When I think of Chmielna it’s always as Chmielna A and Chmielna B. The former is the wide pedestrian street most people are familiar with; the latter, the strip that runs behind it. In terms of contrast, the difference between the two couldn’t be more pronounced. Whereas Chmielna A feels tired and tacky, Chmielna B is a secret little goldmine. In this case, B stands for Better. And it’s in here, settled between creative agencies and swish-looking guesthouses, you’ll find Kos, a neighborhood café that’s sent a rattle through the area.
Actually, calling it just a café is a disservice: after all, Starbucks claim to be one as well. True, they both serve coffee, but even in these early days of business one gets the idea that Kos is about something more: it’s a place intent on stitching the neighborhood together. That much is made clear by a diverse events calendar that features a panoply of activities: yoga courses to weekend brunches via the occasional kid’s improvisation class.
As commendable as these social actions are, it’s the basics that Kos do so well. Drenched in natural sunlight, what risks being a standard oblong space is given impetus by a design involving deep armchairs, wooden windowsills splayed with cushions and a giant ‘fotomat’ –a mysterious machine that transpires to be a great, big selfie device. Yet while novelties and quirks abound, it’s the practicalities that push Kos that extra step: swift wifi, own-brand eco coffee from their sister establishment, the award-winning Cophi, and a menu of homemade snacks and bits. If there is something missing, then that’s the alcohol license, something that stands to be rectified in the very near future.
ul. Chmielna 9A (Jewish Community Center)