Posts Tagged ‘The Augustine’

11:06 am

sv Tomas and The Augustine

My parish here is sv Tomáš.

(The church is tucked into an alley, which makes it difficult to get a good shot.) It was established in the 13th century and there is an Augustinian monastery attached to it. The summer refectory and cloister gardens are used for such gatherings as hospitality after Mass and the annual parish festival:

Father William claims that the cloister garden figures in the carol "Good King Wenceslaus": this is where the poor man was gathering his winter fuel.

The monastery, though, was built for dozens, perhaps even hundreds, of monks, but is now home to only six. This is a common story in Prague: there are dozens of churches and monasteries for which there is little or no need in this era. Rather than demolish them, however, they tend to be repurposed. And so some, such as sv. Mikuláš (both the Jesuit-built one in Malá Strana and the Hussite one near Staroměstské náměstí), are used primarily for concerts, and others, such as Klášter sv. Anežky České (the Convent of St. Agnes of Bohemia) or Klášter sv. Jiŕí (St. George Convent) have become museums.

Part of the monastery at sv. Tomáš, though, has now become a hotel. The Augustine is Prague’s newest 5-star hotel. The hotel also bought the recipe to sv. Tomáš’s beer (the monks stopped brewing it in 1952, although some guidebooks still contain references to it), and they’re serving it in their bars and restaurants.

I visited on Saturday, after Mass (about 7 PM). This is not a good time to be opening a 5-star hotel, and the place was largely deserted. When I visited The Brewery, located appropriately enough in the former monastery brewery, there was only one occupied table, and they left shortly after I arrived. I enjoyed a pleasant chat with the bartender, who was understandably lonely, poor girl.

I had a glass of the sv. Tomáš beer, which was tasty: dark, but not bitter. At 55 Kc (approximately $3) for 0.3 liter, though, I don’t see it catching on.

I also wandered upstairs to check out Tom’s Bar which adjoins the restaurant. It’s a beautiful space, but again only one table was occupied. It looked as though there was only one occupied table in the restaurant as well. I don’t know if live music is a nightly feature or only on weekends:

I wonder what Václav II, who established the church and monastery, would think of this.

Looking for more?

Add to Technorati Favorites

follow webgeekstress at
Random books from my "Currently Reading" stack...