Born from a desire to help the city’s craft beer scene, an organization founded during the pandemic has unveiled a series of historical-themed drinking trails aimed at reconnecting people to both the city they live in and some of the best bars in town.
The initiative of Wolny Kraft, the project is a work in progress with seven walks currently presented online (two of which are in English) and yet more in the pipeline.
Featuring easy-to-use maps sprinkled with historical points of interest, the sightseeing routes take users not just past some of the city’s hidden and not-so-hidden glories, but also a series of pubs on the frontline of Poland’s brewing revolution.
“It pretty much began when I asked pub owners how our organization could help them,” Paweł Leszczyński tells the Insider. “I thought that they’d want to maybe promote their hygiene standards, but instead their response surprised me.”
“Stop going on about the virus was their answer,” Leszczyński continues. “Everyone’s sick of hearing about it. If you want to help, they said, tell people they can still have fun exploring the city whilst using craft beer as their guiding hand. So that’s what we set about creating! We’ve always liked our history, and we’ve always enjoyed pub crawls, so we just joined the dots together.”
Edited by Leszczyński – himself the co-founder of the Warsaw Beer Festival – and compiled by leading industry figures such as beer judges Przemek Iwanek and Marcin Orwicz and legendary bloggers Michał Sulkowski and Michał ‘Docent’ Maranda, the tours covers such routes as the historic center, suburban Ochota, upcoming Praga, gritty Grochów, the city center and Jewish Warsaw.
“We wanted it to be a little personal,” says Leszczyński, “and to share our own paths and thoughts while presenting a small part of the monumental events and stories that served to make our city what it is today – we wanted to show the dynamic and eclectic chaos of Warsaw, which in itself reflects the craft beer scene.”
Along the way users will find themselves passing (and hopefully visiting) not just the bars that have anchored Warsaw’s craft segment, but also hangouts whose tenuous (and occasionally non-existent) connection to new wave beer is offset by their cult reputation. Moreover, the historical points of interest are also rich and varied, running from relics of Communist Poland to funky housing estates, mind-blowing murals, unsung streets, little-known monuments and historic tenements.
“We want people to learn a little about the landmarks they see each day,” adds Leszczyński, “but most of all we want to give people a little extra reason to go out and have a good time!”
(PHOTOGRAPHS: ED WIGHT)