- Olga Lenczewska
Warsaw, Poland’s capital and most vibrant city, has been changing and developing very rapidly. Nowadays, it is full of innovative and unique places, ranging from jazz clubs to archival cinemas to a neon museum. If you want to explore the lesser known spots and venues, check our list of the 10 best-kept secrets of Warsaw.
Skład Butelek (the Polish for Bottles Storehouse) is a jazz club and gastro-pub located in the Praga quarter of Warsaw. If you walk past the entrance without knowing what’s actually inside, there’s no way you can guess. The old, modest-looking doors conceal a unique concert venue and meeting place, whose highlights include the regular parties called Spontańce, when a group of musicians and vocalists appear on stage without any previously scheduled set and simply improvise in all kinds of music genres. Every Thursday the club hosts a live jazz or blues concert.
Skład Butelek, ul. 11 Listopada 22, Warsaw, Poland, +48 602 338 824
Banjaluka is a modern, casual-looking restaurant owned, together with two other popular Warsaw restaurants, by Maciej Żakowski. It specialises in the Balkan cuisine and is probably the most renowned place in the whole city which does so. Its new chef, Hrvoje Barčanec, comes from Croatia and takes the most pleasure in preparing rich seafood and meat dishes, but admits that the Balkan cuisine is most characteristic for its unique spicy taste, created with a lot of dry paprika and pepper.
Banjaluka, ul. Szkolna 2/4, Warsaw, Poland, +48 22 828 10 60
Miejskie Granie na Plażowej
Literally ‘urban playing of the beach’, this initiative has been created together with a new beach by the Vistula river that runs through the heart of Warsaw. The outdoor concert hall located on the beach Plażowa is currently the most vibrant concert location in the whole city and is home to the series of spring and summer concerts that everyone is welcome to attend.
This place is Warsaw’s first trampoline park. Located in the former hangar of one of the city’s airports, Hangar 646 spreads out to almost 3,000 square meters, where there are all kinds of trampolines, acrobatic paths, sponge pools, and space for skateboarders. The place has been designed and the attractions planned out in such a way that both the amateurs and the fans of various acrobatic sports can use it and enjoy the adrenaline that inevitably comes with trampolines.
Hangar 646, Wał Miedzeszyński 646, Warsaw, Poland, +48 501 620 778
This restaurant, owned by Maciej Żakowski, is a gastro-pub that combines the basic idea of casual street-food and an authentic dining out experience. The Italian menu of the restaurant comprises everything you would ever want to eat in Italy: salads, panini, pasta, pizza, vegetarian and vegan dishes, and desserts, as well as cocktails. Every day, Momu’s lunch menu changes. The restaurant is located in Warsaw’s beautiful Old Town and from its windows you can admire the Theatre Square that houses the National Theatre hall.
Momu, ul. Wierzbowa 9/11, Warsaw, Poland, +48 506 100 001
This concept store, located in the Soho Factory, comprises a fascinating combination of Polish and foreign design. You can find various types of furniture, lamps, carpets, tapestries, ceramics, gadgets, and even contemporary artworks such as posters or photos by both emerging and established designers. The quality of the products is impeccable, as they are often one of a kind. The new and the vintage intermingle in Magazyn Praga, creating a unique space.
Magazyn Praga, Soho Factory, ul. Mińska 25/18, Warsaw, Poland, +48 22 323 19 00
This elegant and classy whisky and cocktail bar has won several prizes for the best bars and music venues. The menu offers over 40 types of cocktails, which you can enjoy whilst listening to wonderful live music, played every evening. The weekend concerts are more lively and louder than the ones during weekdays, ranging from 1980s to soul music to electro. Syreni Śpiew often hosts fashion shows and large business parties
Iluzjon, located in the famous Mokotów quarter of Warsaw, is a unique archival cinema and a cinema museum at the same time. It s under the patronage of the National Film Catalogue. The cinema offers a range of films: old, new, and documentaries. It also hosts special events such as meetings with film directors, film festivals, or silent films accompanied by live music. One of the recent Iluzjon projects is an educational series of documentary films aimed at children and students in order to familiarize them with this important film genre.
Iluzjon, ul. Narbutta 50a, Warsaw, Poland, +48 22 462 72 60
The Neon museum, located in the Soho Factory, is dedicated to the preservation of the neon signs from the Cold War era in Poland. Most of them were created by famous designers but did not survive in their original place, in the streets. The museum’s collection comprises over 100 signs, but it is still expanding. The organization also takes care of Warsaw’s existing neons that disappear very quickly despite their artistic value.
Neon Muzeum, ul. Mińska 25/55, Warsaw, Poland, +48 665 711 635
Mysia 3 used to be the address of a Communist office that controlled the information in the media and censored it. Today, in the very same place, exists a cultural and shopping center that’s main idea is to promote a starkly different idea; that of a life where everyone can artistically and ideologically express themselves freely. The three floors of this modern center comprise a variety of fashionable boutiques, accessories shops, and design retailers, whereas the fourth floor is dedicated to exhibitions and concerts that promote uncensored media and culture.