Speak the words ‘art café’ and I think of Kraków. Specifically, I think of the Kazimierz district and its dark, shadowy haunts – you know the sort, cobwebs in the corner and chipped, wobbly tables. Crowded around them, student girls in stripy leggings, and pseudo intellectuals with second hand books.
So when I first heard about Warsaw’s MiTo, that’s pretty much the picture that first sprang to mind. I couldn’t have been more wrong. Set round the corner from pl. Konstytucji, this place has reinvented the whole art café genre. No jumble sale furniture here, God no. Instead find dentist white backgrounds offset by modern art and edgy designer fittings; spin around a few times and you might just think you’re in the Tate Modern.
Style-wise it works, with the wide spaces complimented by engaging art, a whole wall of intelligent reading material and floor-to-ceiling windows that allow maximum light to pour through inside. Of course, it’s more than just a café: it’s a gallery, a bookshop, and frankly a new way of life for Warsaw’s free thinkers. On the flip side, that also means it’s not ego-free, and to this extent don’t be too taken aback to find swaggering, skinny people wearing t-shirts claiming (rather unconvincingly) ‘I’m a Fucking Artist’. Indeed.
Androgynous morons aside, it is however worth considering as a nocturnal venue. That’s down to a selection of beers sourced from obscure breweries only the truly committed piwo-phile will be aware of – for instance, it’s one of the few haunts in Warsaw dispensing the magnificent Bracki Rauch Bock: the ‘grand champion’ of the 2012 Birofilia Festival held in Żywiec. MiTo’s beery credentials are amply sustained by the presence of other more quirky beers, and it’s no surprise to learn this was the chosen venue for the launch of Ale Browar’s Naked Mummy pumpkin tinged Christmas tipple. With this in mind, it’s significantly easier to overlook the twitsters who’ve claimed this as home. (AW)