There’s something about the Slavic mystery and Gothic historicism of Krakow that goes well with jazz. It’s hardly a surprise then that the city has its fair share of top-quality live music joints. Some hide beneath the cobbles of the Old Town, others spill out onto the Main Market Square. Check them out…
Piec Art Acoustic Jazz Club
Piec Art Acoustic Jazz Club is perhaps the most visible of all the jazz venues in the middle of the city’s Old Town. Located between the thumping trance and dance bars of Szewska Street, it offers a medley of chilled acoustic music sessions and unusual local acts in the cellar beneath its main entrance. There’s a fully-stocked bar upstairs, with some fine cocktails and al fresco seating, along with a back room that’s got plenty of small alcoves to retire to and chat following the gig.
There’s many a local jazz fan who simply wouldn’t consider ever heading anywhere other than Klub U Muniaka. Nestled at the very end of bustling Florianska Street, this subterranean cellar bar has all the features you’d expect of a classic Polish music joint. There’s hardly a smile to be had from the owners, but there’s plenty of excellence in the line-up of acts. What’s more, the place is tight-knit and intimate, with a small stage set under the vaulted medieval ceiling of the underground bar space, candle-lit tables and fine acoustics to boot.
One part restaurant, one part jazz bar, The Piano Rouge has been a music-lover’s mainstay on the central Market Square of the Krakow Old Town for some years. Touting a menu of hearty Polish meals (think zureksoups and smoked oscypek cheeses from the mountains), it spills out onto the cobbles of the city’s main piazza. At night, the whole joint gets bathed in twinkling piano tunes courtesy of local musicians. Don’t expect only jazz though – there’s also romantic vocalists, a dash of rock and roll, and even classical tunes al la Poland’s own Chopin.
Last but most certainly not least comes this veritable staple of the Krakow jazz scene. Famed across the country as the incubator of a great many of Poland’s legendary acts, Harris Piano has hosted the totemic likes of Jan Ptaszyn Wroblewski, Tomasz Szukalski and other huge local musicians since opening its cellar doors in 1997. You’ll need to delve deep under the cobbles of the Main Market Square to discover the dimly lit joint, and be sure to get in early on weekends, to find a decent spot between the twisting plumes of cigarette smoke and noir ditties that echo out from the stage.