountain.
Thunder into the Shelf
The humor in Hrom do police at 40 Moravská in Prague 2 is a pun. Literally it means “Thunder into the shelf” but a member of staff said the name refers to the beer they serve, which comes from Polička. But why is the town is called “Little Shelf”? According to the town’s website, the word “polička” had the same meaning as flatland.
At the Little Corpse
U mrtvolky in Vlašské meziřící has the delectable translation of “At the little corpse”. The operator of the pub, Petr Zahradníček, explained the name’s origin. “It is derived in part from the presence a hundred meters away of the pathology department and in part from the wait staff, which at that time worked at a pace worthy of that name.”
At the Hairy Ghost
U chlupatýho ducha at 6 Konvitská in Prague 1 was on the other hand named for a legend. According to the website, the hairy spirit ofthe pub’s name was spotted on the street. Those who saw the spirit had bad luck after.
The Poisonous Hut
The name Jedová chýše – Poisonous Hut – refers to two establishments. The current one is located at 17 Vodičkova Street. A person from the pub said they planned to change the name. The first Jedová chýše was beside the Church of St. Apollinaire in Prague 2. There a couple of theories. King Wenceslas IV had arsenic mixed into the wine of two men who had been hired to kill him in Vienna. Another theory is that because the pub was located in the medical quarter it was frequented by students who worked with poisons.
At the Female Criminal
Apparently in the first republic, the woman who ran this pub in Havličkův Brod would cheat the customers. Her behavior became well-known and even under communism the name U zlodějky – At the female criminal – was used for the establishment, so it became the official name.
At the Murderer
A more sinister criminal is remembered in the name U vraha in Kladno. Václav Mrázek, the serial murder who gave the pub its name, once lived in the building. The pub was originally called Restaurace 9. května, but people in the town knew the building for its former tenant.
At the Tough Guys
U drsnejch at 8 Mukařavského in Prague 13 means “At the tough guys”. According to the barman the name was simply a joke.
At the Dry Gums
The name of U suché dásně (At the dry gums) at 11 Trojická in Prague 2 similarly has no deep meaning. The barman said it was simply the name that was thought up when they opened.
At the Stupid Ones
U blbejch was a pub at 6 Hroznová in Prague 1. Since it no longer exists, I couldn’t ask why “At the stupid ones” was chosen. I hazard a guess that it may have been the same sense of humor which motivated some of the other pub names.
Ass Club/In the Ass
Unsurprisingly, there is a Prague club called Prdel (ass) and a pub in Nymburk called V Prdeli. But no one would own up to those name choices. I guess someone was bound to look backwards for inspiration!
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Have you come across any pubs with interesting names?