Shabby pub profits from nostalgia

Photo: archive of Severka pub

While pubs around Prague are vying to attract visitors with a trendy, clean environment, good food and wide assortment of drinks, a pub in Prague’s Jižní Město – a huge communist housing estate made of pre-fabricated panel buildings – has put its money on nostalgia and is making a profit from the fact that it is a throwback to the communist era.

Photo: archive of Severka pub
Anyone interested in a walk down memory lane and the experience of a seedy communist pub from the 1980s can get the authentic experience at Severka – a pub born in the communist days that lives on like a dinosaur in the middle of a communist-style housing estate where one building resembles another.

Its owner David Salomon was just seven when the communist regime fell and it was not originally his intention to run a communist-style pub. He told the daily Novinky that when he bought the pub it was in such terrible shape that reconstructing it would have ruined him, so he opted for a different business tactic – creating a throw-back to the communist days.

It wasn’t hard to do – seedy furniture, cheap curtains smelling of smoke, the old pub specialties such as smoked sausages and fried cheese and beer on tap. Solomon says that the bar tender also mixes the old concoctions reminiscent of those times – like the Devil, or Horses on Grass, mixed from rum, eggnog, peppermint and griot liqueur. And people can smoke all they want, based on the fact that the owner has by-passed the smoking ban by presenting his pub as a “club” where membership costs a symbolic ten crowns.

He says the concept worked. The regulars, who remember the old days, find it comforting, and young people occasionally come in to look around. How long they choose to stay is up to them, Salomon concludes.