Fill in the blank: You know you’re good friends with someone when _________. You could answer with:
“…they make you their child’s godparent.”
Or “…they name you in their will.”
Even “…they let you approve their pictures of you before posting them to Facebook.” ⇠ Aww!
But in my wanderlusty world the answer is quite different. I know I’m good friends with someone when they don’t bat an eye at my suggestion to soak in a beer bath together and know I’m 100% not joking. It’s great to have close friends to travel the world with. It’s magnificent when those friends get just as psyched at your completely bonkers ideas. This time that bonkers idea was visiting a Prague beer spa.
I enjoy indulging in the local culture when I travel so upon learning that Prague, Czech Republic is the beer-drinking capital of the world I knew I wanted to soak it all in. Specifically through my pores and whilst mostly nude.
In a city where beer is literally cheaper than water, taking a bath in the stuff seemed like a no-brainer. Hey, I’m just doing my part for the local economy. And the environment. And world freakin’ peace while we’re at it. Imagine if all the people had beer taps in their bathrooms…
You may say I’m a dreamer–but I’m not the only one.
WHAT IS A BEER SPA?
Well, it’s kind of like a regular spa, but like, if Frank the Tank ran the joint. With cold beers instead of hot stones and the blatant encouragement to drink as much as you can in one hour. It’s simultaneously exactly what it sounds like and nothing you’d expect in your wildest dreams. It’s a hot tub time machine… that you used to travel back to that time you pledged a fraternity with your boy Blue.
In real life, it’s a private room-cave where you (and up to three of your best friends who probably share their Netflix password with you) relax in 1,000-liter oak hot tubs filled with beer ingredients while enjoying unlimited dark and light Krušovice. AND eating homemade beer bread. THEN resting on a bed of wheat straw next to a fireplace. This is the standard package but the only thing standard here is the fact that I’m getting drunk in a bathtub!
I left out the parts where you laugh A LOT and some of you go home with bruises, but we’ll get to that.
It is believed (by the people who drink enough annually to inebriate a small country of SEC football fans for seven years) that beer has a wide range of health benefits. I guess they would know, right? They’re big on promoting this but you don’t have to tell me twice–I know firsthand that nothing heals a bruised ego like the one that accompanies falling out of a dance club’s shadowbox like another brewski.
And so the beer spa was born where you are promised:
- ease of muscle tension
- loads of vitamin B
- smooth skin and treatment of psoriasis, acne, and cellulite
- stimulated metabolism
- mental and physical relaxation
- detoxification of your body (Isn’t it ironic? Dontcha think?)
- increased cardiovascular activity (from laughing? Totally.)
- funnier jokes and friends who laugh more
- ability to name all the Richard Marx singles from the late ’80s
- record-breaking dressing and undressing speed
Despite popular belief, you’re not actually bathing in a tub of beer. What do you think this is? The set of The Hangover part 4? Because if it is, I’m really gonna need to speak to someone in craft services about the lack of Nutella in my trailer.
In reality (remember that?), the tub is first filled with hot bubbly water, then ground-up hops, brewer’s yeast, and malt are added. What does that spell? Beer!… Ingredients! Maybe, juuuust maybe if you sit in there long enough you’ll start to ferment and…
PIVNÍ LÁZNĚ SPA BEERLAND
There are a handful of beer spas around Prague but we chose Pivní Lázně Spa Beerland because of their great reviews, the fact that we’re fans of Krušovice beers (each spa has it’s own signature pour), and because it had a better tub setup and looked less like a brothel than its competitors. ⇠ A sentence I never thought I’d say but sometimes you just can’t candy-coat it.
And the Oscar for Best Spa Welcome goes to…
Pivní Lázně Spa Beerland! with:
Me: “We have a reservation at 7:30…”
the Manager: “Okay. Start drinking!”
Pivní Lázně Spa Beerland is conveniently located in Prague 1. ⇠ Now this means squat to me but I keep seeing it so it must mean something to someone. Here’s a map instead.
Their address is: Žitná 658 / 9, Praha 1, 110 00 but better yet, just bring along your good friend who paid for the international data.
Pivní Lázně Spa Beerland is open 10am – 10pm but reservations are highly recommended. We booked our visit a month in advance and space was already limited.
Pivní Lázně Spa Beerland offers two packages: the Beer Spa and the Spa Beer Land. The Beer Spa is the standard package that offers one hour of hot tub beer machine, unlimited beer, relaxing straw bed, and homemade beer bread. Spa Beer Land offers all of that but also time in a hop sauna and a cooling procedure afterwards.
Our group chose the standard Beer Spa experience with 2 tubs for 4 people. You can choose 1 tub, 2 people or 2 tubs, 2 people, etc. For our particular choice we paid a total of CZK 4,600 or about 188 USD ($47 per person). For other tub/people combinations and prices see this page.
Pivní Lázně Spa Beerland provides towels, sheets and blankets for the straw bed because we aren’t farm animals, storage for your skivvies, and “slippers.” I’ll get to that. The American ’80s music I love so much was also their doing.
TIPS FOR VISITING A PRAGUE BEER SPA
🍺 If you don’t come home bruised, broken and humiliated, what’s the point of traveling? I always say… However, if this is not a personal mantra of yours as it is mine I’d advise you to BRING YOUR OWN FLIP-FLOPS. And also to reevaluate your goddamn priorities because I’m surely having more fun than you.
You’re right–I did say they provided slippers. You do listen! However, the “slippers” they provide are less like shower shoes and more like something cobbled by elves during the night and used for Riverdance. What I’m trying to say is they are actually platform wooden clogs that can’t possibly be safe on a soaking wet tile floor, regardless of the fact that there is no way they chose our exact sizes before even meeting us.
If safety is a priority of yours, bring more activity-appropriate footwear. If you’re
careless carefree like my friends and I are, just run around the wet tile on your bare feet and go home with a new cache of bruises and limps to brag to your friends about.
🍺 MASTER THE ART OF THE QUICK CHANGE. There’s a one-hour limit on your Prague beer spa experience and you don’t want to waste time untangling your thongs from your pant legs. In the room, the attendant will fill the tub for you and explain the ingredients then she will literally set a kitchen timer and bolt. Your life has suddenly become every instance when Yosemite Sam tried to cook Bugs Bunny.
Bathing suit wearers: maybe arrive with your suit on under your clothes? Or don’t wear a bikini top that ties in three places like moi. Birthday suit wearers: you’re prolly good. It doesn’t take a genius to disrobe with a quickness–two minutes backstage at a fashion show will teach you that.
Note: After your hour is up, the attendant will burst through the door unannounced and unapologetic. She’ll tell you the four of you together have ten minutes to shower, dress, and git which will begin the most frantic and hilarious ten minutes of your life. Then she’ll burst back in when you’re halfway done and get a panoramic view of the night’s full moon.
🍺 LEARN HOW TO WORK A CZECH BEER TAP BEFORE YOUR VISIT. Maybe… ask a local bartender? Spend an evening at the PUB Praha beforehand (not afterwards like we did)?
Here in the U.S. we have one way of pouring beer from the tap: open and shut. It’s like a criminal case at Inspector Gadget’s firm only the villain here is a monster named Last Call. Beer taps in the Czech Republic however have a sort of lever? dial? that you can use to adjust the flow of beer.
Word to the weisse (hehe), Czechs prefer a frothier pour and often a beer that’s barely beer at all. Because of this their taps default to pour out fast AF. That’s fast as Florence Griffith-Joyner, the world record holder in the women’s 100m dash. She fast! (In other, less surprising news, the world record for “fastest time to crush three watermelons with the thighs” belongs to a woman named Olga.) I prefer my suds gently tickling me where the sun don’t shine, not bogarting all the mug space. Remember: You’re allowed unlimited beer consumption but only one hour until Yosemite Sam returns with a bib around his neck and a fork and knife in each hand.
To get a more Americanized beer pour you’ll want to slow the pour way down, as contradictory to my last statement as that may be. Luckily, they provide more mugs than there are people so you can fill a mug while you drink a mug. Also, contrary to everything they told you at American bartending school, you’re supposed to put the tap in the beer. Ya dig, varmints!?
🍺 DON’T FORGET TO RINSE! Beer pieces… in all the places. You’ll feel like a kid on the beach again, building sandcastles and wondering why your crotch is suddenly so heavy.
After your bath you’ll want to shower, like all the cool germaphobes do. You’ll need to get all the green stuff out of your butt (I hope but we’re not close enough for me to assume.) but RINSE ONLY. Don’t use soap. You’ll want to continue to absorb all the nutrients not to mention the hilarity of the situation. But do so as quickly as you can ’cause Yosemite Sam’s on her way back and this spa ain’t big enough fer the both o’ ya!
🍺 If you’re a bathing suit baster, BRING ZIPLOCK BAGS TO KEEP YOUR SUIT IN UNTIL YOU GET BACK TO YOUR HOTEL. They’ll be soaked and smell not unlike your hair after a few hours at a Las Vegas nightclub.
This is another reason you’re better off naked–but if you’re like me and want to leave a little to
the my friend’s boyfriend’s imagination, you’ll bathing suit up! Ziplocks are absolutely necessary if, like us, you hit up no fewer than three bars and a church before you head home. I forgot bags myself but luckily Lindsey brought extras. “You know you’re good friends with someone when she brings extra Ziplocks for your smelly swimsuit with the now green crotch.” (Just don’t forget to re-rinse, wring out, and hang that sum’bitch up when you get back or face disastrous packing consequences of the stank kind.)
🍺 Just because you’ve just been diligently kicked out of your spa-cave doesn’t mean the party’s over. ⇠ Another first-of-its-kind statement.
We returned to the lobby for a bit of a cool-down and were invited to KEEP DRINKING. Unlike a coworker’s baby shower, your dog’s birthday party, and your Baptist wedding reception, this is one invitation I’ll never turn down.
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Pivní Lázně Spa Beerland obviously had nothing to do with the creation of this post–because, really, no one would pay me to say these things…