Toruń is a stunning city in Poland, famous for its UNESCO-listed Old Town. This is the city that produced the famous astronomer Nicolaus Copernicus and has a vast array of medieval buildings, many of which are still intact today. Delve into the poky back streets of the Old Town and into one of these quality watering holes for a sample of Toruń’s bar culture.
For great craft beer and tapas, head to this joint that opened in 2018. imBeer is a beer lover’s treat and one of the newest and trendiest hangouts in Toruń. The range of beers on tap is forever changing, but you can expect American wheat, IPAs, stouts and pilsners. There is a large selection of craft bottled beer, too, with an emphasis on Polish craft beer with occasional import options. On the food menu, it is mostly bar snacks such as sausages and wraps, as well as the venue’s trademark tapas. imBeer Craft & Tapas is separated into three main parts – the ground level bar, a lower basement and seating out the front during the warmer months.
The first and original craft beer bar in Toruń is a popular haunt for local beer lovers. Situated on a corner near the theatre and the entrance to the UNESCO-listed Old Town, it’s also a handy location for travellers coming and going from the city. With up to 17 beers on tap and over 30 in bottles, Carpe Kraft continues to attract beer connoisseurs. It is housed in a basement across two rooms. Decorated with beer posters, murals, adverts and even wardrobes full of empty beer bottles, this venue is also a treat for Instagrammers. Weekends get busy, live sports are shown, and there is some outdoor seating in the summer. The beer menu is always changing, but expect enticing and unusual IPAs, stouts and ales from Poland and beyond. As it’s a real ale pub, food-wise it caters towards snacks rather than main courses, so you can expect to eat nachos, muffins and crisps to accompany your local crafted piwo (Polish for beer).
Poland’s popular cheap-PRL style pub chain, Pijalnia Wódki i Piwa, occupies a prominent spot in Toruń’s Old Town square. This is an absolute gem for budget backpackers, nostalgic tourists and bargain-hunting locals. Cheap beer and vodka from 4.5 złotych (£1) and bar snacks like toast and sausages from 9 złotych (£2) are part of the budget menu. Also cheap are the chain’s trademark shot range, such as Chupa Chups (homemade lemon drink with ginger and pepper) and the Kokosanka (a coconut-flavoured shot). These venues are all over Poland, and they also have late opening hours, especially on the weekends.
Don’t miss the oldest bar in Toruń, Krajina Piva. It is believed that a venue known as the Blue Apron Inn was first established here in 1489. At the time, it was visited by Polish kings Kazimierz Jagiellonczyk and Jan Olbracht. On Napoleon’s quest, he also popped in here, as well as in venues in nearby Malbork or Tczew. The interior architecture is both Baroque and Gothic and hasn’t changed in years. The great thing is there is a superb menu of frothy beers on tap and a huge fridge brimming with excellent Polish crafted ales. Sip them slowly in the venue that time forgot. Food-wise, the bar is part of the superb restaurant Gospoda Pod Modrym Fartuchem, so a good Polish soup or main course is never far away.
Ministerstwo Śledzia i Wódki translates as “the ministry of vodka and herring” and is another popular Polish bar chain. This place is most welcome in Toruń’s Old Town square just a few doors down from Pijalnia Wodki I Piwo. With a slightly darker interior than its rival and more emphasis on the Communist PRL-era memorabilia, this is like a socialist time warp. Prices also reflect this, as the menu is outrageously cheap. For 4 złotych (£0.82) a beer, it is possibly the cheapest beer on tap (0.3l) in the city. It gets busy almost every night in the summer months, and weekends can be fun with all sorts of people to meet inside. The food menu features not just the local herring, but many Polish specialities such as tatar wołowy (raw beef tartare) and biała kiełbasa (white sausage).
In a dark downstairs basement, this little secret hideout could easily go unnoticed. Once inside, get ready for cosy booths, cold frothy beers, vodka shots and a lively ambience. Kredens is accessed down a narrow staircase and has no ground floor space. Find a comfortable alcove to mingle with friends and chat the night away in one of the most traditional bars in Toruń. There are often student parties and special offers so be sure to check the venue’s Facebook page for the latest deals.
Jan Olbracht Browar Staromiejski is a fine brewery bar that gets great reviews from the locals and is a warm and friendly place. In a town famous for its gingerbread, the Jan Olbracht Browar Staromiejski also has a trademark gingerbread beer, which is well worth a try. There is also an ever-changing ‘monthly beer’ on the draught menu. This is the only bar of its kind in Toruń, as all the beer is made on-site. If you want to try all four varieties of the home-brewed beer, ask for a zestaw degustacyjny (tasting set), which has four x 125 ml beers for 14 złotych (£2.85). The food menu has good soups, salads and steaks.