Olde Prague Tavern, a new bar in the location that once housed Zlata Praha, a well loved Czech restaurant on 31st Street between 30th Avenue and Newtown Avenue, had a soft opening this Sunday, February 3rd. No ordinary, run-of-the-mill new bar, Old Prague is a homey yet ambitious new venture by the owner of beloved long-time Astoria neighborhood bar, The Quays Pub on 30th Avenue.
With more than a mere nod to the past, Olde Prague opened with nearly all of their taps pouring Czech beer, including Pilsner Urquell, Krušovice, and Staropramen Dark from the heart of Prague itself. All of the beers are served with a healthy head of foam, which the knowledgeable bartender, Roman, said is the true sign of a good pour of Czech beer. Having sampled the beer today, I can attest to the quality: the owner put in all new tap lines and the beer is clean, crisp and delicious. For those who don’t love beer as much as I do, Olde Prague has a full stock of hard liquor along with a few house wines to round out their alcoholic libations. They also have a beautiful Lavazza espresso machine, and plan to open a sliding window in the front of the bar to vend espresso and cappuccino, along with drip coffee, to commuters en route to the train.
In March, Olde Prague will start serving food as well from a menu designed and implemented by the former chef at Donnybrook on the Lower East Side. The menu will include 4 or 5 Czech dishes as well as rotating specials of the chef’s choosing. By all accounts, some of the specials will be quite creative, and it seems well worth keeping an eye out for anything coming out of Old Prague’s kitchen in the months ahead.
This week, Olde Prague will be open from about 5pm to 4am, and starting in about two weeks they will expand to their regular hours from 7am to 4am daily (thus the commuter coffee window). Regardless of the hour, visitors to Olde Prague will encounter a place where they are likely to feel at home, filled with dark wood and communal picnic tables that give the bar an indoor beer garden atmosphere. Several TVs, one of them quite large, make it a great place to catch a football or soccer game. Perhaps the most striking feature, however, greets you right as you walk into the bar. It’s a stunning cityscape of Prague that once hung proudly in Zlata Praha. Barry, the owner, said that he just ordered several new pieces of artwork to add to the bar depicting Czech industrial scenes. He told me that he thinks they will fit in and he hopes that people will like them. In a bar that so effortlessly blends the old and the new, I have a feeling that we will like them very much.