Honest Guide: The Book
Sitting packed inside their favorite bar, famous YouTuber duo Janek Rubeš and Honza Mikulka reflect on some of their fondest filmmaking memories. “I would never have believed it would grow into this, man,” Rubeš said to his co-creator Mikulka.
After two years of success and over 30,000 subscribers on YouTube, Rubeš, 31, and Mikulka, 27, are branching out to a new medium: print. But unlike other guidebooks, the one that they’re creating will also include Prague’s pitfalls, tourist traps, and places to avoid at all costs.
“You can’t hold a YouTube channel in your hand,” said Rubeš, when asked how the book will be different from the duo’s videos. “I just can’t wait to be able to go up to someone and say, ‘Look, touch it!’”
Creating a guidebook to their home city has been a project long in the works for Rubeš and Mikulka, and everything seemed to fall into place when their friend Eliška Podzimková, 27, approached them to collaborate.
When her publisher asked Czech illustrator and photographer Podzimková to create a guidebook to Prague, she responded that she did not want to create it alone, because she “already knew two guys doing a wonderful job” and decided to ask them to create the print guide with her.
“We had meetings with so many people, and always after five minutes we were so bored,” said Mikulka.
The book, which includes 50 tips on what to see and do in Prague, is about 120 pages long, with each location described with an image, illustration, and descriptive text. Many spots in the guide also include QR code links to corresponding YouTube videos on the Honest Guide channel.
One of Podzimkova’s iconic images demonstrates the creativity readers will find in the upcoming book. The illustration, drawn on an image of Prague’s eye catching Dancing House, makes the building look like a cocktail, pointing out to readers that the building contains a bar on the eighth floor with an “epic view,” said Podzimková.
One of the book’s most notable features is what illustrator Podzimková calls “folly pages,” clear pages which, when held over images, point out spots to avoid. Another notable feature: no directions.
“Our guide book is mostly self dependent, meaning the reader will have to do the job to find the place,” said Milkova. “At the beginning of the book, we say to download Google Maps or Maps.cz, then it’s all up to you.”
One of Prague’s most touristy streets, Mostecká, is “filled with bullshit,” according to Rubeš. The book, containing no paid content or advertising, is not afraid to point out which places to avoid around the city.
“There are guide books that have phone numbers for places,” said Rubeš. “They charge you 30 fucking dollars, and then tell you a place’s website, telephone number, and the opening hours.”
Available in Czech and English, the group hopes the guidebook will be interesting to both tourists and residents. It is available on their website Honest.blog, and will potentially become available at bookstores or at the airport depending on its initial success.
And what’s next? Rubeš imagines releasing a second guide book, this one just for scams. “Scam guide to Prague”
After meeting twelve years ago while both filming videos in Prague, Janek Rubes and Honza Mikulka are recognized around Prague and have a global audience under the YouTube channel: Honest Guide. When they met, both were working for Stream.cz, the Czech version of YouTube. They now work for Seznam.cz, the Czech Republic’s search engine, more popular than Google in the country. Seznam pays them to make videos about whatever they want, as long as they keep uploading.
Honest Guide, Rubes and Mikulka’s current venture, has over 300,000 subscribers and is viewed by fans from around the world. It’s especially useful to expats living in Prague and tourists planning trips to the city, as Rubes and Mikulka’s mission is to point out tourist traps as well as give tips for spots.
Story by Bridie O’Connell