Like the wine cellar, the beer hall is a symbol of the Slovak nation. Not only is Slovak beer among the best in the world, but local pub-goers are versed in beer protocol, making a night on the town even more enjoyable. Usually known as 'piváreň' pubs are also known informally in Slovak as krčma (tavern), šenk (roadhouse), výčap (any smoke-filled room where beer is consumed by the gallon) and pajzel (the lowest sort of dive). By any name, the beer hall rounds out the Slovak experience.
Below you will find a previously reviewed selection of our favourite pubs and bars in Bratislava.
Montana's Grizzly Bar
Montana's was opened in 1999 and quickly added a large wooden terrace with summer lighting to give bar patrons a downtown alternative to smoke-filled piváreň. Food service has now just begun serving from 11:00 to 23:00 and consisting mainly of American-type sandwiches (BLT, cheeseburger, etc.). Late-comers can even get a bowl of chilli or soup until closing time, while anyone can enjoy a slice of American apple pie made by owner Ky Didier. Gentle wood decor, cool tunes and a wide variety of Czech and Slovak beer make this bar one of the capital's best.
Michalská 19. Tel: 5443 4998. Open Mon-Thu 11:00 to 1:00, Fri-Sat 11:00 to 2:00, Sun 11:00-24:00.
The Dubliner Irish Pub
The most popular hang-out for expats in Bratislava, who gather to sip on what the owners claim is the cheapest Guinness on tap in Europe. The kitchen is arguably the best in town - try the Full Monty, a huge platter for two big enough to satisfy the hungriest of appetites. In winter, the blazing fireplace is a welcome site for the cold passersby, although some of the waitresses are surly at best, offensive and vulgar at worst. Occasional live music on Fridays and Saturdays.
Sedlárska 6. Tel: 5441 0706. Open daily 9:00-1:00.
Just opposite the Slovak National Theatre, this bar is becoming increasingly popular among locals. Its rustic interior, wrought iron and an open fireplace give a homely feel. On weekends it is a lively place, usually packed with a very mixed crowd. They play everything from funk to U2, and the beer (all Kelt) is a decent Heineken product. Watch your bags, however, as even the wait staff admit that petty theft among customers is not unknown.
Corner Rybná brána /Hviezdoslavovo námestie 1. Tel: 5441 1589. Open Mon-Fri 11:00-1:00, weekends 12:00-1:00.
Duck off Obchodná ulica, under the frothing beer mug sign and head into the cellar. The mish-mash of Communist-era and grunge rock memorabilia makes for an amusing atmosphere. At the same time, KGB has become a rougher pub in recent years, with shaven-headed bouncers seeming to direct operations. Leave Mom at home if you go.
Obchodná 52. Tel: 5273 1279 Open Mon-Thu 10:00-2:00, Fri 10:00-3:30, Sat 11:00-3:30, Sun 15:30-23:00.
17's Bar is right beside Mladosť Cinema on Hviezdoslavovo námestie. Thursdays and Fridays are live music-nights (Blues, Rock, Jazz, Folk) while the rest of the week consists of 60s or 70s tunes on the stereo. Wooden benches and tables create a classic bar interior. The clientele are mostly 25-year-olds and upwards and occasionally includes art scene trendies like directors and actors. The service is fine and they will call a taxi for you upon request.
Hviezdoslavovo námestie 17. Tel: 5443 5135. Open Mon-Thu 11:30-2:00, Fri 11:30-3:00, Sat 14:00-3:00, Sun 14:00-0:00.