Last week we met up with couple Iveta born in Hořice in Czechia and her husband Nick born in Brisbane, Australia. They met whilst travelling in Vietnam and in 2017 they decided to move to Prague with the idea in mind to open a bar or restaurant.
In May 2020 at the end of the first lockdown when restrictions were being lifted, they opened their pub ‘Shromaždiště’ on Krásova in Žižkov. Shromaždiště, which translates to ‘gathering’ or ‘assembly point’, is a classic looking Czech pub but with a twist – as all their food and drinks are vegan. Thankfully most beers are vegan!
We had a conversation with Iveta and Nick to find out what they and their pub is all about.
‘Our aim is to be a traditional, affordable local pub with good beer, good music, good food, in a friendly and relaxed atmosphere. Instead of marketing ourselves as a pub for vegans (or a Vegan Pub), we see ourselves as a pub first and foremost, that just happens to serve vegan food. Our menu is a mix of veganized Czech pub food such as topinka, výpečky (our bestseller) and international pub grub like burgers and loaded fries. We serve a mix of typical Czech lagers, and more craft styled beers like pale ales.’
As a vegan, food options in pubs in the Czech Republic (or anywhere in the world for that matter) are pretty limited. Thankfully, almost all beers are vegan. Having a pub to go where you can have a drink and choose from anything on the menu just brings a little piece of normality to life. Basically, we wanted to open the sort of place we would like to hang out at.
Music plays a big part in that too. A lot of pubs here don’t put much focus on music, many will have only the radio on, at most. While you can’t cater to everyone’s taste in music, we try to have a varied playlist while still concentrating on good pub music. In case anybody is missing good Aussie music, no worries we have those covered too. With tunes from more obscure ’80s speed metal bands to more well-known acts like Spiderbait and Powderfinger.
We furthermore want to show people that vegan food isn’t something to be apprehensive about or shy away from. That is why our menu reflects what you would find in a regular pub. Food that goes down well over a pint of beer with mates. The fact we serve vegan food is not glaringly obvious but is just noted on our menu that all of our food is 100% made from plants.
There is a small number of people that have never tried vegan food before, and some do walk out to find something else to eat. Some are very curious about our plant-based food and are always pleasantly surprised. Some of those have become valued regulars.
Cooking can feel restrictive when being vegan. It forces you to think outside the box and expand your cooking skills, especially when you are making vegan versions of classic dishes. The meals on our menu we have been cooking for years as others we experiment as we go along.
We want our pub to be a place where everyone can feel welcome, relaxed, and enjoy a drink and something to eat. Having a vegan menu is what sets us apart from other classic pubs. On top of that, you can get a half liter of 11-degree beer with us for under 30 Kč.
Finding the right location was the most challenging part, and it took us nearly 3 years to find the spot we are in now. Opening during the pandemic made things a bit tricky too, it’s been tough! We found our premises in January, and we originally had planned to open on April 1st, but that was delayed due to the first lockdown.
In the four and a half months we have been open, we are increadibly happy with the response we got from our customers. Many have become regulars and event friends. At the moment we are selling takeaway meals and beer from our window. We are super thankful for the continuous support we are receiving to help us get through these uncertain times.
We will continue down the same path as we are on and are currently working on some new dishes to expand our menu as well as looking at a broader selection of beer once things get back to normal.
Before opening this pub, we ran a little store in the same area called Ekobchod, selling vegan grocery products and ecological beauty and household products. We closed our physical store when opening Shromaždistě, but we now have an e-shop. So, if people are interested in these types of products, they can check us out at ekobchod.cz. We’ll soon be adding a feature to the site so people can order online and pick up their order in the pub.
This article was written in collaboration with Colours Of Prague.