Arrived in Pilsen, Czech Republic today and my landlady recommended checking out a place that is unique in my experience. They even put “unique” in the name. The “Pub Pilsener Unique Bar”, in the city center on Prešovská Street, features self-service beer taps on every table — removing the middlemen from the equation when it comes to pouring a beer. There appears to be about 15 tables in here and everyone of them is plumbed to a keg of fresh, unpasteurized Pilsener Urquell — Pilsen’s flagship brew.
This is Bohemia … one of the most famous beer regions in the world. I always thought of the bottled Pilsener Urquell available in the USA and other countries as being pretty good … but it pales in comparison to the fresh draft version. This is an outstanding beer! A half-liter (a bit more than a pint) costs 39 Czech Korunas (about $1.95 at current exchange rates).
People are happily serving themselves and each person’s consumption (in liters and fractions thereof) is being registered on a digital display on top of their tap. A big screen display visible to the entire room shows a tote of the half-liters that have been drawn at each table, and periodically shows what is being consumed at sister pubs in Prague, Budějovice, Bratislava, and in Austria. Table 9 in Budejovice is leading the pack at the moment with 24 half-liters although it looks like most everyone in that place is at the same table (the display also shows the total for each place).
The touch display also lets people play the jukebox and order food. I didn’t try those things out … I just asked the waiter to bring me the “Farm Burger”, made with “natural breeding beef from farm Pteninsky Mlyn”. Damn good burger with plenty of garlic and big, thick slice of roast red pepper on top. I was able to see a running tally of my expenditures on the display and the display made settling up easy when I was ready to go. Pretty entertaining!
The company is seeking to franchise their concept. Locations “coming soon” are listed on the company’s website,
Table 9 at Budějovice is up to 41 beers now. Time for me to go.