Kazimierz is the old Jewish Quarter of Krakow, Poland, a place with a fascinating and indelibly dark story to tell. Today, the area is home to some of the quirkiest and coolest bars in the city, which are laden to the brim with fancy lounges, killer beer pubs, sophisticated cocktail joints, intimate gardens and trashy dive dance floors. With this list of the top 10 best drinking hotspots in the area, discover the boho Kazimierz spirit like a local.
Don’t be fooled by the name, Singer is not a karaoke bar. In fact the curious moniker comes from the original Singer sewing factory that used to reside here. The old industrial occupier of Singer’s space on Plac Nowy is honored with the bar’s nostalgic air, which is created first by the sewing-machine-dotted tables out front and carried on with antique wood furniture, Persian carpets, golden tapestries and smoke-filled back rooms aplenty. Watch out for the roaring fireplace in the winter and classy bourbon choices, and be sure to hit the dance floor when it’s time.
Coffee Shop, Polish, Coffee, Tea , Fast Food, Wine, Beer
You will find Eszeweria hidden behind a narrow entrance on bustling Józefa Street, oozing charm and a special intimacy that’s perfect for spending those summer afternoons or winter nights. The small interior is packed with flickering candles and curious antique decorations, while the street-pavement floor and rickety bar add a certain dive character to the place. In the garden, patrons can swing in a hammock under the glare of soft glow-lamps as boho funk and electronica sets the tune. While the coffee is great, there’s plenty of Polish beer vodka too.
Mystery and magic awaits at Alchemia. The fairy-tale charm of this corner bar oozes out from each crack in its creaking Jewish-quarter tenement building. But despite the charming antique and dust-clad façade the folk here have some seriously cutting-edge concepts up their sleeve. Subterranean electronica gigs and film festivals grace the cellars; mouth-watering mezze plates are brought from the kitchen and there’s a fine collection of Polish and Czech beers on tap. Address: Alchemia, Estery 5, 33-332 Kraków, Polen +48 12 421 22 00
Bar, Pub, Polish, Pub Grub
Hardly anyone’s ready for the trashy, punk-rock atmosphere of this feisty little pub on Miodowa. A sure start for drinkers looking to feel that boho, nonconformist Kazimierz spirit, Propaganda pulses with garage, metal, psychobilly and grunge until the early hours of the morning. Inside, each corner and crevice is adorned with old proletarian posters and socialist paraphernalia, while there’s also the ubiquitous Eastern Bloc Trabant hood too. Needless to say the drinks on offer matches the reputation as vodka flows in streams (raspberry, quince, shimmering transparent), while there’s also a fantastic Italian coffee blend available.
If you’re ready to make an after-party of an already long night, head over to Piekny Pies (Pretty Dog). Indie, soul, funk, grunge, motown, mashed-up golden oldies and bohemian attitude all converge here along with just the right amount of locals and travellers in situ. The bar also regularly holds concerts of rock, jazz and American folk, which always goes on until the (very) early hours.
The Cuban spirit of Krakow resides in the north of the old Jewish neighborhood of Kazimierz. Some might find the combination unusual, but La Habana is definitely one authentic Cuban service, offering everything from fine cigars to Cuba Libres and Buena Vista Social club until dawn. The friendly crew behind the bar might not be Cuban altogether, but they certainly are one welcoming bunch of individuals, while there’s also plenty of Polish beers and old whiskeys to chose from.
Settle down at Moment Resto and enjoy a night in one of the classiest 60s-themed bars in all of Krakow. The interior is a happy-hippie colored tapestry of retro panache, while the catchy furniture brings out the best of the period in a medley of egg-shell chairs and armed sofas set to top-up that boogie mood. Delicious drinks are kept behind the bar (the virgin mojitos are perfect and the mixers are strong), cocktails flow at the snap of a finger and there’s an al fresco pavement area to chat with friends during the summer.
Bar, Gastropub, Wine Bar, Wine, Beer, Cocktails, Pub Grub, $$$
Boasting one of the most secretive beer gardens in Kazimierz, this swish music bar often has a mesmerizing effect on those who decide to drink within its walls. Chilled-out al fresco bar by day, hedonistic dance dive by night, the Opium Music Club is a perfect end-of-night establishment that oozes fun from every pore. Those daring enough may want to try a selection of flaming vodka shots, while others will opt for the Opium cocktail, the bar’s speciality.
Guarded by two paintings of the fiercest gangsters in Kazimierz, the cozy interior, adorned with Godfather paraphernalia, has a neighborhood vibe and a killer selection of crafted beers. One of the first establishments in Krakow to begin procuring Polish crafts, this one has since expanded into European ales galore. The bar also makes special cocktails and the usual Polish vodka is on the menu too.
Connoisseurs of Absinthe will be thrilled at this irresistible Belle Époque-inspired bar. Its charm resides in the carefully decorated chambers with massive wooden furniture, adorned with wide mirrors and walls dotted with portraiture and trinkets. The beverage menu speaks class at every turn, as the bartender explains the whole process of serving a glass of fine Absinthe, aided by elegant Absinthe spoons and dashes of raw sugar and cold water. And if the Green Fairy isn’t for you, there are plenty of beers, bottles and cocktails to chose from too.