Devoted to smashing norms, join us for a look at the Hopito Brewery’s newest Warsaw pub…
These are testing times for the craft beer industry, with the planet’s spiraling costs arguably impacting this niche market more than any other category in the F&B industry – and if you want proof, then just take a look at the number of craft beer bars that have vanished since those first days of Covid.
But it hasn’t all been boom-to-bust, and as startling as the current economic climate may be, some breweries have seized the opportunity to solidify their presence on the market – and you can include Hopito in that number.
For maximum shock value tastes, look no further than this mob. They brew the classics with uncompromising competence, but it’s their experimental line that really fires the imagination. Established in 2018, this brewery quickly gained a reputation for wildly fun beers such as Grizzly (hazelnut and Brazilian coffee imperial pastry stout) and the Jungle Smoothie mango IPA. Paired with labels doodled by Poland’s top street artists, it’s little wonder that it’s this brand that has become the go-to option for the country’s new generation of craft beer drinkers.
Bricks & Mortar
How better to showcase all your new beers than by opening a pub? That’s what Hopito did in 2020, and straight away it stole the hearts of a Gen Z crowd with its skater boy vibe, mango pizzas and craft beer slushies. Targeting a younger crowd than that found in the nearby craft refuges of Nowogrodzka, it was a place that caught the zeitgeist to become one of Warsaw’s best piss-ups.
Thriving at a time when other bars struggled to keep their head above the water, Hopito’s fresh outlook helped keep it packed during the craft scene’s darkest hour – so much so, that a second outpost was needed to satisfy demand.
Making its debut in mid-January, Hopito’s second Warsaw venture is in some ways similar, in other ways different. For sure, there could have been no better location that the one they chose. Mirroring the brand’s radical image, Chmielna has to be one of the most controversial throughfares in Warsaw: symbolic to many of the whole ‘death of the high street’ crisis, for significant stretches much of it is a littered, junky mess. But there’s also spirit here, something underlined by the number of young drinkers that can be seen teeming down the street often shrieking into the night.
As much as we like their daddy joint, there’s something about it that feels a little in-yer-face. Often loud, swarmed and overly bright, you don’t need nine beers to feel the onset of a migraine. Their second space, therefore, offers welcome respite. Bathed in shadows, it feels a little more grown-up in its target.
Though similarly decorated with Hopito’s trademark street art squiggles, there’s a high degree comfort on account of their velvety booths. Less open-plan the original, likewise the number of little seating zones minimizes the noise – sitting here, you can actually here yourself communicating with the people that you’re with. Featuring gold trim, neon lighting and brick finishes, it’s fashionable and young yet also user-friendly.
Food & Drink
When it comes to burgers, Warsaw jumped that shark about ten years ago. Even so, a good burger is a good burger, and in Hopito it’s very good indeed. Averaging at about PLN 40, they’re by no means cheap, but the quality for these stacked pieces of greatness speaks far louder than the price tag.
As for beers, there’s 19 taps to pick from, with Hopito’s own brews contributing to around half the line-up – to open our account, we went for the Mixtape, a strawberry-pear-cherry sour with a suitably sweet, happy tang. Other non-conformists slurps followed, with perhaps the weirdest being Kind of Magic, an Imperial Pastry Sour Ale with peach, guava, banana, lime and coconut.
But it’s not just radicalized drinkers that Hopito cater towards, and more normal pints can also be easily found, among them, Czech classics from brewers such as Primator and Rohozec. That such diversity exists deserves applause, but then so too does this pub as a whole. For too long Warsaw’s craft scene has centered itself around Nowogrodzka – now, with Pinta and Hoppiness also just a short walk away, Chmielna can provide an alternative craft crawl that’s every bit as good.
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