Shot therapy? Step in, for that’s what’s on offer in Warsaw’s strangest launch for quite some time. While theme bars are the rage in Asia (Hitler and toilets figure highly among other inappropriate motifs), in Poland they’ve never really taken off – and that’s fine with me. I like my pubs to have a pub theme: craft beer, a come-hither barmaid, and no scatological atrocities waiting in the gents. I don’t like complicated bars, the right change and the big match on TV really is enough.
But this is 2013 and, apparently, drinkers need to be entertained. I can’t think of any other reason why anyone would open a hospital-themed bar, for that is what Warsaw has given birth to. And in the shape of Przychodnia, we don’t have a bar modeled on the Medicover chateau in Wilanów, but a bar themed on the grim hospitals from communism…
There was a time when I’d end up in hospital pretty much every other Saturday with some serves-you-right wound. I’ve edged past that stage in life, so Przychodnia gives me flashbacks. But even though I didn’t want to like it, there are things I found I did. You’ve got to hand it to them, the interiors are marvelous: operating theater lights, surgical utensils and fun murals to a background of clinic white colors. Even a cantankerous curmudgeon like I can see the humor. And then there’s the smoking room which is kitted out to look like a toilet (you wonder about the wisdom of pairing drunk people with something that looks like a toilet but actually isn’t…). In fact, the most normal room of all is, in actuality, the toilet. Unfortunately, it was empty, thwarting my plans to pound on doors shrieking ‘it’s an emergency’.
The food is excellent, considering the price – I ate meatballs and white sausage and was left both pleased and surprised. Drinks, though, receive mixed scores. Try the shots, served in test tubes by lab-coated staff. Don’t try the beer. It’s Żywiec & Co. here, rotten lager that might leave you requiring a real hospital. All in all though, I liked it, and I think most people will. Unfortunately, by their very nature novelties are capricious – they wear off, and usually quite fast. So far they’ve got a cool, fun crowd. But will they be here in three years? (AW)