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Na Spilce, Plzen

Na Spilce has two claims to fame. First, it’s located under the Pilsner Urquell Brewery, in what used to be part of the old fermentation cellars. Second, and more surprising, it’s the biggest restaurant in the Czech Republic, capable of seating around 700 people.

If you’re already at the brewery, head across the courtyard and through the gift shop. Walk down the staircase and the huge hall will open up in front of you, a cavernous space that once was part of the maze of cellars under the brewery, which you can see by the arched roof.

Today it’s been transformed into a modern restaurant serving classic Bohemian cuisine and a wide range of beers. Everywhere you look there are tables full of food, beer and people, including many visiting before or after going on the brewery tour.

The restaurant is five metres below ground, in the old fermentation cellars, which were known as ‘spilka’ in Czech (Na Spilce literally means At the Fermentation Room). The brewery stopped using this space for fermentation in the late 1980s and it was formally opened as a restaurant and bar in 1992.

As you would expect, it serves a perfect Pilsner Urquell. It was also one of the first tank outlets, albeit a first iteration of the technology with vertical tanks and no inner bag, which has since been updated to the new technology. Today the gleaming copper of the six 500-litre tanks is the first thing you see when you enter this delicious underground space.

The restaurant has become a destination in its own right, and not just because it sits under the brewery and is the ideal stop for anyone visiting the tour. Na Spilce pours perfect beer and, according to Robert Lobovský the Pilsner Urquell Beermaster, they “serve the best steak tartare in Czech.” What could be a better recommendation than that?