Ancient 'pivo' portal: Monastic brewery reopens in Prague's Malá Strana

St. Thomas Brewery Bar, housed in The Augustine, has opened to the public with a new sidewalk entrance inviting patrons to enjoy its iconic dark brew. Staff

Written by Staff Published on 10.07.2024 16:00:00 (updated on 08.07.2024) Reading time: 2 minutes

St. Thomas Brewery Bar – one of the oldest beer cellars in Prague, dating back to the 14th century – has reopened to the public, giving locals and tourists a cool space to escape to during the city’s unrelenting summer heatwaves. 

Part of the five-star Augustine Hotel, this medieval bar now has an entrance directly off Letenská street in Malá Strana, and is the only place in that capital where you can order a pint of St. Thomas’ famous dark brew. The non-filtered, non-pasteurized beer is produced according to the Augustinian monks’ original secret recipe from 1352.

Over the centuries, the brewery served as the exclusive supplier to Prague Castle, with St. Thomas being touted as the only beer Czech kings would drink. The bar was also a favorite meeting point for a number of famous Czech artists and writers, including Jan Neruda, Bohumil Hrabal and Jaroslav Hašek.

This artificial grotto, with restored baroque frescos on its vaulted ceilings and a floating terracotta floor, features 17th-century stalactites and stalagmites and an authentic underground water source that was tastefully incorporated into St. Thomas’ updated design. A visit here is like taking a step back in time. 

The bar, which was closed off to the public for many years, is located in the cellar of the former Augustinian monastery’s Renaissance brewery building. Glass flooring in a few areas gives patrons a glimpse of foundations from the 17th century.   

Today, the spot features modern elements, like cubist-inquired seating and lighting details. 

For 600 years, St. Thomas’ legendary beer was brewed onsite. Following the Velvet Revolution, the monks returned but found the monastery buildings and inner courtyard, first erected in 1284, in such a dilapidated state. They eventually agreed that part of the expansive complex could be converted into a hotel in exchange for renovating the Church of St. Thomas, where masses are still held and the monks offer tours of the monastery grounds and the 13th-century library.   

The monks turned their ancient beer recipe over to the Augustine Hotel. The signature dark lager is now produced by the mini-brewery Matuška and regularly delivered to the hotel.

Visitors can enjoy a couple of rounds of cold pints in a chill historic atmosphere, along with a vast assortment of traditional Czech dishes with a unique twist, including beef tartare, pickled sausages and St. Thomas deer stew. Prices are surprisingly reasonable given the location, on par with what you’d find at many local neighborhood bars. 

St. Thomas Brewery Bar is open Wednesday to Sunday from 4 p.m. to 11 p.m.

This article was written in cooperation with Augustine, a Luxury Collection Hotel, Prague. Read more about our partner content policies here.

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