Friday, June 19, 2009

Lamentations for the Dearly Departed

I have spent quite a bit of my time lately wandering around the centre of Prague, pretty much to keep myself vaguely busy and in an attempt to stave off unemployment lethargy. Whilst wandering about this morning, I was reminded of some of the pubs I used to frequent back in 1999 - 2001 which are no longer in existence. Two in particular came to mind, the Marquis de Sade and a place called Radegast, both of which were once on Jakubska in the heart of the centre.

I have mentioned the Marquis de Sade before, but still it grieves me to think of this place being the trendy wine bar it is today. The Marquis was one of those great pubs where it didn't matter the time of day you went in, the atmosphere was always very relaxed. In some ways it reminded me of the Harry Lauder, the north London pub in Nick Hornby's High Fidelty - including the fug of cigarette (and various other substances) smoke a couple of feet above people's heads. You could always rely on the Marquis to have a crowd of American exchange students looking lost and bewildered, and of course simply in need of meeting the certain people masquarading as a member of the British nobility, complete with retinue.

This is what the place looked like, sadly passed into the mists of Prague expat folklore:

Marquis De Sade in Prague

The old Radegast beer hall was simply that - a proper old time central European beer hall, which sold at the time Radegast beer back in its pre-SABMiller incarnation. The pub though was great, always lively and loud, but not with annoying music but rather the sound of chatter and the world being put to rights - a proper pub. Sadly I couldn't find any pictures of this wonderful drinking hole, but I figure most of you guys can figure out what a Czech beer hall would look like.

True enough the beer was never all that great in either place, but one think that has come to mind time and again lately is that great beer is not a necessity for a great pub. Prague is a poorer place for these once fabulous boozers now being wine bars.


  1. You've just described two of the first places I hung out in when I first visited Prague. I only ever visited Marquis on one occasion, during a weekend away to Prague from the 2001 Brno summer school, but still remember it fondly. Radegast was the only decently-priced place I was able to find in the centre when passing through a couple of weeks later. Nice, typical Czech food, and the beer was pretty good too...

  2. Ah, the Marquis de Sade. Spent way too much time there new year 2000/2001. Was on the absinthe rather than the beer though. Now that's an extreme drink.


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