It’s been called the Grand Dame of Warsaw’s hotel, and there’s no disputing the Bristol’s pedigree. Opened in 1901, the capital’s most prestigious hotel comes with a hefty guestbook that reads like a who’s who: from Dietrich to Nixon, to Scorsese and McCartney. But it’s not all been plain sailing for this giant. In recent years it had started to lose its shine, if not its reputation. So what happened next? Rather than being sectioned off to that great hotel in the sky they gave London-based designer Anita Rosato a call.
Remarkable in every aspect, the ensuing refit has elevated The Briz back where it belongs: the top. And the changes haven’t just been cosmetic. Amongst other instructions, Rosato’s brief included the addition of a wine bar, with the result being an extraordinary space that conjures the essence of luxury and Great Gatsby glam.
Effortlessly evoking a real sense of history, the design is a triumph with lots of polished brass and nickel, rich wood finishes and marble floors. You feel like you’ve stepped into a film. But talking points aren’t limited to the interiors alone. The wine selection was personally overseen by Robert Mielżyński, possibly the most esteemed wine importer in the country. And the choice is prodigious. Offering a complete cruise through the wines of the Old Continent and the New World, the collection is precisely presented from behind glass cases that line the walls. Complimenting them are an array of tapas and canapés that are a joy to behold.
Neither is it financially prohibitive. Squandering money is an option, but so too is saving it. Prices being at just under zł. 20 for a glass, which is nicely in line with the rest of the city – but don’t think you’re entering a routine wine bar. With the lights dimmed right down for evening, nowhere in town feels so special and distinguished. For date night, it’s a must.
Bristol Wine Bar ul. Krakowskie Przedmisecie 42/44 (Hotel Bristol)