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The forest bar can check the honesty of visitors. The decent ones win, but only narrowly

They bet on customers who will pay honestly themselves. Veronika and Zdeněk Baran – the operators of the self-service forest bar U Kopaniny with a beautiful view of the castle in Hradec nad Moravicí – know that not everyone deserves their trust.

The Barans are standing at the new cash register. It is already concreted, so the theft of money has stopped.

| Photo: Diary/Radim Šlezingr

Imagine that you go for a walk in nature, you go up a dirt road to a hill, and on it you have refreshments in the gazebo of a pleasant forest bar. You can choose from drinks or sweets on offer, but the staff is absent. And it’s up to you to “play fair” and pay.

When 38-year-old Zdeněk Baran from Bohučovice received a piece of forest from his grandmother on a hill on the border of the cadastres of Hradec nad Moravicí and Chvalíkovice in the Moravian-Silesian Region, he wondered how he would use it.

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“There was a mess here, it’s rattling. We went to see it here with our friend Milan. I told him that it would be good to do something here, because there is a beautiful view of Hradec Castle. So we started clearing the forest. First we made one bench and a fireplace. We saw that people were coming here, so we gradually started to expand it,” explains Zdeněk Baran, operator of the forest bar.

The forest bar has been officially operating since March 2021. It is currently a popular stop for walks by people from the wider area. Zdeněk and his wife found the inspiration to build it in Lipová-lázně, where another forest bar has been operating for years.

There is a shelter in the bar, children can ride on the slide.There is a shelter in the bar, children can ride on the slide.Source: Diary/Radim Šlezingr

“The costs it cost me here are far from back. And how many hours of work we have done here… When I started building it, everyone discouraged me, including my family. They told me I was crazy, that he would go through with it. But we put it together,” says Zdeněk Baran, who also makes a living as a truck driver.

He had to buy a piece of land for a driveway, put gravel on it and put up no trespassing signs because some people used to drive up to the bar.

He and his wife bring goods to the forest bar several times a week. They always arrive in the morning, deliver goods in two special concrete rings with lids and drive back home. Visitors can choose their own alcoholic and non-alcoholic beers, juices and lemonades. Bars, wafers and other sweets are also on offer. At the weekend, even sausages are prepared in the fridge, there is also a fireplace, wood and paper for kindling. The best season for this forest bar is spring and then autumn.

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“There are months when almost nothing is sold, but sometimes we sell sixty beers in a weekend. When we hold an event and have outdoor music here, three large kegs of beer are also sold,” describes the bar owner, adding in one breath that they also organize larger weekend events – for example, a drakiad for children or burning witches. At most, around two hundred people came. They are now preparing to celebrate the bar’s third anniversary.

And now the main thing: do all bar patrons pay fairly? “Sometimes thieves come. It happens that we give full circles of goods, but there is no money. Especially during the summer holidays, mostly schoolchildren do it. If the economy was in the red, I’d give up on it. But we are still in the plus or it is even,” Zdeněk Baran admits.

Drinks are stored in concrete rings.  Everyone can serve themselves.Drinks are stored in concrete rings. Everyone can serve themselves.Source: Diary/Radim Šlezingr

Once he even considered closing the forest bar. That’s when the money box was destroyed. It was originally on a tree, but some vandal ripped it off and stole it. Now there is a new cash register in the bar – a solid iron pipe embedded in concrete. The problems with her being robbed are over.

The Barans want to continue operating and developing the bar. They themselves love the place with a beautiful view of the castle in Hradec nad Moravicí. “When it’s nice, we make arrangements with our friends and go here for coffee,” says Veronika Baranová. And even if some of the goods are lost without anyone paying for them, the couple still want to dedicate theirs to the bar energy. “There are more good people, honest ones,” adds Mrs. Veronika.

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