Warsaw is a place that makes it hard to find the best bars. With no genuine drinking district, decent venues are often spread out across a large area or hidden away down back streets you might not even know exist. Take Mały Wojtek, a bar allegedly named after a neighbor who makes persistent noise complaints. It’s right in the city center just off ul. Chmielna, but situated as it is in the darkened courtyard of a pre-war tenement, there’s every chance you’ve never heard of it – let alone visited.
Marketed as a bistro/bar it’s definitely more of the latter as it only truly hits its stride come nightfall – that despite the early opening hours and the fresh food and coffee options aimed at daytime punters. As you’d expect with a place that has ‘little’ in the title it’s not one of the biggest bars you’ll find, but sometimes good things come in small packages and that’s definitely the case here with a great design that includes a wooden bar and tables that mix well with oversized black and white lampshades, original brickwork and tiled floors.
On the beer front the very decent Książęce Ciemne, a dark, smooth option that slips down very easily, sits well alongside its bedfellow Książęce’s Czerwone – but that’s about it in terms of pint glass options, something which may disappoint the connoisseurs among you. However, a more than respectable selection of spirits includes some lesser known but good quality Polish and foreign vodkas, as well as a decent array of whisky and brandy, meaning there’s still plenty of variety.
In terms of negatives it can certainly be hard to find a place to stand on Friday and Saturday night particularly between the hours of 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. Added to this the music is hit and miss, with some top drawer guitar based music making way for an awful album of soul/jazz covers of classic 80s hits by The Cure and The Ramones during our most recent visit. But to counter this the service is spot on, and with great interiors and a laid back atmosphere it’s certainly a bar that you should take the time to seek out. (DI)