Excavating Bavarian “pub paintings” in Bologna
The story of starting an Italian pub crawl with a Bavarian pub in Bologna.
(The mentioned pubs: Ein Prosit, Bologna)
I arrived to Bologna by train. The surroundings of the railway station are like anywhere else; the very first impressions didn’t seem to be a proper fridge magnet material. Beggars were sleeping on the edge of the fountain right at the exit. The alert ones immediately set off for the rolling luggage bags and the easy prey looking tourist-alike person, who stopped to take a selfie with the station, namely towards me. I did not actually mind that, it had its own charisma. For the price of a blurred selfie, I managed to get away of them in the crossroads. Meanwhile in the 9PM dusk, the illuminating contours of a “BAR” label immediately seduced me to have my very first Bologna Pubtourist experience. At the end I rather decided to first leave my luggage in the hostel and return relieved, only with the keys in my pocket. I took the right decision. By the way, the city is full of neon light BAR labels as if they were international logos, mostly hanging upright in green and pink colours.
The Italians did not seem to use different words for a pub other than calling them simply bars. That is completely common and comfortable, they don’t prettify it. Though, they lump together bars of different standards, they do call them very rarely a “birreria” (brasserie in Italian) and even less often label them as a bistro. Even the places which sell coffee and alcohol in the same amount are often labelled as bars. Yet despite the terminology, there are barely any bar chairs which differs from the globally used bar culture. I visited in total fifteen bars in Bologna and Padova in these days and I could only find bar chairs in three of them. And two of those represented another nation’s bar style. Let’s start with the first one. This is how I got there:
The hostel approximately was about a ten-minute walk from the railway station and the place to pick up the key was within the distance of another two minutes. Hm, that is four minutes back and forth! After a quick mental arithmetic, I felt impatient enough to find the first toilet only after leaving my stuff in the accommodation, especially that the more than a hundred years old cobble stones made it even more difficult to run quickly through the way in the company of my faithful friend, the wheeled luggage. I faced a mutant roundabout where I could use the pedestrian crossing in an L-shape (wow!). Meanwhile, I was checking the venues hiding under the famous arcades and looking for one that seemingly promised to offer a 3 in 1 deal with a neat toilet, nice atmosphere and opportunity to charge my phone. I did not want to start my Italian pub crawl with exploring a Bavarian pub but I did not have time to be too picky at that very moment. And when you see such a huge Bavarian sausage, and so many Bavarian beer mugs in the window, there is not much hope left not to be that Bavarian, but Italian.
However, inside I received an unexpected and even greater globalized mix: in a Bavarian pub in Italy, a Polish bartender wearing a T-shirt with the American Batman’s logo was trying to serve me in English. Benvenuto a Bologna! By the way, the guy was cool and we quickly switched to Italian. The place also seemed to be nice. If I already chose it by knowing that it was a Bavarian pub, then I did not have the right to blame it not to be Italian.
The place called Ein Prosit (overall station no. 343, Bologna station no. 1) is cosy, spacious and it has a huge terrace:
Inside there are more separated rooms, plus a long bar, incredible lots of bar stools and even a complete restaurant kitchen. The setup was full of Bavarian beer mugs, Bavarian flags and they offered a surprisingly wide variety of Paulaner beer.
I have never seen so many different types of Paulaner at a time in one place ever. I tried two kinds and in the meantime, I had time to make a note about them at least. One of them was a glass of St. Thomas and the other was the Paulaner Salvator. Both tasted pretty well, I will remember them from now on.
The place is not part of a franchise. You can’t find another Ein Prosit in Munich, Budapest and not even in Bologna. I just started to have my second glass of beer when the staff shaked up my German experience with some lively Italian spirit. The bartender girls were dancing and singing together and Batman also made his own part by playing music, Chihuaha from DJ Bobo, so Switzerland and Mexico also joined the great international music parade. However, what I saw and experienced was something I call truly Italian. And you probably would not be able to find this kind of German atmosphere in Germany either. The German beer coming from an Italian tap is still Italian and it does not matter if it is served with Bavarian sausage and cabbage or with American hamburgers with fries. And I am telling this while I actually like Germany. However, there you need to find the right places to go and enjoy this way, while in Italy, you would probably find something like this any given pubs.
When I looked around, people were just having a drink and some of them were also eating quite toothsome food, so I asked and found out, that people normally come here to satisfy both needs.
Besides the Paulaner beer, you can find Prosecco, too. The terrace also seemed busy, people were coming and going frequently, and there were enough waiters to serve all the guests and all of them were quite nice and helpful. They even helped me to find my lodging after my map application failed. If I lived here, I would definitely come back to this place at least once more, but I had to leave this time.
To be continued.
Previous posts in the Bologna-Padova series: