Warsaw’s latest wine bar presents a departure from the norm…
After years of enduring the same sameness, Warsaw’s wine drinkers have a bar scene that has finally hit its stride.
Dispensing with years of formality and anonymous warehouse-style offerings, the last few months have seen a rich crop of chic tasting rooms emerge as well as super funky wine spots such as Kontakt and Rascal – to call these top class would not be an exaggeration.
Now, freshly opened in January, there’s one more place to add to the ever expanding list – and it’s already quite a hit.
If Niewinność sounds familiar then so it bloody well should – present in Hala Gwardii since about Year Dot, it was this original joint that helped popularize wine with Warsaw’s younger drinkers. Their continued success, however, demanded something that looked a little less pop-up and a little more permanent. Hey presto, their Zgoda location was born as a result.
It’s a strange street, Zgoda. Presenting a look that says ‘beauty and the beast’, its confounding mix of architectural styles is set against graffiti squiggled walls and dank, stained courtyards enriched by pools of piss. In many ways, it’s Warsaw in a nutshell – on one side sleek and glossy, and on the other cracked and grubby. Likewise, this inconsistency applies also to its F&B. Though better-known for its mainstream disappointments, Zgoda does have some highlights: the raucous Shamrock, for instance, as well as the Vietnamese vegan tastes found at La Vegana. For all that, the real reason to visit is to enjoy Niewinność.
We love it. From the moment of entrance, find yourself beckoned inside a modern-looking space decked with individually accrued items – zaps of neon, framed poster art and splashes of greenery set on crisp white walls. Occupying three different areas, these include a main level featuring a sturdy communal table and, finally, a snug little side chamber with a few more seats and tables. Featuring plenty of personalized touches, it’s a place that looks and feels more like a super cool loft apartment – albeit one stocked with more wines than usual.
When it comes to the vibe, it’s not just the interior that makes it what it is, but the people as well. Completely lacking in that frosty formality that defines many of Warsaw’s wine spots, the welcome here has more in line with entering your favorite local pub.
Both the owner and staff are happy to see you, and they’ll make you feel valued no matter what the level of your wine knowledge may be – and boy, that’s a good thing when all you know about wine is that, erm, you like it.
Easygoing to the max, their mood is dangerously contagious, and that seeps through to a carefree, young-ish crowd that, on our visit, encompassed all from immaculately dressed office bods, a girl gang on a night out and a scattering of dating couples.
Drinks & Nibbles
Sustenance is provided by way of flamm, a thin pizza-like food with German cultural roots, whilst drinks include a range of spirits and wines from such producers as New Zealand’s Esk Valley and Spain’s Angosto. Sold at highly accessible price points of around PLN 16 per glass, the affordability is equaled by the underlying quality that runs through Niewinność.
Zgoda 5, facebook
(Photos: Kevin Demaria)