Some pubs tolerate bikers, but occasionally you come across one that not only loves them but, indeed, actively encourages them to visit. One of these is the Hotel Troníček. The hotel, where you could stay if you wanted, incorporates a public bar and restaurant with both inside and outside tables and is to be found less than forty kilometres south of the very centre of Prague in the tiny hamlet of Žampach (Hotel Troníček, Žampach 2, Jílové u Prahy 2, 254 01). It can be a tiny bit hard to find, because it is down a small lane that turns quite abruptly off of Route 105 to the south of Jílové u Prahy – but there is a sign and it is well worth looking for.
Because we live in the city, we obviously know all the clever ways through it and I expect a good SatNav would cope well enough.
Here is the easy way to start your search by more traditional means
From the Prague southern ring road, the E50/D0, take exit 82. It is about 14 kilometres from there to Žampach
Take Route 105 in the direction of Psáry and just keep following it.
In Psáry, the 105 veers quite sharply left at a small roundabout. Take care on the exit, there is a cobbled area on the exit line, presumably put there to deter speeding motorcycles !!
Just keep following the 105 as it twists uphill through the woods until, eventually, you come to a downhill stretch as you enter Jílové u Prahy.
In the square, keep following the 105 as it turns downhill. Be careful, the first bit is cobbled and some cars (and motorcycles !) coming up sometimes seem more concerned with that fact than their position on the road ….
Go all the way down the hill and under the railway.
The lane to Žampach is on the right about half a kilometre after the railway bridge. It comes up quite quickly, so be prepared !
The surface is not great in places, particularly at the top and the way is quite steep. Strategically placed mirrors assist with a couple of blind corners and you do need to be wary of cyclists and hikers.
The hotel is at the bottom of the slope – you cannot miss it !
The hotel building itself is situated in a quiet and beautiful location, not quite beside the Sázava river, but presumably just far enough up the hill to avoid all but the worst of the occasional floods. On the river itself, there is a lagoon where canoeists are usually to be found because of the road access directly to the waterside. The canoeists, together with hikers and cyclists probably, in fairness, make up the bulk of the hotel’s trade – but the whole place, from the parking lot
to the external decor
to the bar not only has a strong “biking” ethos but, more importantly, a Harley Davidson one !
There is even an immaculately clean Harley just inside the lobby !
The food is good, simple fare, gourmet dining this definitely is not – but it is well prepared, nicely cooked and always tasty. It is hard to say this without sounding a bit cheesy, but it is family run and all the staff are friendly and welcoming and it is obvious they enjoy what they do.
It is quite a “Czech” place, so the menu is only in Czech – but the translation program on your ‘phone would cope with it and the proprietor’s wife has a smattering of English. Even if, heaven forbid, you ended up ordering something you do not normally have – it is unlikely that you would not enjoy it !
I chose the Vepřový steak “HD” (obviously). This is a chunky pork steak with bacon, hermelín cheese (Czech Camembert), fries and tartare sauce. Lucie opted for the Vepřový řizek, which is the Czech equivalent of Wiener schnitzel and came with potato salad and a pickled gherkin. Both were predictably well cooked and delicious. The potato salad was particularly nice (I stole some !).
There is a wide variety of beers but I was driving and Lucie does not drink so we both opted for the “pomelo a grep” (Pomelo and grapefruit) variety of the “Birell” non-alcoholic beer range from the Radegast brewery (which was on tap). It might sound a bit weird, but we both like it and it is very refreshing on a hot day.
The same brewery also produces more conventional beers in a non-alcoholic form and I swear if you did not know it was not the real thing you would have to drink lots before you realised you were not drunk.
It was a very pleasant lunch in a great and welcoming location.