Built in 1897, from its early inception Koneser was built with one duty in mind: to produce vodka. According to one story, as German troops approached the city in 1915, the decision was taken to pour the vodka into the streets so as to prevent their soldiers getting their hands on it; apocryphal as it might be, the move reportedly sparked a riotous free-for-all among the disbelieving and grateful locals. Nationalized after WWII, Koneser only finished producing vodka in 2007; by that time, the plant was in dire need of care and attention and its Neo Gothic architectural details looked destined to rot and die.
But not so. Restored by Liebrecht & wooD and BBI Development and subjected to a seven-year renovation process, it reopened in 2018 as a mixed-use project containing cultural sites, F&B outlets, swanky offices and loft-style apartments. Opened to much fanfare, you could well argue that no other investment has had a bigger impact on Praga’s overdue regeneration than Koneser.
Koneser could easily have become a self-segregated island of prosperity; instead, it’s been successfully absorbed into the neighborhood thanks, largely, to a busy program of events that have included slow fairs, ‘senior days’, book nights, concerts and history walks.
For foodies, the lynchpin that holds the food and drink offer together is Koneser Grill. Belonging to the portfolio of Ferment Group (owners and creators of Rozbrat 20, Butchery & Wine and a string of other essential eateries), enjoy a sophisticated, meat-centric menu amid smooth lighting, blond woods, metal fixtures and outbreaks of rich teal colors. Their steaks are legendary, and these peak out (both in terms of experience and expense) with the A5 class Wagyu Hokkaido.
The name of Bombaj Masala is known to all of Warsaw’s curry lovers, but although they have outposts elsewhere, it’s the Koneser venture we love the most – a feast for the eye, 1,760 hang from the ceiling to generate a warming glow that mixes naturally with the brick finishes and spirited works of the art. And the menu is equally noteworthy thanks to its non-standard approach: instead of the usuals, the focus is on Indian street bites given a five star reinvention.
Of Koneser’s other mainstays, look to Orzo, an energetic, casual dining concept with ace cocktails and a jungle of air-purifying plants – the menu of burgers, pizzas and pastas is right for the mood. Then, there’s Azia, an ambitious and beautiful looking venue with Japanese, Chinese and Thai influences all on their menu.
Centrum Praskie Koneser
Pl. Konesera, koneser.eu