Liverpool played Portsmouth last night, so I was in Zlata Hvezda to watch the match - although by half-time I had the beginnings of a headache so I went home. I have been watching Liverpool matches, and the 6 Nations, at Zlata practically since I first came to Prague in 1999. In that time I have no doubt drunk vast quantities of beer in the place, starting with Velkopopovický Kozel back in the good old days when they made a good lager, to the modern era where the ubiquitous Gambrinus is the beer of choice along the regulars, visitors who just ask for a beer get a 0.4l of Pilsner Urquell for almost twice the price.
Zlata is something of an institution for my circle of friends, most of us met there, and we see each other most when there a game is on - which given the owner's canny acceptance that Liverpool fans will be at every game he can find, duly finds almost every game. Zlata is also my favourite pub when I am on a beer fast, because I really have to sink low these days to be tempted by Gambrinus, let alone the Gambrinus at Zlata - universially regarded as somewhere between passable and rank. Thank god for Mattoni in bottles.
I have been finding it odd lately though the fact that more people aren't refusing to drink the beer. Some of the lads I drink with enjoy excellent beers when they go home to the UK, often texting me to tell me what pints they are drinking and in what historic pub over looking some natural wonder, so why drink Gambrinus in Zlata (well, why drink Gambrinus at all really)?
I guess some people just don't care what they drink, as long as it gets them drunk as quickly as possible and for as little money as possible. Recently when I was reading Pete Brown's Three Sheets to the Wind, I started to wonder if there really is something uniquely British about getting wankered on crap.