Warsaw’s specialty coffee scene has long been considered among the most dynamic in Central Eastern Europe, but which of its cafes are the most conducive to a spot of summer chilling?
Tamka 2 / Wilcza 42 / Próżna 7
There’s three locations, but of these two really stand out in the summer – first, Tamka, pointing as it does in the direction of the Wisła – sit out on the terrace and you’ll be watching hundreds of partygoers heading to the river. Then there’s Próżna with an outdoor patio set on a restored pre-war street – here, you really do feel the old atmosphere of this Paris of the East.
Hoża 58/60 & Lwowska 2A
Sitting outside Cophi, in the shade of one of the trees that looms above, you get to enjoy all colours and contrasts of downtown Warsaw – a joy for the senses, sip back on an A-class nitro whilst whistling delivery drivers unload their vans or strawberry sellers set up shop from the back of battered cars. Just by being here you feel yourself absorbed into the city’s daily fabric.
Set away from the parping traffic and wailing trams, El Cafatero sits amid a row of stores found in the shadow cast by the back end of Pl. Zbawiciela’s iconic church. Presenting quite a sight, its patinated domes and intricate steeples have you thinking you’re somewhere cute and quaint like Vilnius or Lublin. Admired from the bench that rests against El Cafatero’s façade, it’s a magical chillout spot.
Long-known for its overhead canopy of dangling umbrellas, Francuska’s photogenic terrace feels all the more relevant following their decision to replace their old brollies with yellow-and-blue ones to demonstrate solidarity with Ukraine. Featuring also a pretty greenhouse to hide in on rainy days, and a cabin dispensing Aperol Spritz and other seasonal cocktails, this vibrant corner of Saska Kępa is impossible to dislike.
You might know Hałas already for its cool vinyl section and retro-Scandi aesthetics. In summer though, reasons to visit increase thanks to one of our favourite cold brews in the city. And then there’s the little garden in front. Although little more than a couple of benches and chairs, it’s got that feeling of popping round a friend’s rather than visiting a bona fide café.
Roślina’s acknowledgment of the natural world is pushed home not just via their generous collection of droopy succulents that hang from the pipework, but also a decent plant-based menu. Oh, and then there’s the garden. Occupying a triangular wedge of land, this magical little enclave is a beauty in the truest, purest sense. It’s a dreamy, blissful place in which time slows to a crawl.
Never has Warsaw got the bagel so right. The bad news? To find this little heaven, you need to head far from the beaten track. Located in an ascetic space inside a Socialist Realist block, the bagel combos veer from classic to creative and twin well with their coffee. There are better-looking terraces, but by being here you feel you’re part of a cool neighbourhood scene.
Espousing the Japandi style (an amalgam of Japanese and Scandinavian should your brain not be working), Typika’s floor-to-ceiling windows bathe this fashionably stark, split-level space in light no matter the season. Sparingly decorated, the blonde wood furnishings (check the blob-shaped table!) and neon deer further emphasize a natural, refreshing feel that’s particularly welcome when the temperatures soar – it’s ice cool!