After all the Doomsday predictions, 2021 saw a wealth of hot openings where nightlife was concerned. Without further ado, we bring you our choice of the Insider’s favorites.
Beer Station Centrum
ul. Lwowska 17
Traipse down a plunging set of stairs to reach a cave-like space whose warm brick skin can just about be discerned amid the darkness. Belarussian-owned, a pre-Lukashenko flag sits defiantly behind a bar that serves a stack of freshly-tapped craft beers. Popular with an international crowd, it’s a great place for a good honest night of boozy salutations!
ul. Haberbuscha i Schielego 2
Greatness was expected from this place, and greatness is what the public duly received. But more than just an excellent craft brewery, it’s popularity was born from a commitment to look beyond anticipated limits – appealing to a smart, ambitious crowd, BW became known for a multi-faceted offer that was staggering in scope.
ul. Francuska 2
With its perfect white colors, the glass-fronted oblong form of this pearl of interwar modernism has an elegant sophistication to it that’s ravishing to look at. But the big hit this year was it’s back garden, complete with a gorgeous balcony accessed by an iconic spiral set of stairs. Drinks-wise, Saska’s impeccable denizens gathered to enjoy awesome house cocktails that were up there with the best.
ul. Żurawia 32/34
Bloody good fun, that’s what Hopito proved to be. Appealing to a far younger, more party-oriented crowd than the area’s other craft joints, that much is expressed via a décor heavy on neon and black and white doodles by Poland’s most eminent street artists. And with beer supplied by maverick brewery Hopito, you just knew that this place was always going to work.
ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 42/44 (Bristol Hotel)
Soft on the eye, it’s peachy-pink colors exude a stylish warmth – think elegant and luxurious but in a way that’s subtle and discreet. Featuring no shortage of brass, glass, stone and satin, the floaty ambience is lent further oomph by a stunning geometric lighting installation and a bar area whose mosaic and glimmering bottles gently riff on the Hotel Bristol’s Art Nouveau and Art Deco spirit. But as delicious as it looks, it sips even better. Left to Karol Rybicki, the cocktails are sensational. Gin-based drinks are a specialty, but in truth everything you order tastes world class. Not that that’s a surprise. In the past, Rybicki has mixed and fixed drinks for names like DiCaprio, Connery, Rihanna and Madonna.
ul. Mochnackiego 4/43
Nestled on a charming street that radiates off Pl. Narutowicza, in brighter months it’s a pleasure to dawdle on the terrace admiring the little dogs that scuttle around their owners. Come evening, pick through boards of gourmet cheese whilst sipping on a curated choice of French wines picked by co-owner Harold, a native of Strasbourg.
ul. Wilcza 43
NOLA: as in New Orleans, Louisiana. Jazz! Hedonism! Etcetera! Almost identical to its predecessor, Koko & Roy, the intimate interior has seen a few nips and tucks – vinyl records, cymbals and some black and white pics added to the walls. Dark and shadowy, its proved popular with the younger expat generation who gather here for drinks that include the Americanized version of Pimm’s.
ul. Poznańska 21
Inspired by The Jetsons, the moon landings and the atom, Paloma Inn is a groovy blast of lunar lines, pea green colors and furnishings and fittings that are retro-futuristic. The experience is compounded by easy listening muzak, 70s menu faves like fondue, an Instagrammable mandarin-colored bathroom and mega fun cocktails.
ul. Chmielna 7/9
It was about time that the founding fathers of Poland’s craft beer scene opened a flagship bar in the capital, and after several delays they finally did that in the middle of the summer. Set across two glass-fronted floors around the back of Chmielna, the Scandi-styled interiors proved a popular place in which to imbibe the best of Polish craft.
With covid has come a new inclination to forego the center and stay closer to home. That served to benefit the suburbs, and new launches such as Raj Piwosza. Set on the frontline of Grochów, Gocław and Saska Kępa, this place became a friendly haven of craft beer, niche wines and artisanal liquid somethings.
Rausz na Wilczej
As a restaurant this place went a little under-the-radar – subsequently reinvented as a wine bar, it fared a whole lot better garnering praise for its extensive collection of unexpected wines. Paired with an engaging and intimate interior, you had one of the year’s big winners.
ul. Poznańska 7
This 80s-themed cocktail bar won plaudits for more than just its sense of humor. Named after figures like Lauper, Idol and The Hoff, the cocktails proved brilliant, as did the atmosphere itself. Set inside a pocket-sized brick cellar lit with fun, garish neon and pics of the era’s defining legends, VHS (and it’s mad, magical bathroom) became a legend of Poznańska.