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One of the things that is always advertised in Prague for tourists is medieval tavern experiences.
This is where you can eat and drink as much as you like in a traditional restaurant and enjoy a historic show while you dine.
Many tourists wonder whether these experiences are worth doing or if they are just tourist traps.
I’d say it really depends on your interests and which one you choose to visit. Not all of them are of the same calibre.
I’ve been to a Prague medieval tavern experience twice now and loved it every time.
That’s because I only go to the original one which is U Krále Brabantského. The oldest medieval tavern in the city.
Here is a U Krále Brabantského review and all the legends of Prague’s oldest medieval tavern.
Should you visit a Prague medieval tavern?
The reason why Prague always draws me back is due to its incredible bohemian history and preserved buildings.
You can explore the medieval Prague Castle, meander the historic Golden Lane, cross the Charles Bridge and explore ancient churches, monasteries, towers and libraries.
So, for me, going to a medieval tavern is the perfect immersive experience to feel like a part of the history there. But, I know it’s not for everyone.
Some people may dismiss a Prague medieval tavern experience as ‘tacky’ and if you look on Tripadvisor some have really bad reviews.
However, I don’t think you should skip a visit to Prague’s oldest medieval tavern which is U Krále Brabantského.
The best medieval tavern in Prague
The best medieval tavern in Prague has to be King of Brabant or U Krále Brabantského which is more like an institution.
Sitting underneath the majestic Prague Castle, this authentic medieval tavern has been serving beer in its labyrinth of vaults since the 14th century.
This makes it the oldest tavern in the city and they still preserve their medieval culture today with their candlelit rooms, slamming beer on tables and ‘mouthy’ service.
It’s a must-visit for anyone who’s a fan of history or simply wants to sample some authentic Czech grilled cuisine.
The history of Medieval Tavern “U Krále Brabantského”
The oldest Prague medieval tavern was built in 1375 on the fringes of Prague Castle.
The name comes from Duke John I of Brabant also known as Gambrinus who is the patron saint of brewers.
There are legends that the kings of Bohemia like Wenceslas IV and Rudolf II used to come to drink here in secret with smugglers and thieves.
Famous Czech figures would also haunt these halls like Italian painter Arcimboldo and the Czech writers Jaroslav Hašek and Karel Čapek.
There is another legend that says Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart visited this medieval tavern. He famously wrote part of “The Great Morning” on his visit to Prague in 1791.
At the end of the 18th century, the tavern owner Krügler was a showman who spun tales and played the drums for his guests. It’s been a place of entertainment ever since.
It’s also been the place of many a brawl, sinister goings-on and even a murder. But, the tavern has only closed once for a couple of days since its opening centuries ago. This makes it the oldest continuously working tavern in the city!
Today, you can visit many other ‘medieval taverns’, but Krcma Brabant is the original and provides an authentic medieval experience.
It’s the perfect place to go for food and a rest after a long walk around the Prague Castle District.
What food do they serve at Krcma Brabant?
So, the tavern serves up a menu of food from the grill for ‘all peasants, vagabonds and beggars’.
They have a range of traditional small dishes like homemade sausages, salads, pickles and soups.
Their signature dishes are the meat platters that they make on the grill. You can choose from the Devil’s Chicken, marinated pork neck, fisherman’s pride or sirloin steak.
These all come with a healthy portion of potatoes, mushrooms, corn on the cob and garlic sauce.
Or, you can choose some traditional Czech dishes like pork ribs, beef stew, pork knuckle and shredded duck.
But, don’t worry if you don’t eat meat. They do have some vegetarian options for ‘non-carnivores’.
You’ll want to wash down your medieval fare with one of their Czech Pivo beers too. These are served by the litre in traditional beer glasses.
You eat the medieval way – with your bare hands!
A good thing to note before you dine is that you will be eating in the traditional medieval way which is with your bare hands!
I think this was fine with what I ate which was a traditional meat platter with potatoes and vegetables. But, it was really hot and I had to wait a while to eat it.
I dread to think what that would be like with a soup/broth or sauce dishes. They do give you a huge chunk of bread (avec knife) to mop it up with.
They don’t have tissues/napkins either but you’ll be given a bowl of hot water and lemon to wash your hands between courses.
Of course, if you can’t stand it, there’s soap and hot water in the bathrooms! I also brought a bottle of an anti-bac gel with me.
When should you visit Tavern U Krále Brabantského?
U Krále Brabantského is open from 11 am daily and you can visit for an early or late lunch throughout the day.
But, if you want to experience this ancient tavern at its best then I would recommend booking dinner as you can watch their medieval show in the evenings.
This is when the entire place is lit by candlelight and you can watch jugglers, belly dancers, sword fighters and fire breathers.
As I was visiting solo, I was a little worried about who I would be sitting with. But, they had plenty of tables for two and it was a great night of entertainment!
The vault I was in was located on the ground floor and had a myriad of skulls that decorated the walls. Let me tell you, it was a vibe.
Top tip: If you want to book this medieval tavern experience, make sure to reserve a table a few days ahead of time! It’s extremely popular and can sell out.
Drums, sword swallowing, fire breathing and belly dancing!
If you choose to visit in the evening you will be treated to a night of entertainment with many short medieval-themed shows while you eat your meal.
You will see belly dancing acts, sword dancing, jugglers, jesters, sword fighting, sword swallowing and even fire breathing. All the acts are accompanied by traditional music and drums.
The show goes on for 3 hours from 7 pm – 10 pm but it’s not continuous.
This tavern is like a labyrinth of levels and vaults and so each of the troops/acts makes a journey to each of the floors and rooms throughout the night.
There will be gaps of around 10-15 minutes between performances and it’s a great chance to chat with friends or eat while you wait.
As it was my first day in Prague, I was so tired at around 9.30 pm. But, I knew I had to wait around for the best part of the evening which is the fire breathing!
This act always blows my mind. The guy was putting the flames on his arms, swallowing fire and breathing flames to the ceiling! It was so cool and I’m glad I stayed up to see it.
Note: The medieval show only runs at the tavern on Tuesdays & Wednesdays and Fridays & Saturdays. So, make sure to book the right day if you want to see the entertainment.
How much does a Prague medieval tavern experience cost?
So, Krcma Barbant does offer some all-inclusive menus or medieval feasts you can enjoy.
These include a 3-hour medieval show, a four-course meal and unlimited beers for 1400 CZK (£48/$61).
Or, you can get the show, a four-course meal and two drinks if you prefer for a little less at 1,090 CZK (£37/$47).
However, I didn’t do either of those things as I just knew I wasn’t going to be able to eat that much food or consume that much beer.
If you prefer, you can order off their ‘beggars’ menu (a la carte) which is pretty reasonably priced and they add on an extra 250 CZK to watch the show.
I ended up paying around £25 for my meal, beer and the 3-hour medieval show without the tip I added on. I thought this was a great deal.
The verdict – is a Prague medieval tavern worth doing?
The first time I visited Prague was a decade ago on a solo trip and I had such fond memories of this medieval tavern.
I just knew that on my most recent visit, I had to book again. It’s such an amazing way to spend an evening after exploring so much history.
I think eating at a Prague medieval tavern is worth it, especially if you visit Medeival Tavern U Krále Brabantského near Prague Castle.
As it is Prague’s oldest tavern, it’s brimming with history and provides an authentic medieval atmosphere.
Ultimately, it’s going to be up to you. Does a medieval restaurant suit your interests? Do you have enough time? And, does the cost fit your budget?
I’d always say that a night at the King of Brabant is worth doing and I’d go back in a heartbeat!
Other Prague medieval taverns you can visit
There are a few other Prague medieval tavern experiences you can visit in the city but I would always do your research first before you book.
I did step inside U Pavouka (Spider Tavern) to have a look around and it was a really cool venue with layers upon layers of melted candle wax, skulls and candlelit tables.
Another benefit is its located near the town square and it may be more convenient to travel to for many. They have an all-inclusive option where you get a 5-course meal, unlimited drinks and a 2.5-hour show.
However, this is a new building made to look like a medieval tavern and they cater more to larger tour groups.
You could also visit U Sedmi Svabu on Mala Strana. They also offer a medieval-style bar, with a banquet and entertainment throughout the week.