Former Polish Communist Party HQ, an iconic Warsaw building, has turned into a nightlife hub and go-to hipster drinks bar!
Standing behind the figure of Charles de Gaulle, it would take a case of river blindness not to notice the box-like building that looms beyond the Frenchman. Completed in 1951 to serve as ‘the house of the Party’, this was to all intents and purposes the beating heart of Polish communism right up until that all collapsed in 1989.
Designed by a group of architects collectively known as ‘the tigers’, the official ribbon cutting took place on July 22nd, a national holiday celebrated by flag-waving parades. Funded by ‘good will donations’ eeked out of the Polish public, the building slot in visually with the National Museum next door. To please the press, immediately dubbed “one of the most beautiful buildings in Warsaw”.
Something of an experiment in propaganda and patriotism, all the raw materials were exclusively Polish with one exception. The steps outside – the stone for those sourced from Hindenburg’s mausoleum in Grunwald.
See Insider’s list of 12 Drinks Bars in Warsaw, HERE.
Yet, whilst it may have looked modest from the outside, behind the façades it was anything but. Closed off to the public, the inner courtyard remained reserved for party limousines. Entrance B, meanwhile, marked as Bolesław Bierut’s own private entrance.
The perks set aside for Poland’s first commie premier did not end there. He could also count on his own private cinema and a personal lift, cranked manually by some poor fellow.
Heard of the Rotunda? Another iconic communist-era building in Warsaw. Read about it, HERE.
Bierut’s mysterious death in 1956 was a keynote moment and his body laid out in one of the halls. According to one urban myth, a janitor mistook the coffin for firewood and attempted to chisel it into pieces. On realizing his mistake, the bloke fled the capital, never to be heard of again.
This is not the only rumor associated with the building. For years speculation ran rife that it was connected to Central Station via a secret rail tunnel. Though this was since refuted, surprises from the past still surface. Just a few years back, the Insider discovered a giant bust of Lenin squirrelled away in the underground carpark.
For all that, the building has undergone a dramatic spiritual U-turn. Once a powerful and foreboding symbol of state socialism, for a brief while it acted as the home of the fledgling Warsaw Stock Exchange.
Watch a video tour of the building, HERE.
Later, it saw another revolution, this time when it became the home of the city’s first multitap craft beer bar, Cuda Na Kiju. Nor does the story end there.
Check out the Polish Communist Party HQ, an iconic Warsaw building that has turned into a nightlife hub and go-to hipster drinks bar!
Nowy Świat 6/12