From swish spots to quirky boho bars bubbling up from between the historic buildings of Kraków’s old Jewish Quarter, this famous Polish city has many top cocktail bars. Here are 10 of the best.
Movida Cocktail Bar
Risen from the old and respected bones of Paparazzi club, Movida on Mikołajska is now one of the leading cocktail bars in all of Kraków. It is run under the guiding hand of owner Fabio Giuffrida, whose great passion for tasty drinks and welcoming hospitality shines through from the moment patrons pass into the bar’s dark and sumptuous interior of twirling neon lights and framed Italian photography. What’s more, the cocktail menu is eclectic to say the least. Classics, such as the sour Margarita, rub shoulders with some more inventive choices, such as the Katarinka, which fuses the flavors of classic Polish vodka with pear, lime and fresh mint.
Movida Cocktail Bar, Mikołajska 9, Kraków, Poland, +48 12 429 45 97
Plaża is the perfect place for drinkers dealing with a hangover and in search of a soothing environment to shake off the haze. It’s also good for summertime revelers looking for one of the best spots in town to soak up the Slavic sun with a gin and tonic or high-topped Long Island in tow. It enjoys a prime location right on the edge of the meandering Vistula River, and on the quieter banks, away from Kazimierz and the Wawel Hill too. In the night the interior rooms transform into a heady club of mirror balls and thumping house. Meanwhile, daytime affords patrons access to the bar’s faux beach and a nearby swimming pool on the river.
Plaża Kraków, Ludwinowska 2, Kraków, Poland, +48 530 950 303
Courtesy of Plaża Kraków
Nestled on the edge of bustling Plac Nowy, in the heart of Kraków’s boho-beatnik nerve centre Kazimierz, Finka is an unassuming little cocktail bar. It does well to blur the boundary between quirky daytime cafe and cool after-dark haunt. The interior is done out with healthy dashes of eco-friendly design, touting makeshift-timber tables formed from up-turned builders’ crates, swinging hammock seats, recycled furniture and ubiquitous Fairtrade posters. The drinks menu is no less interesting, ranging from żurawina (cranberry) infused shots, to homemade Bloody Marys, and a particularly potent, ‘evil’ iced tea.
Finka, Klub Finka, Warszauera 1, Kraków, Poland, +48 516 442 980
Wódka Cafe Bar
In the self-proclaimed home of vodka, it would be a sin not to sample the best, which is precisely what Wódka Café Bar offers. Head in to taste a kaleidoscopic array of potent variants of Poland’s most-famous export, or opt for a creative long drink cooked up by the knowledgeable folk behind the bar. The interior is pint-sized and tight-knit, and set over two cosy floors, which does well to nurture a social atmosphere and chatty vibe (even though that’s rarely a problem after a dance with Wódka’s trademark tasting menu).
Wódka Cafe Bar, Mikołajska 5, Kraków, Poland, +48 12 422 32 14
Absynt Cafe & Drink Bar
A retro mishmash of antique furnishings and 1920s decorations right in the heart of Kraków’s super-cool Kazimierz district, the Absynt Cafe & Drink Bar serves up classic Polish vodka shots in a rainbow of different flavors. It also has plenty of mixed long drinks and – of course – the city’s best range of absinthe. If you’re not sure which strain of the potent brew to go for, then be sure to ask behind the bar, where the licorice flavors of the flaming Green Fairy are held in the highest esteem.
Absynt Cafe & Drink Bar, Miodowa 28, Kraków, Poland, +48 605 240 397
Piec Art Acoustic Jazz Club
Something of a thinking man’s haven right in the midst of Kraków’s gaudy Szewska Street, Piec Art is part-jazz club, part-cocktail bar and part-swish drinking den. This is a spot for locals who would prefer to spend the night sipping single malts and Johnnie Walker to the off-beats of Coltrane and Charlie Parker than thumping away to Polish pop in the heady clubs next door. Expect a menu that encompasses all the classic tipples of the cocktail trade, with both the light and dark Russians, plenty of Cuba Libres for when the Latin jazz hits the stage, and other specialities, such as the ‘Bartender Fantasy’, with its fusion of Polish vodka and Malibu.
Piec Art Acoustic Jazz Club, Szewska 12, Kraków, Poland, +48 12 429 64 25
Four Music Club
Four Music Club is one of the more lively picks on this list, straddling the line somewhat between chic nightclub and underground cocktail bar. Like so many of Kraków’s Old Town bars and clubs, it is concealed deep below the cobblestone streets of the city, in a series of disjointed rooms connected with a labyrinth of maze-like tunnels. Of course, the menu has got everything you can imagine and more, with the bartenders throwing up wild fire shows and flair pouring to complement their creative mixology right throughout the week.
Four Music Club, Jagiellońska 6, Kraków, Poland, +48 508 431 726
La Habana is Kraków’s gateway to the Caribbean, where a heady haze of smoke curls around stained-timber tables and ubiquitous images of Che, and salsa ticks over the on the crackly speakers while the barmen roll dice on the side. Cuba doesn’t stop at the décor here either, because the cocktail offering is predictably mojito heavy, touting plenty of fresh limes and tipples of that sort, while Poland does make an appearance in its usual guise of vodka.
La Habana, Miodowa 22, Kraków, Poland, +48 602 192 582
Little Miejsce (meaning, simply, ‘the place’) is a cafe of hipster-inclinations, which repudiates the grimy, beatnik feel of Kazimierz for a retro veneer of bulbous-hanging lightshades, low-cut Scandinavian seating and a color scheme of lava-lamp quality. Strictly speaking this one isn’t a cocktail bar at all, but a multi-faceted meeting space for drainpipe jean-wearing locals, who enjoy casing out the offering of craft beers and Polish vodka shots. Only then is it on to the harder stuff, which means screwdrivers, gin and tonics and other creations – coolly mixed with an ironic smile from behind the bar.
Miejsce, Estery 1, Kraków, Poland, +48 783 096 016
Pergamin Chill Out Music Bar
Pergamin Chill Out Bar is not an easy thing to find, hidden away behind the façades of Bracka Street, just a short walk away from Kraków’s sprawling main Market Square. But once discovered, this place is rarely left alone by cocktail connoisseurs. The menu is a comprehensive cascade of drinks that can feel like a tome to the unknowing imbiber. There are dedicated sections for drinks with tequila bases, rum, whiskey, gin and vodka, along with a particularly interesting card that deals with recommendations from famous mixologists and Pergamin’s own ex-bar staff.
Pergamin Chill Out Music Bar, Bracka 3, Kraków, Poland, +48 600 395 541