The fate of Šlechtova restaurant has long been of interest to Prague history buffs and local gastronomes alike. Now those hungry for news on the reconstruction of the former Baroque hunting lodge in Stromovka Park at long last have something to chew on.
Vinohradský Pivovar has been chosen by the municipality not only to serve up its signature Czech cuisine and locally brewed beer but enliven the venue with cultural events. The popular pub currently hosts a regular lineup of performances at its Korunni street location.
Councilor Hana Třeštíková (Praha Sobě) announced in a press release that the venue should be open (at least its outdoor section) for the summer 2020 season.
“Praguers will be able to enjoy a beer and honest Czech cuisine from the Vinohrady brewery. This 300-year-old restaurant deserves an operator who will support the atmosphere and spirit of the restaurant. That is why we considered a number of smaller breweries that are tied to Prague and can prepare beer, lemonade, and food, that can be enjoyed during a walk in Stromovka, for a reasonable price,” she said.
Originally an early Baroque hunting lodge built in 1689-1692, a cafe opened in the lower house in 1882; in 1885 it was rebuilt in Neo-Gothic style. In 1882 Václav Steinitzsi converted it to a restaurant bearing the name Šlechta (“nobility” in Czech) which served customers throughout the Second World War.
Following nationalization, the building fell into disrepair for nearly half a century, plagued by fires in the 1970s and 80s and, in 2002, flooding. It is a registered cultural monument and has long been considered one of Prague’s most endangered buildings.
The brewery itself also has a unique history. Founded in 1893, when Královské Vinohrady was not yet a part of Prague but one of the largest Czech cities, the brewery served its first beer the following year. Unfortunately, the brewery’s glory was short-lived. During the war, production ceased, the brewery was nationalized, and beer wouldn’t be produced again until 2014.
The original date for the completion of the repairs to the restaurant was this April. Representatives now say work on the building should be completed by December 31st of this year. The city will pay 120 million crowns for the reconstruction.
Stromovka park and the adjacent Výstaviště exhibitions grounds have seen a lot of renovations in recent years, with more improvements and changes scheduled to come.