Even though tourists often don’t pay enough attention, Bratislava is a city with much to offer (for more info on this, you can follow this link. And while there is plenty to see and do during the day, the city really shines once the sun sets. That’s when the vivid nightlife comes into focus and the countless bars, pubs, and clubs elevate the atmosphere to a whole new level.
For this reason, Bratislava is the perfect place to organize a special event, such as a stag do. The offer is varied, the drinks are good and plentiful, and everything is reasonably priced. Put together, this can make for an unforgettable experience which is the proper way to say goodbye to unmarried life.
But whatever the occasion, any good party starts with some nice drinks. And for that, you need to hit the bars and similar establishments. But because you have so many options, it’s best to do your research ahead of time and come prepared. Therefore, read on.
Visitors often underestimate the prominence and quality of Slovak beer. The main reason for this is probably the fact that it is not the national drink of the Slovak Republic. That distinction would go to one of the spirits like slivovica, borovicka, or tatratea.
However, that does not mean you can’t get a good pint in Bratislava. Quite the opposite, as a matter of fact. When you visit, the first brand you’ll likely run into is Zlatý Bažant (which translates to “Golden Pheasant"). In fact, it’s possible you’ve also seen it in other countries as it is Slovakia’s most exported beer brand.
The moderately bitter Zlatý Bažant 12% is the most popular and widely-available variety. The 10% lager, on the other hand, is a bit more refreshing thanks to the lower alcohol content. You also have the Zlatý Bažant dark beer, which has a caramel taste. In addition, its Hurbanovo-based brewery also produces some special and seasonal offerings.
Another popular brand is Corgoň (“champion”). It also comes in many varieties and one popular example is the 10% Light. This refreshing ale has a delicious taste which makes it a best-seller in Slovakia. By comparison, the Corgoň 12% Lager is characterized by a more bitter taste and calls for a sturdier palate.
The last traditional brand on this short list will be Šariš. Their 12% Bohemian pilsner is the brewery’s pride and joy and has received numerous awards.
However, there is far more to Slovak beer than just the major brands. Craft beers are gaining popularity and they provide a much more diverse range of flavours than the traditional Slovak varieties.
Try Something New with Microbreweries
As mentioned, microbreweries and the craft beer industry are on the rise in Slovakia. As you would expect, Bratislava is the centre of this trend and a growing number of establishments offer home-brewed beers to anyone looking for a reprieve from the mass-produced brands. Or to anyone who simply wants a different taste. Therefore, if you want to truly experience the Bratislava drinking scene and see first-hand whether the local offer can actually measure up to the more famous Czech beers, a visit to some of the following microbreweries is an absolute must.
- Starosloviensky Pivovar
Starosloviensky Pivovar is situated in the centre of Bratislava, within walking distance of the Grassalkovich Palace. The interior is very rustic and is reminiscent of a wood cabin one could find in the mountains. There is also a very nice garden in the back if the weather allows it.
Their in-house brew is called Pressburg (the city’s old name) and comes in different varieties for you to choose from, such as light, dark, etc. They also offer Radler – a Pressburg with lemonade and additional flavours, which makes a good light refreshment. In addition, Starosloviensky Pivovar is also the perfect place to try some authentic Slovak food. For example, you can go for a soup made from a traditional cheese (bryndza) that you eat out of a home-made loaf of bread – just ask for “demikát".
- Meštiansky Pivovar
This microbrewery actually has two locations, both in the Old Town. Their signature unfiltered brew comes in two varieties. Bratislavský ležiak is a light lager while Bratislavský Bubák is a black beer. The beer contains live yeast and the brewing process ensures there is no contact with air – both are traits which contribute to the unique taste. And if you want to use it to wash something down, the kitchen offers plenty of hearty meals to sate your hunger.
- Pivovarský Hostinec Richtár Jakub
Located in the vicinity of Bratislava’s university area, Hostinec Richtár Jakub boasts a very welcoming atmosphere. The interior reminds you of an old-fashioned pub and any beer aficionado will appreciate it. You have many beers to choose from, including the house specialty Jakub. You can also order some food to help you soak up the alcohol and make room for another round.
The Best Bratislava Bars
Now we come to the main attraction of this text. Bratislava bars are plentiful and they offer a wide selection of drinks and entertainment. As a result, hitting up at least a couple of them is mandatory during any visit to the capital of Slovakia. This holds particularly true for any stag do worth its salt – you simply cannot go without a pub crawl. The party will probably graduate to a nightclub, but these places are the perfect staging ground.
Regardless of the occasion, here are five Bratislava bars you owe yourself to visit if the road takes you to this city.
Very close to Michael’s Gate, one of the more popular attractions and oldest buildings in Bratislava, you can find Zbrojnoš. If you’re looking for a Slovak pub at its best, you can hardly go wrong with this venue. The pub stretches over several levels but that doesn’t stop it from getting crowded during the weekends as it is very in-demand. Starting at 10 PM, the bar has live music performances every day except Sunday. They offer various alcoholic beverages, including beer, wine, whisky, and many more. From Thursday to Saturday, it’s open all the way to 4 AM, giving you plenty of time to enjoy yourself.
For more info, head to their website: http://zbrojnos.com/en/.
In a striking turn of events, the address Americké námestie 1, which now houses the Papichulo bar, used to be the premises of a set of public toilets. You have no reason to fear, though, as the only remnant of that time is the semi-secretive aura this amazing bar exudes. It’s the sort of place which the locals and those in the know guard jealously. You can get great local beer at affordable prices, enjoy numerous other drinks, but what really stands out is the atmosphere. It’s very laid back and you feel like you’re amongst friends. Regular events like karaoke nights, beer pong, and televised sporting events only add to this atmosphere. But do remember to bring cash.
The place is so low key that it doesn’t even have an official website, but you can find it on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/papichuloclub/.
If you’re looking for something more upscale, this amazing wine bar has all your needs covered. You will find it in the Old Town and their choice of wines is outstanding. To be precise, you have your pick of more than 250 varieties, coming from dozens of regions. There is a special emphasis on certain Slovakian, Italian, and Austrian wines and the bar is heaven for any connoisseur. Even the interior is an architectural masterpiece and a wonderful sight.
Their website is in Slovakian only, but you can get the general idea: https://www.vinimka.sk/#galeria.
- Omama Shop Café
Omama Shop Café sits near the University, below street level. It is a tucked-away venue, but one well-worth discovering. The interior looks less like a bar and more like a museum dedicated to the communist era of Slovakia (or Czechoslovakia, to be more precise). It offers a wide range of Slovak beers, together with imports from the Czech Republic. Omama is a bar which certainly stands out and deserves your attention.
Once again, it’s a Slovakian-only website, but you can glean some information from it: https://www.omamashopcafe.sk/.
- Fabrika The Beer Pub
Ending the list on a particularly high note, Fabrika has everything you could want in a bar. An amazing décor, excellent service, and great drinks on offer. In addition to the beer, which includes in-house drafts, you also have a great selection of wine and rum. Their kitchen will make sure you’re never hungry and the burgers are particularly renowned – many consider them among the best in town. All in all, Fabrika is the complete package.
For additional information, visit https://www.fabrikapub.sk/en.
Mix It up with Cocktail Bars
Finally, no good drinking tour is complete without some cocktails. Although you can get one in many bars, it’s best to go for places which specialize in them.
- Greenwich Cocktail bar
You can find this popular cocktail bar on Zelena Street. On the inside, dim lights and candles create a warm atmosphere. The menu has an extensive list of cocktails and coffee, able to suit any mood you are in. It may be difficult to get in on weekends so come early.
- Michalska Cocktail Room
Also known as the Secret Bar. To get in, you go to the top floor of the Urban Bistro and enter through a fake wardrobe. The bar has a Prohibition-era vibe and it shows by being difficult to find. However, it is a very popular spot and you may not always be able to get a seat. But if you do, the cocktails are amazing. Plus, the menu changes with the seasons so there’s always something new to try.
- The Cuba Libre Rum & Cigar House
The Cuba Libre evokes those idyllic images many associate with Cuba. A relaxed atmosphere allows you to savour your drink in peace, without any rush. Their offer of rums is unmatched and they specialize in rum-based cocktails. They also have many kinds of rolled cigars, to complete the fantasy.
As you can see, Bratislava has plenty to offer in the drinking department. Peak hours are always in the evening and many bars are open well past midnight, particularly on weekends. Microbreweries close up shop a bit earlier but it’s nothing to worry about.
If you’re interested in exploring Bratislava bars, a good way to get the most of the experience is to have a guided tour. That way, everything will be organized in advance, you won’t have to worry about getting a seat, and there are plenty of little tricks that only the locals know. Those insider tips can really make for an unforgettable night on the town, particularly if it’s a special occasion like a stag do.
But however you decide to go, just keep a few things in mind when you enter a Bratislava bar. The beer is good and affordable, therefore it’s a good choice to start. Next up, typical Slovak spirits can pack a real punch so be careful about the alcohol content. Also, bring cash and remember to tip the staff – they will appreciate it. Finally, you have many great bars in the Old Town so you can explore and try out quite a few in one night.
This all adds up to a great time and all you need to do is enjoy yourself.