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Dark and brooding subterranean coffee haunts rub shoulders with chic, stripped down hipster dives and soothing Oriental tea rooms in Kraków, a town so brimming with cafés and places to drink that it’s been hailed as a rival to even Vienna on the coffee culture front. Here’s a selection of ten of the best that the city has to offer.
A Spartan affair of wooden tables, flickering candles, frothy coffees and steaming teas, Dym is one of the few genuine bohemian dive cafés left between the central streets of Kraków’s Old Town, home to a resident crowd of budding artists, poets, writers and painters, who are usually found puffing away at roll ups and discussing philosophy or literature until the early hours. Despite the central location, this one can actually be a little difficult to find, because it’s sandwiched between two other, much larger establishments, whose crowds of al fresco smokers often conceal its shadowy and unassuming entrance on small Świętego Tomasza.
Dym, Świętego Tomasza 13, Kraków, Poland, +48 124296661
Nestled on charming Felicjanek Street, away from the hubbub and crowds of Kraków’s central square, this bookshop come coffee house is another favorite with English speakers living in the city. Guests are free to roam between the looming bookcases of titles while sipping their brew and devouring a homemade cake, while others opt to settle at one of the dimly lit tables in Massolit’s enchanting first room. Regular literary events and readings also make this one worth watching right throughout the year.
Massolit Books, ul. Felicjanek 4, Kraków, Poland, +48 124324150
This funky mashup of 1960s and 70s paraphernalia comes complete with all the leopard print, psychedelic geometrics, dim, gaudy lighting, classic radio ware, fuzzy lamps and patterned seating you’d expect of a retro coffee house whose name translates literally to ‘calm.’ In the day this one’s filled with book reading locals making the most of the cheap brews and various herbal teas. By night, it gets a little rowdier, with crowds of cigarette smoking bohemians crashing out on the plush sofas upstairs. Next door there’s also a cool sister café called Cisza, which is perfect if you find Spokój packed to the brim.
Spokój, ul. Bracka 3-5, Kraków, Poland, +48 517243645