Gordon Cowan first came to Prague in 1990 and now runs the oldest Irish bar in the city.
He is a foreigner who might live next door.
1. Why did you decide to move, and how long have you been living in Prague?
I first came to Prague in 1990 as part of a four-man team to fit out offices for a company called United Distillers. It was a nine-week contract, but to fulfill this we had to work seven days a week.
Our only socializing in those early days was in the British embassy social club which operated on Friday nights, where I met many other expats that had moved to Prague, and it was through these contacts that I decided to stay and see if I could continue with building work.
Fortunately, I was able to do that and even invested in gastronomy, over the years I’ve had numerous bars and restaurants, with the current one being the James Joyce Irish Bar in Prague 1.
2. Your very first impression after the relocation. What had surprised you the most?
After relocating here permanently my first impression was that it reminded me of the old cold war movies I used to watch, it took a few years for a lot of the buildings to be repaired and painted, although that was nothing compared to the numerous stamps and offices you needed to go to for official documents, or the five different people it took to buy an iron.
3. What do you do for a living?
Although I still do some renovating work, as I mentioned earlier I currently run the bar.
4. What’s one of the goals you want to achieve in your work?
One of my next tasks is to build a brand of food products to sell on-line, which we have just started with sausage, bacon, black pudding, for the breakfast lovers, and we are currently working on many other meals.
5. Name one of the most bizarre things that have happened so far in Prague.
For me back in 1998 was rather bizarre, I had a bar near the Charles bridge when the river overflowed and the water flowed down the street, all the electricity went, so no beer or lights.
Fortunately, as a builder, I had a generator, I had people crammed into the bar that I had never seen before, mainly Czech people, it was then that I realized how important beer was rather than safety.