Progress hits Warsaw in waves – first one area, then the next. But till recently, one district remained resistant to change. Seemingly Berlin Wall-ed from the rest of the capital, the glowering Stalinist fortress of Muranów hasn’t changed a bit – only its inmates have grown older.
If Wilanów is young couples with Mercs and baby buggies, and Powiśle is all hipsters with baggy pants and alternative hair, then Muranów is best defined by old women with mohair berets and fat, yappy dachshunds.
But Muranów is not some secretive, hermetic republic. Look carefully, and changes have crept in. Perhaps most dramatic has been the introduction of PaństwoMiasto, the focal point of Muranów’s nightlife. Marked by the fairy lights that hang cobweb-like from the trees outside, on entering visitors are hit by a wave of activity and clatter. While the place looks blank in colour and cavernous in style, the background works well – you feel immediately at ease.
Yet the biggest draw is not the drinks (a few regional beers, some decent coffee), nor the food (a line of cakes and sandwiches), rather the people itself. You expect this to be a hipster haunt, yet it’s anything but. Scholastic in spirit, there’s a heavy intellectual undercurrent, one emphasized by the art sales, political discussions and book readings. But for all that, it’s neither cliquey nor elitist. There’s an openness here that’s rare for Warsaw. It’s a place that doesn’t just aim it’s offer at a select chosen few, it’s more inclusive than that. Which is why it hasn’t just caused a stir round the Muranów twilight zone, but outside as well.
PaństwoMiasto ul. Andersa 29