Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Saint Nicholas Cafe (Closed)

** NOTE: This place closed long ago under its long-time original management. I've read it is now a pizza restaurant under the same name. (August 12, 2012)

"Saint: A dead sinner revised and edited." Ambrose Bierce
I was planning a meeting with the English Patient and a couple of Irish friends.

We needed a place for a drinking session. Food was an afterthought.

Location was an issue -- Mala Strana was requested.

Saint Nicholas Cafe was chosen.

The exterior wasn't much to look at, with beat up, patchy painted walls.

After stepping through the first set of doors, the entrance to the cafe inside a passage is slightly more attractive.

Inside, slightly below street level, is a dark, atmospheric, and even historic space. The owners say the building dates back to 1554.

There are often expats seated at the bar. Saint Nicholas Cafe is not far from a number of embassies.They also say the decorative painting replicates the style of a much earlier time. There is certainly a patina on the walls. Whether it is from age, cigarette smoke, or both, I cannot say.As I said, the main order of business for us was alcohol.

Becherovka and beer to be specific.

The four of us consumed 18 Becherovka shots (50 CZK each), 6 half-liters of Pilsner Urquell (40 CZK each), and 4 half-liters of Gambrinus (33 CZK each).

A typical English-Irish meeting. Damage inflicted on all sides.

For the uninitiated, Becherovka is a liquor flavored with cinnamon, anise, and 32 other herbs that supposedly have medicinal qualities.

It is 38 percent alcohol, which was the only medicine I needed.

As the session stretched into the evening, we decided to order food. The menu options were limited. We settled on three pizzas.

We sampled a Margherita pizza with tomatoes and onions (105 CZK).There was a diavola pizza with pepperoni, onions, and a some red and green cherry peppers (145 CZK).And a Hawaiian pizza with the standard ham and pineapple (125 CZK).My memory of these pizzas are somewhat hazy. For example, I don't recall what that white cheese in the middle of the diavola was.
In fact, after the initial post, I was angrily informed by a commenter that the "cheese" was, in fact, an egg. Such are the dangers of drink.

But I do remember that the crust was good and crunchy. Also, the price was nice. I have the receipt to prove that.

Otherwise, all the pizzas were fairly unremarkable. No one was too impressed. But I'd certainly get one again if I needed food support during a prolonged a prolonged beverage-oriented mediation.

I have to confess, I was feeling pretty dead when we were done. I'd had my share of drinks, washed down with pizza dough.

But I knew what to expect -- it wasn't exactly a meeting of saints.

Perhaps if I do a little more editing...

Saint Nicholas Cafe
Tržiště 10
Prague 1 - Mala Strana
Tel. (+420) 257 530 204

View Larger Map


The Lone Beader® said...

Pizza & beer! 2 of my favourite things! :D

Anonymous said...

"I went to a bar, got drunk, and ate pizza." Not exactly a restaurant review, is it?

But then again, even half-sober, the style, voice, grammar and are to be commended--even if the usefulness is not.

Brewsta said...

Excellent summary, though I cannot commend you on your grammar.

I write from a personal perspective -- where I go, what I eat, and what I like.

Not exactly a restaurant review, is it?

It's a blog -- the "About Me" statement on the sidebar can give more perspective.

Posts of this sort are aimed at people, usually visitors, looking for a place to take part in such activities.

In the story, we learned about:

1. The style and atmosphere
2. The type of people there
3. The pizza is nothing special
4. The prices

I understand that not all posts will be useful to all people. But something useless to you does not necessarily translate to uselessness for others.

Pivní Filosof said...

Don't take it so seriously mate!
As a friend says, "blogs are literary onanism". I don't know about you, but I write mostly for myself, if that happens to be useful to people, thats great! Otherwise, we are not charging anything for the blog.

A bit off-topic, but I've found a pizza hole in wall that can give Grosso a serious run for its money, it's opposite Bila Labut. Lovely pizza. Or maybe it was that I was starving after a beer tasting and anything would have tasted good.....

Brewsta said...

I feel the same. To quote the late Rick Nelson, "You can't please everyone so you got to please yourself."

At the same time, I'm aware there is an audience, and I appreciate constructive criticism.

I'll keep my eyes peeled for the pizza place. I also want to check out what Cafe Dinitz has turned into. It seems from pictures on the web, they've made changes to the beautiful Art Deco space. I hope it hasn't changed too much.

Anonymous said...

I'm the original smart-ass poster. I didn't mean to be snide--I really do love the blog. This post just stood out as a somewhat humorous outlier on what is almost always a very thoughtful blog--and I hope you take that as a compliment, because you deserve it for writing some of the smartest and most entertaining commentary in the city (not that there's much competition).

Perhaps that's a topic for another posting--why is the English-language media in Prague so bad? (You don't have to include Faries.) The best-written and most engaging English-language publication in the city, strangely, is the Prague Wanderer, NYU's student-written Web magazine. Odd. American college students, to quote Allan Bloom, are barbarians.

Brewsta said...

Thanks. It is true that this post was on the lighter side, content-wise. But I do need to mix it up a bit.

I'm competitive with myself and want to keep up or top my own standards.

But the longer ones can be fairly time-consuming to put together. Finding time to gather the material and write them is getting harder to do on a regular basis.

Life has been getting hectic, and I found myself not looking forward to the writing big posts as much. So, I may do some briefer posts that feature one favored dish or discovery.

I agree with you about the English-language media. But it is to be expected where the pay is low, and the turnover is high.

I do enjoy Wanderer articles like the one this week about Le Clan. Being written by highly-motivated students from a good school makes some difference.

And Faries reviews are the same self-parodies, as always. If he could just write a piece without the ridiculously overwrought descriptions, I could be a fan.

Anonymous said...

how can you in your right mind and with any ethical fortitude post a review of a place in which you don't remember everything because you were drunk.

It is unfair to the cafe and basically a waste of time for your readers. Apologize and go back and do a real review like an adult...if that is possible

Brewsta said...

Mom! You said you wouldn't leave comments on my blog anymore!

Anonymous said...

Big deception and big joke! They do not say that service and couvert are not included while we precisely asked. In the end, 6€50 on the bill that we didn't expect. Don't go!