Banishing memories of the lockdown, join us for a look at the TEN summer bar and nightlife debuts that lent the summer a needed shot of life!
Am’or Eklery i Wino
Looking dashing in its shades of pastel pink and gold trim, it looks pleasingly perfect with its pristine parquet and heart-shaped seats. Scattered with flowers (pink of course) and marble-topped tables, it’s classy, fun, feminine and smart. Mostly you visit for the eclairs – eye-catching treasures made with gourmet ingredients – but if the pastries are enough to make you feel euphoric, then there’s a drink scene as well. Pop by for sparkly wines by the bottle or the glass, fancy cocktails and – get this – pink lattes.
ul. Francuska 2
With its perfect white colors, the glass-fronted oblong form of this pearl of interwar modernism has an elegant sophistication to it that’s ravishing to look at. But it becomes even more so out the back. It’s here you’ll find a garden that’s been in-filled with well-spaced wooden decks hiding amid the vegetation and plant life. A garden in the truest sense of the word, the best view is from the balcony on top. Accessed via a glorious spiral staircase, it’s from here you gaze down on the impeccable Saska crowd that gathers below to sip sparkly wines, house lemonades and author’s cocktails.
ul. Żurawia 32/34
Appealing to a far younger, more party-oriented crowd than the area’s other craft joints, find a sloshed audience weaving around a neon lit room with black and white doodles by some of Poland’s biggest street artists. The beer offer is highly commendable, and even includes a beer slushy machine! Note, also, the presence of this year’s must-have accessory: a wood-fired pizza oven imported from Naples.
ul. Mochnackiego 4/43
La Buvette sits like a hidden jewel, nestled on a charming street that radiates off Stara Ochota’s Pl. Narutowicza – tree-lined and looking like a cloned version of a picturesque arrondissement of Paris, it’s a pleasure to sit on the terrace. And if you’ve got a tiny dog, you’ll fit right in! Come evening, pick through boards of gourmet cheese whilst sipping on a curated choice of French wines picked by co-owner Harold, a native of Strasbourg.
ul. Brzeska 25
Whenever a new street food hub open, the temptation is to benchmark it against the Nocny Market. But OFF has its own distinct sense of identity, a factor helped by its location. Set against Brzeska street – a chipped, broken back road with something of a hairy past reputation – this alone contributes to a raw vibe that’s helped by the presence of an arty Praga crowd that feels far more Bohemian than anything in town. Though relatively small in its size, the vibe is fab: drink craft beer under overhanging canvas sheets strung with colorful streamers that wave in the breeze. Not short on vegan options, the alternative feeling is aided and abetted by DJs, local bands and a crowd determined to make it a night to remember.
ul. Wilcza 43
Strikingly similar to its predecessor, Koko & Roy, the revisions appear to have been halted at a few nips and tucks: darker lighting, some vinyl records and cymbals on the walls plus the addition of a few black and white pictures. But NOLA have already gained traction for their attitude to fun. The vibe is great – even on a quiet Tuesday evening, you feel something good. That’s as much down to the playful nature of the staff as it is to the diverse band of people that have started to trickle in: pretty young pre-party creatures; polished-looking expats; friends of the management; and the random kind of people you’d usually find around the corner in places like Kraken. NOLA is a night well spent, and that’s clear from a cocktail list committed to celebrating the hedonistic spirit of New Orleans.
ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 13 (Raffles Europejski Warsaw)
The Raffles Europejski Warsaw have ruffled the sheets once more, this time with a pop-up bar inside an enclosed courtyard hidden from the prying eyes of the outside world. Evoking the atmosphere of an enchanted garden, join Warsaw’s high society in a large-plan oasis flush with trees, shrubs, herbs and flowers. Championing a quiet sense of luxury, it’s to this background that the Pavilion is set – enclosed in glass and planted on a plank-wood platform, sink back in an armchair while indulging in specially selected appetizers, wines, chilled champagnes and light, floral cocktails that entirely fit the moment. Open weekends only.
ul. Chmielna 7/9
Taking the space once occupied by the ill-fated Mikkeller Bar, Pinta’s flagship bears many of the hallmarks of the previous tenant: a pared down Scandi design set across two glass-fronted floors round the back of Chmielna. Featuring plenty of concrete and chunks of shipping containers, the sparsity of the design keeps your attention on the beer – and it’s brilliant. Pinta, if you don’t know, can be considered the founding fathers of Poland’s craft beer scene, and this bar gives their portfolio the attention it deserves.
Rondo Daszyńskiego 2 (The HUB)
Perched on the 21st floor of one of Wola’s new gleaming towers, The Roof allows visitors to glimpse stars in their eyes – offering enthralling views of the city down below, you’ll be mixing with an A-list clientele that gathers to enjoy a backdrop that’s luxurious, elegant and yet tastefully restrained. Sleek furnishings, well-deployed plants and spherical lights cast a cool look that acts in concert with a setting that feels fantastically affluent – but as beautiful as the interior is, it’s the outdoor deck that’s easily the biggest draw. Compounding the sophistication, foxtrot through a cocktail list with a cool Warsaw twist. Anything else you need to know? Dress to kill.
The casualty list was horrific. Costing the lives of legends such as Koko & Roy, Kieliszki and Zkurczybyk, the lockdown was brutal in its cull. Nonetheless, fears that the area around Poznańska would lose its sense of life have proved ill-founded, and partly that’s thanks to VHS, an 80s-themed cocktail bar snuck inside a pocket-sized brick cellar lit with fun, garish neon and pics of the era’s defining legends. Supremely fun, order cocktails named after figures like Cyndi Lauper, Billy Idol and, of course, The Hoff, and enjoy them on a pavement terrace that teems with life and laughter once evening strikes.