Enjoying a Czech beer at the Svejk pub in Stockholm

01-07-2004

The Czech pub Krogen Soldaten Svejk - which of course translates as the Good Soldier Svejk in English - is located in the lively district of Soldermalm, south of Stockholm's city centre. The manager of the "hospoda" is Jari Ounasvuori, a Finnish man married to the daughter of the Czech couple who set the pub up in the mid 1970s. When I stopped by one evening, I asked him what Czech beers they had at the Krogen Soldaten Svejk.

Krogen Soldaten Svejk pub, photo: AuthorKrogen Soldaten Svejk pub, photo: Author "I have 11 different kinds, and I can tell you Prazdroj, Staropramen, Bernard, Krusovice and so on."

What's the best-selling? What's the most popular of all the Czech beers here in Stockholm?

"Prazdroj, Staropramen and Bernard in this pub."

Do some of your customers just take this as a pub, without thinking about it as Czech, just as a place to get good beer? Or do they take it as in some way representative of Czech culture?

Good Soldier SvejkGood Soldier Svejk "Hopefully they're going to take it like Czech culture, but often on weekends, like on Saturdays, they don't know where they are stepping into. So we are trying to tell them to try the different beers and find out what it is all about."

In front of us on the wall there's a map of the Czech Republic with a lot of pins in it? What do these pins represent?

"They are the beers, the pivos that have been here in Svejk in Stockholm since 1974. And it's approximately 40 different kinds."

You've had 40 different kinds of Czech beers over the years here?

"Yes, we have. And unpasteurised too, seven or eight."

What's your personal favourite beer?

"Prazdroj!"

Tell me, I've just tried one of your beers and it's pretty good - is it as good as it would be say in a Czech pub in Prague?

"Absolutely, that is a guarantee from me."

I see also you have a lot of Czech...memorabilia on the walls. Where did all that stuff come from, all the beer signs and so on? Where did you get all these things?

"When I go to Praha I usually look for them. Or we get them from the suppliers and the agents in Sweden also. But I'm looking a lot myself too to find something."

You told me the pub was started by your parents-in-law. Are they still here, do they work here still, or do they spend any time in the pub anymore?

"They are here, they are living here in Sweden. They are helping me out. Mr Zdenek Vavra is helping me out, because he is the man that is teaching me about this."

Do you speak Czech yourself?

"I only can speak a few words with the family and my kids and so on, but...not more."

So your kids maybe speak Czech more than you do, do they?

"Yes they do. At home we speak Swedish, Finnish and Czech. It's a little bit funny!"

To find out more about the pub please go to www.svejk.se (in Swedish). On the website you'll find - along with reviews of Prague's best pubs - a link to the beer culture page on the Radio Prague site.

01-07-2004

Choose Karel Gott´s greatest hit (More)