Łódź is Poland’s third biggest city after Warsaw and Kraków, yet somehow it is eclipsed tourist-wise by Gdańsk, Poznań and Wrocław. However, those who do make the trip to Łódź often find it to be a surprisingly lovable city that surpasses their expectations. The nightlife and vibe around the city’s main drag, Ulica Piotrkowska, offers a mix of cosy corner cafés, basement bars, offbeat pubs and sociable taverns in which to pass the night away. Sample the best hangouts in Łódź by hitting up a few places on this list.
Hold on, did you just say ‘barber shop‘? Is this not supposed to be a list of bars? It is. And that’s exactly the point. Some local entrepreneur in the city of Łódź came up with a genius idea: when bars are quiet in the daylight hours, the building doesn’t have to go to waste. Similarly, when barber shops and hairdresser shops are quiet at night, people could be drinking in the very same room. And that is the niche that Brush successfully fills. Not only can you get a haircut during the day, but you can come back at night to chill in one of Łódź’s finest cocktail bars. The smoked whiskey cocktail is sublime, sipped in a secret bar zone known as OFF, just off Łódź’s main pedestrian street, Ulica Piotrkowska. Do be aware that the opening times listed for both the ‘haircut’ and ‘cocktail’ periods is subject to change.
Browar Księży Młyn is a huge brewery on the site of an old mill near the city centre of Łódź. As well as touring the brewery, you can enjoy tasty bar food such as burgers and pizzas at the restaurant located on-site. But the highlight is, of course, washing your food down with the finest beer in all of Łódź. The brewery dates back to 1875 and typically offers a choice of four draught beers all brewed next door and a larger range of self-produced bottled beer. Regular promotions, new brews and events take place here in what is a beer lover’s paradise.
Mebloteka Yellow is also located in the trendy OFF area just off Łódź’s famous Ulica Piotrkowska, the longest shopping street in Europe, no less. This is a trendy student hangout that has a good vibe at all times in the spacious, dimly lit lounge. You order your food and drinks at the bar from the menu listed on the boards. You can sit and mingle with artistic students, casual passers-by and curious tourists in a venue that typifies modern-day Łódź. As far as a chilled-out evening goes, this is a cool place to relax and forget about the city life that lurks outside.
Hidden discreetly off Ulica Piotrkowska street in Łódź is the Eclipse Inn. Expect a groovy little basement venue that somehow mixes Irish beer with British charm with Polish hospitality, and perhaps more importantly, decent prices. It’s a bit of a dark hideaway, but don’t let this distract you from the genuine facts here – this is a great club that is all that Poland craved back in the grim days when even cities like Łódź were deemed as ugly. Times have changed for the better, and this is a superb place to drink the night away without a care in the world. Locals chat openly with strangers here in a bar that reveals another glimpse of how modern day Łódź is promising to be Warsaw’s cooler little brother.
Pijalnia Wódki i Piwa is a famous and popular Polish chain of cheap bars that are scattered throughout the major cities in the country. In Łódź, the company actually has two venues, both located on the famous Ulica Piotrkowska, the one at number 79 has more of a club vibe and longer opening hours. Can you imagine drifting yourself back in time to the Communist era? Perhaps not in terms of culture, but this venue definitely appeals to those who love nostalgia – gramophones and old newspaper cuttings adorn the walls, and prices remain ridiculously cheap. Beers and vodka shots from 4.5 złotych (£1) and bar snacks from 9 złotych (£2) ensure your cash won’t disappear in here, and neither should your memories. There is always an interesting character within to meet. In true vintage fashion, the bar is cash only.
With a name so simple and bland, it might be hard to understand how this bar manages to maintain a niche so consistently. But ‘Bistro’ is way more than simply a food joint. At 1pm, when the venue opens, you can expect to see local football fans drinking cheap beers and watching live British, Polish and Spanish football and mingling with foreigners in casual dress. When it turns dark, the bar takes an even more sublime turn, as locals dress up in style and dance the night away smashing down vodka shots. By 2am on weekends, the venue is still open and becomes a chill-out zone for those who have already had a hard dose of partying. ‘Bistro’ opens on occasion for breakfast, and with great staff to boot, it’s all about the people.
Emir’s Magazyn 82 – Food and Bar is also handily located on the main drag in modern-day Łódź, and that means Piotrkowska Street. This place has a particularly cool party vibe on Friday evenings when the offices shut. From 6pm until midnight, expect a very outgoing bunch who are happy the working week is over and are delighted to embrace the weekend. For those into unusual tastes, try the eclectic mix of cocktails that somehow manage to mix Las Vegas with Monte Carlo with Łódź. Yes, you can feel the local vibe here in ‘Magazyn’, which looks like a normal magazine shop from the outside, and perhaps that’s its very charm. International and Polish food is also served to a high standard.