Smuggled away from prying eyes, the following courtyards unfold to offer a semi-secret world of shaded pleasures. From hedonistic parties to quiet refuges, we’ve got the best that Warsaw has.
At first, you suspect you’re walking into a shabby car park. And then, it hits you – an inner-city sanctum with wooden decking, a slanted sail shielding the sun, and funky chairs sourced from Studio Rygalik. Long-known as one of the best wine bars in Warsaw, the seasonally adjusted menu also gets consistently strong reviews.
With no reservations accepted, Bibenda’s enduring popularity ensures that queues often build at the entrance. The hassle is worth it to enjoy bio wines, craft cocktails and an interesting meat-free menu in a warm, busy interior that retains the building’s pre-war heritage. Delve deeper for a courtyard featuring a slanted canopy, crates of flowering herbs and a twisty tree.
Krakowskie Przedmieście 42/44 (Bristol Hotel)
Looking like Jay Gatsby’s ballroom, the epic Column Bar instantly wows with its indulgent Art Deco touches. You can well imagine girls in flapper dresses drinking from pyramids of champagne. The courtyard is also a masterpiece, scattered as it is with carefully tended greenery. The sense of affluent serenity is unmatched.
Sprinkled with palms, deckchairs and plastic pelicans and flamingos, Gemba’s courtyard is an exercise in kitschy fun. The hip undercurrent of this bar is furthered by its neighbours, they being a vintage store, vinyl shop and barber’s. But it’s cause is also helped by a winter garden whose glass doors fling open to create an open-air living room effect. It’s a hidden gem(ba)!
If Quint from Jaws designed a bar, it would probably look a lot like Kraken: filled with fishing nets, lanterns, shark fangs and octopus-themed wall art. In summer, however, it’s the courtyard that’s the talking point. Sharing space with SAM and Pa Ta Thai this lively space has become an anchoring point for Żoliborz nightlife.
Known for its alternative music policy, and a crowd sourced straight from the local Academy of Fine Arts, Młodsza Siostra is quite an adventure. With temperatures rising, sit on the wooden decking outside. Now the trees and vegetation are in bloom, the scrappy backdrop of bike repair garages softens to take on the vibe found in the shadowy courtyards of Berlin and Budapest.