Kraków is one of the most popular tourist destinations in eastern Europe. Its attraction emanates from its beautiful Old Town square, the stunning Wawel Castle and the torn history of the Nazi invasion, which was followed by communist times. While Kraków continues to be a magnet for tourists due to its history and sightseeing options, a thriving late-night bar scene ensures this is no sleepy city either. Delve into this eclectic mix of early morning drinking dens.
Here in the quirky Old Town of Kraków is a tram-themed bar. TramBar is a lively late-night cocktail venue with walls decorated in old tram photos and signs. There are also some tram benches inside this warm and cosy bar. Try the excellent signature cocktails, which start at 24 złotych (5 pounds) each and mingle with a mix of students, tourists, locals and hipsters. It’s actually a veteran bar which has been part of Kraków‘s night scene for years, but in that time it has seen many changes in design and clientele.
You can’t really go wrong with the trusted Pijalnia Wódki i Piwa (House of beer and vodka) which stays open 21 hours a day for most of the year. It’s not just the fact that this bar is open until 6 a.m., but the prices are outrageously cheap, the interior decor is a throwback to a vintage era and the bar also has good value bar snacks. Expect beers, vodka, coffee and tea all for under 5 złotych (1 pound) and tasty snacks like toasted sandwiches (tosty), herring (śledź) and sausages (kiełbasa) for under 10 złotych (2 pounds). As a late-night bar, it also has its quiet times though during the peak hours (6 p.m. to midnight), you might struggle to get a seat.
Absynt is one of those special little bars oozing in charm. Claiming to be open from 12 noon until “the last customer stops drinking,” it’s certainly a great hang out both day and night. Absynt is housed in Kraków’s trendy Kazimierz district. With a double pun in its name, meaning both ‘not here’ and the strong drink Absinthe, it also acts a cool shot bar which attracts a lively crowd. It’s recommended to try the signature drinks, including the Author’s Shot Earthquake and the unique Hot Chocolate with Absinthe. In winter, seasonal mulled beer and wine is served. In summer, expect icy, frothy pints of beer to flow all night long.
In the up and coming Dolnych Młynów zone of Kraków, sits a bar in an old tobacco factory. This bar is Weźże Krafta. The bare brick walls remain, art has been added and a range of craft beer make this a pure pleasure for late night drinkers. A basic interior, high stools and an overall happy spirit within make this a superb place to mingle with locals and tourists alike. Be aware that the beer menu is huge. If in doubt, order some vodka shots with the locals while you ponder which of the many tap beers to choose. If it ever reaches closing time, be aware there are at least five other bars within a 20-metre walk.
OK, so the title is too good to be true, but one of Kraków’s truly intense basement bars has to be on the list. Free Pub is also one of those that states they will stay open until the last customer wants to stop ordering. There are no windows – you’re in a basement where time has stopped. If you want to drink as locals do here, try the beer with a vodka shot inside it. It might provide deadly hangovers, but you get to see the best of Polish late-night mood in one of its former capital cities and heartlands.
Taking its name from a sewing machine company rather than those who pursue a career in using microphones, Singer lives up to all expectations and more. Good shots on tap, ice cold beers, lively staff and customers up for a party without having to put up with loud music or DJs, this is a bar to truly have an awesome late night in.
Klub Kulturalny is so central, you might be confused by how cheap it actually gets here. Beers for around 5 złotych (just over one pound) and bar snacks that even include pierogi from 9 złotych blow your mind. But then you realise, this is what Krakow is all about. It doesn’t have the commercial capitalist desire of Warsaw (which is business focused), nor does it carry the stigma of Szczecin and its proximity to the German border. In other words, a great late night to early morning haunt where you can feel at ease and let your hair down.