what do you do when…?

i have been thinking about how to start this blog entry since last week, when the incident happened. i suppose it is best to begin by telling you a bit of back story about the day. it was thursday and husby had taken a vacation day from work, so we were out flaneuring, as we’ve come to refer to our lolling walks-slash-drinks around prague.

we’d been wanting to go to two brew pubs, thanks to the recommendations of prague beerophile, evan rail, and our boozy buddy (and prague post food writer), fiona gaze. both pubs, zlý časy (a.k.a. “bad times”) and zubatý pes (a.k.a. “the toothy dog”) are located in an area of prague called vršovice (roughly “vr sho vitsuh” – try saying that ten times fast), which is nowhere near where we live or where bill works. so, this was the perfect chance for us to check out a new area of the city.

the pubs were great – zlý časy was a bit gruff but has a nice enough garden and we had a nice chat with the owner of the toothy dog – but this is not a review of the pubs. this is a story about what happened after we left the pubs.

let me here say that i don’t drink much beer anymore and that which i do drink is generally your basic czech lager, fresh and tasty but not very strong. the toothy dog, however, has some mean craft brews on tap and, even though we stuck with the lower end of the degree and percentage range, we were still a teensy bit tipsy as we toddled out of the bar and back out into the late afternoon sun.

“let’s walk, shall we?” i said, hoping to burn off a few carb calories and maybe sober up a little in the process.

so we walked, and this was through a part of prague that is just your average neighborhood. most average neighborhoods in prague – that is to say, anywhere outside of old town and lesser town – are… eclectic. usually there is a pretty diverse range of people roaming around and a large mix of different restaurants, small shops and various other institutions like herna bars (casino bars). it’s got its own charm, but picturesque it ain’t.

so here we are. trams are rattling up and down the street. we are dodging mammies in track suits pushing overloaded strollers and cases of vegetables spilling out of crowded vietnamese corner shops. suddenly appears before us one of those hanging beer signs, which i expressly believe are evil temptresses, by the way, especially when they are boasting a beer you’ve never seen or tasted before.

now, generally speaking, i do not really venture into neighborhood czech pubs very often. mostly, that is because there aren’t any within walking distance of our flat. also, they are usually exceptionally smoky and, well, i just don’t like that. there is also the risk that our extremely minimal czech language skills will get us into trouble or, at the very least, elicit angry sneers from the bartender and local patrons (which it has before, albeit not always).

we went in. i am not going to say the name of the place or give its address. you’ll see why in a minute.

on first glance, it was a normal place. musty old booths were cramped up underneath a wall of windows that allowed light in from the street. a small semi-partition blocked off a set of slot machines at the back. a large group of teens (guys and gals) took up the crescent-shaped booth in one corner, while a few smoke-stained stools were perched next to a small wooden bar decorated in fake vines. we parked ourselves at a table-for-two right next to the door for fresh air consumption.

“dva piva”, we ordered in not-so-correct czech and waited for the slightly frumpy brunette barwoman to bring them over. a cougar in black leather pants who had been circling outside came in and sat at one of the stools. an old man was hunched over next to her.

our beers arrived, they were delicious. we drank them and were voraciously debating the amount of second hand smoke verses the deliciousness of another round when it happened.

this girl appeared. or more, her breasts appeared, from somewhere at the back of the bar. from whence she came, i know not, i just know that her pointy little stibly breasts were at perfect eye level. she was wearing jeans and a waitress’ apron, just no shirt. no one seemed to notice. she offered us more beers. we sat there, mouths agape, and i could see the color draining from my husband’s face as he sent me a telepathic husband-to-wife SOS message saying “get me out of here!”.

as quickly as i could, i told her “ne” and paid up the few krowns we owed for the two delicious beers. and we toppled out onto the street in fits of laughter.

i immediately consulted with some local expat friends who have been here awhile, and they confirmed that this is perfectly normal practice in certain local czech pubs. topless night. some even go so far as to have all-nude service. what the what?

i find several things weird about this. number one, the topless girls are not dancing or stripping or otherwise on display, they are serving beers. topless. doesn’t that seem to, among other things, present some kind of hygienic issues?

two, no one cared about her. the mixed group of teens at the back seemed completely unfazed by her breasticled presence and continued with their ordering. two dudes next to us had their eyes fixated on whatever soccer game was on. what is the point of having her in there topless, then?

i like to think that i am never really one to judge. i mean, i was sitting in a rather trashy local pub to begin with, but a girl needs some warning here! and just generally, i would prefer no boob cooties in my beer.

now you know why there are no pictures on this entry.

One response to “what do you do when…?”

  1. This is an amazing insight! Topless pub – how mentally Czech! Who knew? PLease can I come flaneuring with you both? I get a tipsy on one and a half Czech beers, so am an easy date! And also have found a recent love for vršovice – such a cute place!


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