The interesting thing about Karlin’s Holy Foodie Trinity, i.e. Muj salek kavy, Tea Mountain and Veltlin, is that none of these places are about food. But it still lures foodies from the entire town to enjoy great coffee, tea and wine. We do love the Veltlin wine bar for many reasons, the main one being the owner, Bogdan Trojak. Bogdan is a fascinating man: a poet, a writer, a winemaker, the founder of the “Authentic” (read “natural”) winemakers and the man behind the awesome Prague Drinks Wine festival. He’s also one of the nicest people on the Prague foodie scene.
And his personality is reflected in the wine bar: it is unpretentious and pure in a sense. They will not wow you with hundreds of bottles for the sake of having hundreds of bottles. They will not have the priciest bottles in town. What they will have instead are natural (read "bio-dynamic") wines from what used to be the Austro-Hungarian Empire that have been grown, picked and processed without any chemistry, with respect to the land, to the grape and to the nature itself. We recommend you just sit down, take a journey through the valleys of the Central European wine regions, and enjoy. That's what we do, anyway.
The nice thing about natural wines is that there's always a story behind them. They are not made by big multinational conglomerates or former venture capitalists who drive their Porsches to the vineyards because "they are winemakers too". They are usually made by descendants of old winemaking families who lived in the valley for generations. And meeting them in the basement of the Veltlin wine bar for a guided tasting of their wines is one of the nicest things you can do in Prague in our book. See you there, okay?
When to come: The bar tends to be fairly empty on opening (5pm) so that’s a great time if you want to drink alone. (BTW, if you do want to drink alone, you might be an alcoholic.) That said, the bar tends to fill up around 7pm we think. Still, the best time is to come for a wine tasting guided by the winemaker him or herself. Check their FB profile or website for upcoming events.
Where to sit: We like the table by the window. Better yet, the tables outside on the street are a must in the summer.
What to order: They do have about six bottles open by glass, so we would start with that. We have a soft spot for wines by Mr Osicka, whom we visit as part of our wine tours. A wine philosopher, the king of analogies (you have to visit to understand) and the best producer of Czech Chardonnays in our book.
What to beware of: The bar is closed on Sundays, a fact we sometimes tend to forget. Also, our own empirical studies have shown a strange correlation between the guided wine tastings and a state of elevated drunkedness. We will have to investigate further for more accurate results.
Instagram-worthiness: Fairly high. The hand-drawn map of the Austro-Hungarian Empire is definitely Instagram-worthy (we like how the author clearly had a better idea of what was happening in the Empire’s Western rather than Eastern part), as is the wine-related wallpaper. And shelves of wine bottles always Instagram well: the salivating factor is very high here.