The pub is a notion under which anybody who spent at least some time in the Czech Republic is able to imagine something specific. Of course, it actually covers diverse types of catering facilities. Other facilities, on the other hand, do not acknowledge this name even if they could. Similarly, individual people’s ideas as to what exactly Czech pub stands for differ to a greater or lesser degree.
Nonetheless, one might say that the phenomenon brings out a surprisingly consistent picture in the minds of the general public.
For Czech society, the pub represents, above all, a place where beer is draught. It is a popular establishment and an establishment for people. It is quite far from the image of a noble venue. Typical of the pub is unrefined environment with tablecloths weighed down by last night, toilets that do not exactly smell of a meadow in bloom and an eternal cloud of a bluish smoke lazily rolling about over the heads of guests. In Czech pub, minor interior imperfections are compensated for by informal and serene environment, where friends and acquaintances meet, where entertainment is good, where one can chatter and chat just about anything as well as negotiate cash jobs and assistance of most diverse types. It does not require the visitor to show extensive familiarity with social bon ton, it rather lures him/her with relaxed entertainment and unique titbits such as a pub goulash, sausage with onion or beer cheese. The general public sees such a facility as a kind of cultural monument to which Czech population has ties for many reasons and which it considers its family silver.
Although the outlined picture must necessarily be simplified, it is possible to use it as an ideal type to analyse the position of the pub in Czech society and the roles it discharges for it and its individual members.
It is possible to analyse at least three aspects of almost any social institution: the point of society as a whole, the point of various social groups and the point of an individual. Within this framework, it is then possible to assess the roles the specific institution plays for the entire society, for social groups most affected by it and, finally, the roles that it represents for individuals who get in contact with it. Of course, this is an analytical division designed, in particular, for a more specific and comprehensive interpretation. In reality, such levels are hardly possible to be clearly distinguished as the individual roles and features operate in various forms at several levels, are in mutual interconnections and affect one other. This is also the case of the institution of the pub.