I’ll never forget my frost visit to Caru Cu Bere over 10 years ago. Caru Cu Bere, literally “The Beer House” is so much more than just beer, although they do have great draft. This is the most famous and luxurious restaurant in Old Bucharest, and was even able to survive the communist times.
My first visit occurred 10 years ago when we first ran our Eurasian Adventure Tour. At this time Bucharest was famous for its numerous amount of stray dogs, as well as issues with local Gypsy population, with allegations of crime among other things.
I will not delve into the Romani element, but as for the dogs? Really rather harmless, I do not have a photo, but one member of our group had photos of himself sleeping with the dogs – very Tarzanesque.
The Caru Cu Bere Story
Care Cu Bere literlady means beer wagon, rather than beer house, although people will give you differing translations. The restaurant was originally opened in 1978 by two citizens of the Austro-Hungarian Empire from Transylvania. It was initially a brewery, hence the name.
In 1897 Nicolae Mircea brought the building on 5 Stavropoleos Street hiring an Austrian architect to build the restaurant in “Gothic style”. Romania has changed a lot since 1897, Care Cu Bere not so much so.
The restaurant was to remain in the family until the communist revolution at which point the restaurant was nationalized, it did though remain not only open, but was still cherished as somewhat of a national treasure.
Caru Cu Bere and the communist era
The communist era in Romania is not exactly celebrated by many and while some countries have some red nostalgia, you will see little of it in Romania, baring maybe Scornicesti, the hometown of President Ceausescu.
Bucharest was also hardly famous for having much cuisine, or indeed food. Care Cu Bare on the other hand remained largely fully stocked and was popular haunt for senior communists in Romania.
The end of communism in Romania
In 1986 when large swaths of the city were being destroyed by the regime Care Cu Bere was extensively restored by the communists. Following the fall of the Eastern Bloc the Mircea fought to regain ownership of the property, which they managed in 1998.
Major renovations were then done and after 50 years locked out the original owners were able to restore it to its former glory. The restaurant is now a must for anyone visited Bucharest, at least in our humble opinion.
What is Caru Cu Bere like to visit today?
It is located in the old town of Bucharest, ever popular for stag parties due to cheap beer and of course strippers. The old town of Bucharest though is far from sleazy and has a number of high-end bars and restaurants, at the top of this pile is Caru Cu Bere. And yes you will need a reservation to eat here.
The decor is distinctive art nouveau and the whole place exudes class. Whilst you eat there are often dancer preforming waltzes, classical music being payed, people dressed as clowns and just an indescribable ambience to the restaurant. And while it is “expensive” by local standards, it is so cheap by European standards for the quality you get mixed in with the location.
Drinking at Caru Cu Bere
Being called the beer house the restaurant does not disappoint offering a range of amazing local draft beers, better still saved in one lire glasses. I am no wimp when it comes to beer, but these are literally hard to even lift up. They also have fine Romanian Brandy, very akin to rake, one of the loves of my life!
To read about Albanian Rakia click here.
Big beers still only cost a few euro and shots can be gotten for next to nothing. When all things are considered drinking at care cu bere is not bad!
Make no mistake though Caru Cu Bere is no bar, but more an amazing restaurant that has great drinks.
Eating at Caru Cu Bere
Care Cu Bere has a traditional Romanian menu, but also including dishes from throughout he region, including Bulgaria and Hungary for example. There are so many stand out dishes, but what I particularly enjoyed was the soup in a bread bowl (always a winner) and the Romanian take on kebabs.
Care Cu Bere has a range of salads, vegetarian, vegan, as well as cheaper options. Even if you go crazy here, drink and have 3 courses you are unlikely towrope more than about 40 Euro, again very fair prices with everything considered.
Whatever you crave or desire in an Eastern European context can be found here, with Romanian and Eastern European food being very much underrated. When your staples are meat and potatoes can you really go wrong?
What makes Caru Cu Bere one of the be restaurants in the world?
It truly is an mixture of all the above points, great food, great location. great drinks and superb value. Couple this with the ambience and you feel like you have time traveled to a bygone age where people feasted and dressed to the nines to have any kind of meal.
If this restaurant were in London, Paris, or Rome you’d seen hundreds on your meal.. It is not, it is in Bucharest, a great city surrounded by amazing history. A perfect recipe to make Caru Cu Bere one of my favorite restaurants in the world.