Nowadays it’s nearly impossible to find a regularly priced, high quality pub on Prague’s well-trodden tourist route. Fortunately the face of the Lesser Quarter has changed with Roesel, a pub that may signify the shape of things to come – and I’m very much looking forward to that change.
Pushing through the crowds, slowly making your way across the Charles Bridge until passing under the two towers and onto the similarly busy Mostecká street, replete with made-in-China souvenir traps…errr…shops, restaurants you shouldn’t touch with a ten-foot pole and those awful trdelnik stands, one must wonder if, aside from the beautiful architecture, there is anything actually local and worthwhile here. There is, it’s called Roesel.
Before Prague had building numbers, the address system was based on signs. Visible still on some houses, Roesel is located at the House of the Three Golden Rings, although it’s probably easier to find the sign that says “beer and cake”. Why anybody would walk past a sign like that, I don’t know, but maybe it’s because of the area…nobody would expect to find something so incredible as Roesel here. Do yourself a favour, walk through the little corridor, into their quaint little courtyard and sit down at a table if the weather is favourable; otherwise, the slightly larger (yet, still tiny) interior is beyond welcoming, arched ceilings make for a cosy and intimate room full of corners so it still feels private and comfortable. The ambiance is calm and captivating, without trying too hard. The staff are very helpful; on every visit we have found them smiling, chatting and laughing – quite a sight to behold in this country – and the patrons are not solely tourists.
The beers hail from Clock, a local microbrewery, and they don’t disappoint. On permanent offer is the Hektor 10° light lager, at about 4.0% alcohol this is a beer you can drink all night with no repercussions, while one or two other taps pour rotating specialties from Clock, such as a helles bock, various pale ales, a saison or their cocoa porter. The taps are kept in clean condition and the prices here are about equal to what you would expect to find outside of the tourist centre.
The food menu here is a short list, the place is not a restaurant and it shouldn’t aspire to be one. The lack in options is welcomed because the snacks they serve are high quality and their food philosophy makes me very happy; the food is not ready-made, and is well sourced from small farms, further, they don’t believe in wasting food and have a bit of a DIY spirit. Aside from baked goods, they always have wonderful soups and a particularly good marinated cheese (nakládaný hermelín) with rosemary, spreads served with bread, various meat dishes and a few other items. They also serve coffee from a small, local roastery called doubleshot, as well as some natural wines and a small selection of spirits and mixed drinks.
Roesel is one of those pubs that I often go out of my way to visit. It isn’t hip, it isn’t cool, it’s just good. Everything about this pub comes together into a perfect little bundle. Nothing about this beautiful little space seems prefabricated or mass produced, it’s unique and well curated; the atmosphere projects this. This is a place to come and sip beers down for hours with a couple friends in the city center. This is a pub that is helping to breathe new life into an absolutely beautiful district of the city that has lost so much of its local feeling, its local touch and its local inhabitants. On a street with McDonalds, Starbucks and Subway all within arm’s reach, Roesel, and what it represents, couldn’t be more welcomed.
Getting here is simple, it’s just off the Charles Bridge, also not far from the Malostranské náměstí tram stop, serviced by trams 12, 15, 20, 22, 23, 41 and 97.
|Clock Hektor 10°||10°||Clock||Lager|
|Clock Cocoa Porter||15°||Clock||Porter|