Białystok is the largest city in Poland’s Podlaskie province and has seen a surge in tourists the past few years. As the city has gained momentum, many new and exciting bars, cafés and restaurants have suddenly opened. Very close to the stunning Białowieża Forest and the border of Belarus, for the intrepid tourist this city supplies you with a more raw and traditional Poland than the touristic mayhem experienced in the Old Towns of Kraków, Gdańsk and Warsaw. With great beers and vodka sourced in this region, it will come as no surprise that Białystok has a thriving and delightful bar scene, and this list should keep your mouth watered when you roll into town.
This classic British-themed pub that looks like a little part of London is one of the coolest venues in town. With British football scarves and pennants adorning the walls, English beers on tap and fish and chips on the menu, the Sherlock Holmes does all it can to represent British culture here in the heart of Białystok ‘s main square. Live sports are shown on TV, the staff are welcoming and speak a good mix of Polish, English and Ukrainian and there is free Wi-Fi.
Just a few doors down from the Sherlock Holmes pub is the best place in the city to try locally made beer. Not just that but the beers are all made on site here at Browar Stary Rynek (Brewery in the Market Square). A five-glass sample (containing 100 ml of each beer) is available for 15 złotych (€3.60). The venue has live sports, local food and a welcoming staff. Inside the main bar, you can also see where the beers are brewed, and there are sometimes seasonal or new beers to sample. It’s attached to a hotel, which ensures the clientele are a mix of locals and foreigners.
For a great end of night venue in a cosy basement, Jack Sparrow Pub is the place to be. Comfortable seating, great shots and cocktails and modern music, it’s an ideal place to meet locals and party. In early evening, it is also a popular spot for food with pub grub such as burgers and fish and chips available to be washed down with good beers.
Bar Impuls is a quirky football-themed bar, where locals share a love for the sport and visitors donate scarves and flags to the bar’s ever-growing wall display. Białystok ‘s beloved local football team play in red and yellow stripes and are known as Jagiellonia, which makes this bar a great venue for local football fans and a small yet cheap and basic place in which to watch the games. What’s more is that the walls are covered in football scarves from all over Europe, including Millwall and Bayern Munich.
Pubs such as PRL are thriving reminders of Poland’s Communist times. With relics on the wall like old propaganda posters and gramophones, take a step back in time here. As it’s an old-school pub, it is also easy on the wallet with cheap prices. This comes as a surprise considering the fact that the pub is based right on the city’s main square, in the heart of the Stary Rynek (Market Square). It also has late opening hours, until 4 a.m. at weekends, and attracts a lively crowd whilst serving up a colourful range of cheap shots.
Situated in a downstairs basement near the Stary Rynek, Pub Fiction lives up to its quirky name and film-inspired pun. Film posters, late opening times and a cosy and warm environment help keep this place at the top of the pile for those wanting a late-night drink and to mingle in central Białystok. They also have a pretty cool cocktail menu.
Pub Brama is also well situated in the heart of Białystok in the main square. This bar has both an indoor and outdoor area and shows live sports. When Poland or the local team Jagiellonia Białystok play, expect the bar to have a lively atmosphere. Good Polish food is served here to accompany the many beers that are consumed. Long opening hours mean you never know how busy the bar may be at any particular time. Entry is through a gate, though in winter months, the beer garden is rather empty.