Category Archives: drinking

All that Jazz ..Czech style

praguejazz.jpgBack in the early 70s the Czech label Supraphon released on LP Six Uncles in Reduta, thought to be the first live recording of Prague jazz. Now a new series is being released on CD in co-production with a British-based label. The playing is on a very high level and the sonics excellent, being two-channel direct to DAT without multitracking. The recordings are made in one of the studios of Prague Radio. Prague has become a rather hot jazz environment, with talented musicians, some who have played there since the 60s, as well as a new wave of players from the West. Many young people flock to the jazz clubs around the historical Czech city; it has been compared to Paris in the 30s. These two CDs display just two distinctive approaches to jazz in Prague. (John Henry)

Paris in the 1930s!

Open air jazz playing is also a feature of the Golden City, the Old Town Square (Staromestske namesti) and Charles Bridge being the main venues. Czech beer is the finest in the world; try unpasteurised real Pilsner Urquell from a tankovna — available at U Pinkasu in Prague — or visit the brewery in Plzen.

Summer is here! – what are you waiting for? Prague and Czech absinth are waiting for you 🙂 How about this:

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Modern, contemporary and latin jazz with progressive Czech jazzmen at Michalská 9, Prague 1 (U Stare Pani). Great atmosphere, great staff and absinthe! The staff speak excellent English – like most in Prague – but in case you have any problems here’s Part 1 of Essential Czech:

Dám si jedno absinth prosím. means: I’ll have an absinth please.

Czech Absinth – Cafe Slavia

 

Absinth Slavia

 

 

Hillary Clinton at Cafe Slavia 1998

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Czech artist Viktor Oliva’s “The Absinthe Drinker” (Buveur d’absinthe) which hangs in Prague’s famous Cafe Slavia on Narodni Street.

Accompanied by Czech President Vaclav Havel and his wife, Dagmar, first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton stopped briefly Tuesday in the Slavia Kavarna, Havel’s favorite hangout in his dissident years, for a glass of absinthe. Young people watching the presidential motorcade in the street were largely indifferent to Clinton’s visit, but others inside the cafe were appreciative. “She is a very intelligent lady and she has a lot to say to the world.’
–Published on October 14, 1998, Page 4A, St. Paul Pioneer Press (MN)

Bill Clinton also visited the U zlatého tygra (At the Golden Tiger), a typical Bohemian pub, and played the saxophone at the wonderfully atmospheric Reduta Jazz Club.

A short distance from the Reduta is an important place in Czech and world history but sadly many tourists seem to walk by without noticing. This is the spot where riot police attacked a peaceful student demonstration on Narodni trida in 1989; the brutal police attack was the event that started the Velvet Revolution. Here is the moving memorial to the bravery shown during the end of those dark days:

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Absinthe Time – Czech Absinthe Bar

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Absinthe Time
Kremencova 5, Prague 1
Phone: +420 222 516 300

Every thursday from 20:00 they have live jazz…and here is their absinthe menu:

 

Absinthe STAROPLZENECKY (70% alc., Thujon 10 mg/l.)

Absinthe RED L’Or (70% alc., Thujon 10 mg/l)

Absinthium 1792 GREEN (70% alc., Thujon 10 mg/l)

Absinthium 1792 RED (70% alc., Thujon 10 mg/l)

Absinthe Bitter Bairnsfather, SEBOR (55% alc., Thujon 32 mg/l)

Absinthe Bitter Extra Anise, SEBOR (55% alc., Thujon 32 mg/l)

Absinthe HILLS (70% alc., Thujon 4 mg/l)

Absinthe Le Fee Hypno (70% alc., Thujon 10 mg/l)

Absinthe REALITY, SEBOR (60% alc., Thujon 26 mg/l)

Absinthe FRUKO (60% alc., Thujon 10 mg/l)

Absinthe FRUKO (70% alc., Thujon 10 mg/l)

Absinthe STAROREZNA DEVIL(red) (70% alc., Thujon 10 mg/l)

Absinthe STAROREZNA (70% alc., Thujon 10 mg/l)

Absinthe ZELENA MUZA (72% alc., Thujon 10 mg/l)

Absinthe ZELENA MUZA ART (72% alc., Thujon 10 mg/l)

Absinthe 35 (70% alc., Thujon 35 mg/l)

Absinthe KING OF SPIRITS (70% alc., Thujon 10 mg/l)

Absinthe La Boheme Original (70% alc., Thujon 10 mg/l)

Absinthe La Boheme Bitter Spirit (60% alc., Thujon 35 mg/l)

One Night in Praha?

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Absinthe on Fire?

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The Loiterers, 1887
Oil on canvas
18 X 24 inches

Source: http://www.godelfineart.com/artists/wiles_absinthe.htm

This particular work dates from 1887 and it has been suggested that the subjects are the artist himself and his wife May. The couple, who were married in 1887, is shown drinking absinthe, an activity best known from the images of the French artists Edgar Degas, Vincent van Gogh, and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. The liqueur, which is extremely bitter and exceptionally potent, is traditionally poured through a lump of sugar on a specially slotted spoon and mixed with water. This creates what is called the louche, a milky white effect that occurs when compounds in the liqueur precipitate out of the absinthe-water solution. While probably painted in New York City, Wiles’ Absinthe Drinkers reveals a direct link between the French and American Impressionists.

Czech Mardi Gras!

masopust2.jpgMasopust is the February festival in the Czech Republic that most resembles Mardi Gras. This is a time of drinking: loads of roast pork (cooked on open spits), washed down with cold beer (“pivo”) and plenty of other drinks like absinthe.

This party — which literally means something like “going without meat” — is marked by the use of masks and outlandish fancy dress. It is a time of indulgence and excess prior to the 40-day fast; it is believed it is pre-christian in origin. The mask-wearing likely represents the spirits of the dead (who apparently walk about at this time of year); there is a suggestion of sun worship, too. Devils, chimney sweeps and a host of animal figures make up the parade including a horse that collects doughnuts and an array of mad creatures from your worst nightmares.

This is one time of the year when you don’t need to drink absinthe to see the green fairy in the Czech Republic.

Czech Phrase: Kdo sa nenají ve fašank, bude hladovět po celý rok” means “If you don’t eat during Masopust you’ll be hungry for the rest of the year”