One has to grant Mr. Janíček Angličan his flight of fancy if nothing else ("No tears for Montana's," Reader Feedback, Vol. 8 No. 5, February 11-17). But if he accomplishes anything in his soapbox style critique, he illustrates his own ill-informed slant on just what Grizzly meant to those of us who were lucky enough to be regulars.
The only accurate statement Mr. Angličan makes about Grizzly's is that there was a door that was sometimes open in the men's WC, and that this idiosyncrasy offered an interesting challenge to men trying to relieve themselves after a few drinks. This had little to do with poor craftsmanship and more with the fact that those who used the urinals tended to leave the door open.
As Nicholson's article clearly states ("Capital expat bar shuts doors after three years in Old Town", By Tom Nicholson, Vol. 8 No. 4, February 4-11) one of the selling points Ky Didier used was that the women's WC was better than the average fare, not to mention the quality of the product that he was trying to sell. Grizzly was the only place I know of that almost always had paper towels to dry your hands with, unlike other places in Bratislava.
Mr. Angličan also resorts to unfair stereotypes of foreigner bars in saying that "upturned barrels and ploughs" were part of the decor at Montana's. Perhaps Mr. Angličan has a gripe in general over cliché-ridden bars, but that is no excuse for writing things that are not true. His comment on Grizzly's advertising American beer is completely false, as the signs he referred to served merely as adornments to the bar. No American beer was sold at Grizzly's.
Ky was the first to bring less well-known Czech beers to Bratislava when most city bars were stuck with the same old fare. At Grizzly's you had your choice of a mix of Slovak and Czech beers served at a proper temperature from beer lines that were actually cleaned on a regular basis. I wonder where else in the city one could get Pilsner, Budvar, Krušovice and Kozel in one establishment and all from tap. This is what Ky meant when he said that price considerations are not developed to the point where average Slovak people will pay more for such things.
I'm also totally at a loss about Mr. Angličan's description of over-priced beers in the city. Not only does he ignore the explanation that Ky gives for increased prices, but he seems to feel there is a kind of foreigner monopoly on charging higher prices. This is preposterous, for Slovak-owned establishments charge as much if not more than the standard at Grizzly's. True, there are student 'holes' where the practice of tapping beer and leaving it to sit for hours before serving it to customers is in full swing. The person unlucky enough to drink this slosh gets a lovely headache as a result. But even at such places one is looking at a minimum of Sk25 for a beer compared to Sk40 at Montana's, and without the pleasant drinking environment.
When considering pricing one should also factor in the wait staff. In Montana's case, Lucia, Brigit, Majka, Silvia and Tanya just to name my favourites. These girls would bring me a beer before I had to ask for it. They were fun! They made jokes and danced with you on occasion. They made the place great when you wanted to cut loose. Grizzly's bartenders, Nero and Filip, were quick with a "veľký" and occasionally some laughs if you came on a crowded night and were stuck standing by the bar. Ky was a fixture of the bar, to say nothing of Ľuka and the gang dancing on the bar after closing.
Mr. Angličan, you haven't a clue what you are talking about. Those who know the truth will miss Montana's as I do already. The one thing you do have right, however, is that the Irish is no reasonable substitute. I too will avoid that place like the plague!
18. Feb 2002 at 0:00