The Best Little Wine Bar In A Place You've Probably Never Heard Of

U Lasiku is a funky little wine bar housed in an old wheelsmiths in the village of Únětice.

We've got a New Favorite Place.

At least for a few weeks, until a possible Even Newer Favorite Place opens up just down the street from the first New Favorite Place.

Let me explain.

Nothing interesting ever happens out here in the sticks where we live, in the village of Černý Vůl, west of Prague. But now we've got reason to be excited about two new additions to the neighborhood.

And Daisy and I decided to set off on a bike ride the other day in an effort to hit both hotspots.

Daisy on the road. I can't remember just where. But how nice is that cycling?!

We started off in Černý Vůl, headed down into Statenice, and then decided to tackle the big, long -- I said long, right? -- hill that rises up out of Statenice toward Lichoceves. It's a cruncher of a climb, and we haven't been riding much, but both of us summited successfully.

From Lichoceves, we took the road leading to Noutonice, and from there to the phonetically challenged Svrkyně. From there to Kozinec, and then Tursko, and then down into Úholičky.

We'd had a mind to stop off at The Smallest Pub In The World, which never seems to be open when you want it to be. And it maintained its reputation on this day. It was closed. I now realize it only opens at 5 p.m. everyday, which would seem to rule out a lot of business from thirsty bikers. Go figure.

The cheapest half-liters?

We decided to take our business across the street to a pub that I can never remember the name of but which is very welcoming to cyclists. Especially considering that a half-liter of beer is, I believe, 17 CZK ($1), which would be this year's winner (so far, at least) of the cheapest half-liter. I say I believe, because I think I overpaid for our round. I thought they were 22 CZK each, and gave the guy 50 and told him to keep it. But on our way out, the sign seemed to say 17.

Which means just one thing: I'm going to have to go back and do more research.

Our friends Fiona and Rory

From Úholičky, we climbed back up out of the valley toward Roztoky. Another steep climb. And then it was down into our neighboring village of Únětice, which is where all the excitement is happening.

We wanted to check out a cute little wine bar/cafe that we'd been hearing a lot about.

Our route, before my Garmin conked out:

Now, Únětice is not the first place you think of when you say the word wine bar (although interestingly enough Únětice does have an early Bronze Age culture named after it, so it does have that going for it).

But let me tell you about U Lasiku.

It's housed in a former wheelsmiths, and it couldn't be more charming. Funky furniture scattered about, both inside and outside. Bric-à-brac galore. Friendly owners. A cute scraggly dog who'll curl up at your feet (on your feet, actually). And a lovely array of drink (Czech wine, German wheat beer on tap!) and food (homemade sweet and savory tarts, Caprese Salad, homemade sour pickles, and the like).

It was everything we'd hoped it would be. And it's just a short walk from our house in the next village up.

No sooner had we sat down than Fiona Gaze and her fiance, Rory Houlihan, strolled in. They live in Roztoky, and they'd been among the folks to tell us about U Lasiku in the first place. We had a great chat as we drank and ate.

As if U Lasiku weren't enough, Únětice is also the home of the new Únětický Pivovar, a small brewery that I'd heard wasn't supposed to open until mid-June but which we'd gotten word that it might have opened early. It's housed in the building of a previous brewery that began cooking beer way back in 1710 but which went out of business in the 1950s, I believe.

That was the other destination that Daisy and I had in mind. So all four of us headed over but discovered that, indeed, it's not scheduled to open until June 11.

But how cool is all this? A craft brewery and a new wine bar, both just down the street!

Life in Černý Vůl just got a whole lot more interesting.

Stay tuned for more about the brewery in an upcoming post.

Length of ride: 25 kilometers
Average speed: 15.8 kph
Maximum speed: 47.8 kph
Pivo Index: 3.5
Time on the bike: 1.34.38
Distance ridden so far in 2011: 144 kilometers

The outside of U Lasiku (above) and various shots inside and outside the place, including the delicious homemade tarts (below).

Scenes from the ride: a poppy in a field of rapeseed, rose bushes abloom, fields of young wheat swaying in the breeze, country architecture.


Mark N. said…
Nice report! We'll have to do that ride soon. BTW, I kept wondering why U Lasiku sounded familiar.

Then I remembered we took my mother-in-law there for her birthday awhile back.

I would have had more fun with you guys. ;-)
This sounds great. If only a few more Czech villages had nice quirky places like this. I'm a bit fed up with pub goulash and grilled meat with "American" potatoes fried straight from the freezer.
Grant Podelco said…
I hear you, man. I feel very lucky to have a few quality places around me to catch some grub during a ride, including Family Hotel Okor. Take care. Good to hear from you.
Yes, I took Mrs Circuit Rider and the in-laws to Hotel Okor on your recommendation, and it truly is a gem. The food was excellent and they were playing some really cool French ethnic fusion music. Thanks for the tip!
Grant Podelco said…
Fantastic! Great to hear it. Was just there for lunch while cycling with some friends at the weekend. Had a lovely time. I've also just been turned onto this place, not far away:
Looks good as well. Thanks again.
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