Plenty of options in the Old Town, and along the shopping street
of Obchodna. Unfortunately not all of the names were particularly
Hradna Vinaren- On the hill
facing the old town, on the edge of the Castle grounds, is a wine
bar and restaurant. We had food on the terrace, washed down with
Slovakian red wine from Bratislava’s own vineyard –
the food was okay, but it was the view that made it worthwhile.
KGB - Although the initials
stand for the Gourmet Club of Bratislava (or “Beer Guzzlers
Club” depending on which book you believe), this cellar bar
along Obchodna does have it’s fair share of Communist era
paraphernalia. Great choice of beer, and decent food too, make this
a place not only worth seeking out, but settling into. Nearest thing
to a "rock bar" we found, although they did play O-Zone's
Dragostea, much to the disdain of the headbanging locals.
Pub near old brew house
- Although the famous old Malthouse pub (whose exact name I can't
remember) was closed, possibly for good (although Moulin Rouge strip
club in the same building seemed to be doing a roaring trade), there
is an ample alternative slightly closer to the Hotel Kyiv on the
same street (Cukrova). Very friendly service, good food, and a healthy
number of mullets on show (they even played “Achy Breaky Heart”
on the stereo!), we sat by a wall of Pilsner Urquell bottles. Definitely
worth the walk past the Kyiv.
Slang – this large
pub/cafe (previously known by the name of its main beer: Kelt) with
loads of nooks and crannies is on Hviezdoslavov Nam, directly opposite
the Radisson Hotel. It seemed to be an evening favourite of ex-pats
(judging by the number of English accents we heard), but was a pretty
good pub nonetheless. For some unknown reason, they didn’t
want to pay any attention to the Germans we were drinking with when
it came to getting served. Summer months sees the focus switching
to pavement cafe mode, although the Slang Toast is a good brunch
Cafe De Zwaan - On Panska.
In April 2004, this place boasted a superb beer selection, with
Kriek (sour cherry beer) on tap – a vibrant, but relatively
expensive, bar is very popular with young Slovakians, and well worth
a visit. Come August 2005, the beer choice was very poor, and overall
standards vastly reduced.
Pivnice U Kozla ( Named
after something to do with goats) – Just along from the Norton
Club on Panska, this underground bunker was very reminiscent of
similar bars in Prague. Offering cheap beer and surly service, it’s
just my kind of place. [Reports in October 2005 from a reliable
source suggest this may now be a Knights Templar restaurant!? Or
maybe he found the wrong door?]
Norton Club - A bizarre
pub/room named after one of the luminaries of the Nottingham Tartan
Army (or a bike, possibly?). Not much else to say, apart from there
seemed to be a lot of open space in this place. Minimalist
Street of pubs - One street
behind the cathedral (Venturska) is a pretty full of bars and restaurants,
all of which look much of a muchness, and all offering outside terrace
seating from where you can watch the world go by.
Cafe in square by Town Hall
- Tucked just out of the way, in a courtyard slightly south of the
Old Town Hall clock, this pretty little café is a good choice
for a coffee, a beer or a wine. The small courtyard outside must
be very alluring in the summer. Watch out for the Gents –
it’s built on some stairs outside by the courtyard.
Turkish place - A very stylish
and sophisticated Turkish themed bar just off the Old Town Square.
Very relaxing, and very popular. Recommended.
Cafe Kastellan - An absolute
top pub! Never mind the strange characters, and the fact that the
toilet is next door in another building, this small but extremely
friendly place is ideally located for both the Castle and the Ibis
hotel. Although the sign on the door suggests an early closure,
this did seem to be just that (a suggestion!) – this pub is
very popular with locals, and the landlord seems happy to stay open
as long as he has a happy crowd. Of course, I might have been gate-crashing
Stanley's Pub - A weird
pub, set into a old town terrace facing a bust intersection –
it’s done it’s best to recreate an English style pub,
but with only a handful of tables, it’s got a definite size
disadvantage! Very friendly service, but more strange people than
most (namely a grown man on roller skates and a woman with a fluffy
condom hat) – good for people watching. You'll need to ask
for the toilet key.
Techno Cafe - A few doors
down from KGB, and a real favourite hang-out for the local ned contingent
(along with a cellar bar/club right round the corner in the alley)
– don’t bother, just stay in KGB.
UFO Cafe - Pretentious,
shiny cafe/bar/club on top of the bridge tower. Stupid prices, stuck-up
service, beautiful people... all the things that would attract one
particular NATA member! Only worth it for the view and the comedy
"ice bucket" urinals. We were there during the day, so
can't speak for the nightclub, but based on experience I'd be in
no rush to find out for myself!
Charlie Centrum - Once a
Bratislava institution, opposite the Hotel Kyiv, which allegedly
used to sport it’s own crocodile pit (although the source
of that story may have been a bit excitable!), and named in almost
every guidebook. It seems to have changed hands now, but we didn’t
venture in to check.
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