- A. J. Samuels
Concealed beneath a forecourt, below the looming spires of Krakow’s mighty Wawel Castle, off-the-beaten-track basement bar Chmiel (meaning ‘Hops’) remains a great pick for craft connoisseurs travelling through town. Inside, the place is tight-knit and cozy, with a small bar area occupying the drooping apses of the basement and rickety shelves displaying a kaleidoscopic array of both local Polish brews and worldly crafts.
Chmiel beer, Stradomska 15, Kraków, Poland, +48 608 041 000
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Unquestionably the most popular micro-brewery to grace the streets of Krakow, C.K Browar sits hidden beneath a rather gaudy entrance at the end of busy Ulica Karmelicka. Patrons descend below the rumbling tram lines of Bagatela station into a cavernous drinking hall that could easily have been plucked from the lines of tents adorning Bavarian Oktoberfest. The busy tables are lit with swinging billiard lamps and peppered with C.K’s trademark beer tubes, while the gargantuan copper casks that loom from behind the bar issue forth endless streams of frothy home brews. The philosophy here is towards simple and earthy beer making, which results in a small selection of masterful labels.
C.K. Browar, Podwale 6/7, Kraków, Poland, +48 12 429 25 05
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House of Beer
Located on the cusp of Krakow’s greenbelt park, House of Beer is a staple of the city’s craft scene, specializing in bottled labels from Belgium, Slovakia and Germany. There are taps too, touting regular favorites like the Czech Kozel and the Gambrinus Pils, or Poland’s own Amber from Pomerania up north, along with a selection of English ciders and heavy stout ales. Inside, the character is hearty and homely, decked with wood panelled walls and rough tables, peppered with mismatched sofas and awash with a curious array of artworks both classic and modern.
House of Beer, Świętego Tomasza 35, Krąków, Poland, +48 794 222 136
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Multi Qlti Tap Bar
Simple, stylish and packed with great beer options, Multi Qlti Tap Bar is very much one of Krakow’s new breed beer houses, offering bespoke brews in a laid-back, cafe-esque setting. Having popped up in place of one of the city’s infamous strip clubs on Ulica Szewska, it’s good fun to peer out of the first storey window seats as locals pass by, double taking as they go. From Friday through to Saturday, the bar is laden with drainpipe jeans wearing bohemians, glugging beers through overgrown beards, while discussing the latest news. Weekdays usher in a quieter and more chilled out vibe.
Multi Qlti Tap Bar, Szewska 21, Kraków, Poland, +48 12 341 58 47
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A mishmash of stained timber tables, scuffed leather sofas and gaudy low-hanging lights help to create the charm of Omerta Pub, situated in the very heart of Krakow’s enchanting Kazimierz district. It’s often hailed as one of the pioneers of the craft beer scene here, famed originally for its offering of bottled IPAs, foreign ales and independent brews from all around the world. Today, Omerta boasts a whole bar full of cask pumps and a cascade of new bottled beers, not to mention larger premises laden with curious film noir paraphernalia to boot. If you want to sample one of the best local crafts currently on the circuit in Poland, then go for the Atak chmielu American IPA, a full bodied, flavorsome brew straight out of nearby Lublin.
Omerta Pub, Kupa 3, Kraków, Poland, +48 501 508 227
Meaning ‘Beer Zone’, this does exactly what it says on the tin. Strefa Piwa is located on one of the most bustling streets in the city’s old Jewish quarter of Kazimierz, making it a well placed stop-off for drinkers gulping their way through the many beer bars and boho clubs that cluster around Plac Wolnica. What’s more, the spot now boasts no fewer than 12 pull taps, allowing for an eclectic menu of IPAs, lagers, English ales and local Polish brews that move with the trends. Meanwhile, the decor is simple and pleasant, with a real Slavic beer hall vibe. Don’t miss the beer mat wallpaper that adorns the back room, Stefa’s artistic pièce de résistance.
Strefa Piwa, Józefa 6, Kraków, Poland, +48 12 426 42 54
The cavernous and industrial-chic Stara Zajezdnia in the depths of Kazimierz represents another of the city’s premier micro-breweries. It’s housed in one of the Jewish Quarter’s old factory cargo terminals and still clings proudly to that mechanized character, displaying its exposed iron beams and colossal arched roof with nothing but panache. They brew a range of different tipples, from heady dark ales, to sweet honey-infused malts, while the adjoining kitchen serves up a bountiful array of traditional Polish dishes, from gherkin soup to salty Slavic pancakes packed with spinach and mushrooms.
Stara Zajezdnia, Świętego Wawrzyńca 12, Kraków, Poland, +48 664 323 988
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