Best of Warsaw 2022: Beer-muda Triangle
For our Best of Warsaw, it was impossible to pick our favorite craft pub, but a little easier to pick our favorite pub crawl…
Forming almost a perfect triangle, the mass of craft beer pubs that fall within the tips represented by Beer Station, Cześć and Cuda Na Kiju are ripe for a weekend to remember (or forget, depending on how much you imbibe).
Beer Station Centrum
Proudly run by Belarussian exiles (that’s a pre-Lukashenko flag behind the bar), traipse down a plunging set of stairs to reach a cave-like space whose warm brick skin can just about be discerned amid the darkness. For booze, there’s twelve beers on tap and these include some excellent craft swigs along with more standard drinks. The choice is not revolutionary, but this place is loved by all those who like a wild night – the weekends do get messy with a sloshed and diverse crowd.
With over 50 taps to choose from, and even more beers in the fridge(s), the choice at Brewski will make you dizzy – our tip, scope out the offer before turning up by looking at the ontap app. Once the home of the scuzzy, all-hours Piw Paw, Brewski have smartened up the interior (though not the toilet) to add a sense of class with an array of Chesterfield sofas.
Cuda Na Kiju
Nowy Świat 6/12
Opened in 2013, Warsaw’s first legitimate tap bar looks just as edgy as ever slotted inside a glass prism hidden within the megastructure that once housed the Communist Party headquarters. In fact, with so many youthful bars now neighboring it, some would say it’s never enjoyed greater popularity. Notable for its glass walls, spirally staircase and pinball machines, find 15 taps keeping guests amused. Though less niche in its than many of its competitors, this actually acts in its favor by broadening Cuda’s appeal to more than beer nerds.
Compact and box-like, Cześć have transitioned to become one of the cornerstones of Warsaw’s craft scene. Flying in the face of fads and fashions, it’s a bar that feels honest and comfortable in its own skin. Looking pleasantly worn-in after nearly nine-years of service the rotation of beers is brilliantly balanced between new finds and traditional top-sellers from the canon of Artezan, Pinta and other A-class Polish breweries.
Replicating the look of a disused power station, the Double D is a place of rugged brickwork, steel girders, vintage voltage meters and, get this, clanky toilets disguised as elevator shafts. Set over three floors, the 14 craft taps are largely committed to the wild tastes of modern Poland.
Now in their 26th year of business, Gorączka Złota’s longevity is a reflection of the place they hold in Warsaw’s heart. Pungent and poky, this steamy pub glows green at night with creaky wood panels and beery paraphernalia lending it the kind of warm atmosphere that its locals treasure. A bad pint is unknown here with GZ’s five taps complemented by a choice selection of bottles from Poland’s rebel brewers.
We don’t know for sure, but we suspect that Hopito was launched to open up the craft scene to the Gen Z crowd. Certainly that’s reflected by a fun interior decorated by Poland’s biggest street artists, as well as other additions such as a beer slushy machine and fun Neapolitan pizzas (who’d have thought of switching tomatoes for mango?). And there’s the beers themselves – known for their wacky tastes, this bar’s namesake brewery specializes in logic-breaking brews such as their blueberry & blackcurrant coffee sour pastry ale.
Comfortable and reliable, Hoppiness are like your favorite slippers – only better tasting. It doesn’t take much of a crowd to generate a bubbly atmosphere full of laughs and cackles, and the buzz is such the interior details get easily lost in the ensuing blur of clinking glasses and random conversation. On the tap front, their diamond dozen gives a 360 view of Poland’s beer scene.
Good old Jabbers will never let you down. A Warsaw institution, the adventurous choice of beers gives nods to international pioneers, domestic talents as well as their own house beers. Pre-war floors and the welcome smell of spillage give it a great atmosphere that becomes a boisterous babble of international voices the later it gets. For something quieter, take your pint next door to their sister bar, Jabeerwocky Junior.
Kufle i Kapsle
KiK could easily be named as Warsaw’s ambassador for craft beer pubs – were that so, it would play its role with distinction. Respectful of the building’s pre-war heritage, the interiors feature a warming back room with low-slung armchairs, but the real action is out front where note-taking nerds and international pissheads join as one to clamor around a bar serving some of the best beer in Poland.
Kufle i Kapsle Nowy Świat
Nowy Świat 27
Our disclaimer: when Kufle opened on Nowy Świat we were far from convinced – actually, we called it mainstream and mediocre. Can we take that back? Warming to it considerably since, it’s a fine choice on a street otherwise suffocated by your typical high street commercialism. Like stepping into a 70s living room, it vibes brilliantly as well.
Delayed by that never-ending lockdown (good riddance!), Pinta’s flagship Warsaw bar didn’t have the best start in life. That hasn’t stopped it from growing to become one of the standout bars the capital can offer: bearing the hallmarks of the previous tenant (Mikkeller), the minimal but primrose-colored Scandi-design keeps the attention on the beer which comes, mainly, from the namesake brewery. Considered the founding fathers of Poland’s craft adventure, the beers are brilliant and fairly priced.
Christer Emanuelsson19 December 2022 #1 Author
It should be mentioned that Gorączka Złota also has excellent food, like the stellar Reuben Sandwich and the 7:th Heaven Burger, which lives up to its name.