Like the wine cellar, the beer hall is one of the symbol and substances of the Slovak nation. Not only is Slovak beer among the best in the world, but local pub-goers are versed in beer protocol which is what makes a night on the town so enjoyable. By any name besides 'piváreň,' pubs are known informally in Slovak as krčma (tavern), šenk (roadhouse), pajzel (any smoke-filled room where beer is consumed by the gallon) and výčap (the lowest sort of dive) - the beer hall rounds out the Slovak experience.
Below you will find a previously reviewed selection of our favourite pubs in Bratislava.
Michalská 10, tel: 54 41 41 94, open Mon-Fri. 10.00 - 01.00, Sat-Sun. 12-01.00
This is a good hangout, off an alley half down Michalská Street. The Garden is a place to drink beer, not tea and sticky liqueurs. Downstairs, the Rose is decked out in a red wooden motif, which not even the tables and the bar escape. Each table has a lamp on it, which apparently brings the tea drinkers and liqueur sippers running. The Rose also pulls the occasional pint of beer - on tap is Zlatý Bažant and Amstel. The clientele is 18-40 years old and the live jazz rocks on Thursdays.
Montana's Grizzly Bar
Michalská 19, tel: 54 43 49 98, open Mon. to Thu 11:00 to 1:00, Fri.-Sat. 11:00 to 2:00, Sun. 11:00 to 24:00.
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 piváren. Food service has now just begun from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., consisting mainly of American-type sandwiches (BLT, cheesburger etc.) as well as a daily Slovak special.
Late comers can even get a bowl of chili 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.
The Dubliner Irish Pub
Sedlárska 6, tel: 54 41 07 06, open Mon-Fri 9.00-01.00, Sat and Sun 12.00- 01.00
The Old Town location, the two bar set-up, the re-created Irish village street and the fireplace lend The Dubliner a friendly atmosphere unlike any other in the city. In addition to Slovak brews, genuine Guinness and Irish cider are on tap for 80 Sk.
Hviezdoslavovo nám.17, tel: 54 43 51 35, open Mon-Thu.11.30-01.00, Fri, 11.30-02.00, Sat 14-02.00, Sun 14.00-23.00
17's Bar is right beside Mladost Cinema on Hviezdoslav square. Thursdays of Fridays are live music-nights (Blues, Rock, Jazz, Folk) while the rest of the week you get 60s or 70s stuff. Wooden benches and tables create a classic bar interor.
The clientele are mostly 25 year-olds and up, and occasionally include art scene trendies like directors and actors. No food is available, but the drink service is fine and they will call a taxi for you when you've finally had enough of the Mamas and the Papas.
Mamut (Stará Sladovňa)
Cintorínska 32, tel: 52 92 11 51, open Mon.-Sun. 10.00 - 24.00
The King. Once one of the biggest beer halls in central Europe, Mamut - as locals call it - now plays third fiddle to the Bingo parlor upstairs and the pool hall downstairs. But the massive beer hall still serves Budvar drafts by the truckload. Swing your spurs on Thursdays and Fridays to live country music.
During summer months, the beer garden is one of the better places in town to enjoy an outdoor pivo. But watch out for the bouncers at all times - thick necks and permanent suntans identify some of the least tolerant 'security' in town.