Deep in a basement bar in Bratislava, huddled over drinks in our winter coats, exposed arches of brick leaning towards us, I’m starting a new love affair. Stifled in this cavern (but more so by the presence of the prickly bar girl than the low curves of the ceiling) I’m slowly falling head over heels for the cerny pilsners of the brewery up the road. The honeycomb nectar is sweet; the complexion is deep and alive with a ruby hue. My tall sparkling pint is rich but simultaneously light and its disposition is such that I could sit here all day, absorbing its virtues and the radiating atmosphere of this wonderful Slavic drinking den. After one I’m allured, after two I’m in love, but three’s just too much (the sweetness becomes sickly). A cold walk on the surface, a swift subterranean golden lager, and slowly, as we traverse the cobbles, bridges and basements, the day adopts a drinkers haze. Laughter, discussion, banter and inquisition ensues, and around the table lager – both dark and light – fuels our discourse of merriment.

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