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Meet Pavel Mánek, Tapster at Prague’s U Veverky, and learn about this pub’s unique slang for cheers…
When I finished secondary school I worked at a pub. I know it sounds silly, but it was love at first sight for me with Pilsner Urquell. I don’t drink anything else.
U Veverky has always been a beer pub. It was started in the early 1900s by a man called Mr Veverka. In 1996 we became one of the first pubs with tank beer in 1996.
The name of the pub means ‘squirrel’ in Czech but we also use the word when we’re toasting each other here, indicating the squirrel’s tail. It’s slang for cheers. It’s become a bit of a tradition here. It’s the reason we drink and say it – to honour the original founder. My fount has a squirrel with a big tail on it, specially made for this pub.
Pilsner Urquell is a sensitive beer so you need to look after it right. It can taste different in every pub you go to. To be a great Tapster you need many things together: great service, clean lines, clean glasses, the right pour technique and to keep the beer at the right temperature.
Food is also important at U Veverky. The two most important and respected roles in a pub are the chef and the Tapster. They can make or break it.
We have a big collection of historic transistor radios around the bar. Our customers bring them in – they find them when they’re being thrown out. They do it because they love the place – our štamgasts are proud of where they drink.
Our štamgasts bring the stories to the pub. They stand around the bar and talk about everything, sharing all their thoughts with me. You need to be a psychologist as well as a pourer to be a good Tapster.
There is and always has been a strong Tapster community. I learned my art from the older Tapsters. They taught me everything I know.
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