With dinner done comes the next Valentine’s quandary – where to head for post-prandial drinks?
12 on 14
ul. Noakowskiego 16
For a country with such a noble jazz tradition the paucity of dedicated clubs in the capital feels like an aberration. Doing a sterling job of filling that void are 12 on 14, a venue whose courtyard location lends a feeling of stepping into the unknown.
Decorated with the requisite portraits of trumpet tooting legends, the debonair, moody confines match well with the sounds at hand. Visit on Valentine’s Night and you’ll be listening to the sultry tunes of the Basia Gąsienica-Giewont Quartet – book ahead.
ul. Mokotowska 48
Warsaw has wine bars, just not that many good ones. But who needs anything more when you have Ale Wino. Genial and romantic, Ale Wino’s small but labyrinthine layout, informed service and compelling menu make it a must for date night.
And it feels all the more magical arriving laid down with bags after splurging on the boutiques of Mokotowska.
Bar & Books Podwale
ul. Wąski Dunaj 20
For fireside cocktails in a book-lined, wood-paneled parlor then look no further than Bar & Books. Soothing and sophisticated, trust the intuitive, black tie service to find the drink for the moment.
Given the location, it goes without saying that any Valentine’s evening spent here should conclude with a moonlit walk around the Old Town walls – and so much the better should it ever finally snow.
Pl. Piłsudskiego 9
Functioning as the capital’s only legit champagne bar, such is the ambiance of Bubbles that one gets the idea that inside these walls Valentine’s reigns forever. Despite sounding like a 1980s Essex nightclub, find this bistro locked inside an eternal state of romance. A charismatic assembly of rickety crates, Tolix chairs and deep forest greens, this compact space is ripe for dating. Order a glass of bubbles before plunging into a menu inspired by the slow food philosophy. Damn right there’s a lot to like at Bubbles, but there’s even more to love.
ul. Marszałkowska 45/49
Up the stairs you go to enter Gram, a small room that invokes feelings of stepping inside a circus Big Top. Where Valentine’s is concerned it’s a wildcard suggestion, but one that hits the target in terms of something wacky.
Order up a craft beer from the fridge before making your way around the arcade games and pinball machines squeezed inside – come on, there’s not much to beat the feeling of outscoring your date on Space Invaders and Pac-Man. Between turns, count the number of monkey figures parachuting from the ceiling…
ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 13 (Raffles Europejski Hotel)
Posh doesn’t begin to cover it. Clad in smooth marble, natural oak, eye-catching art and soft tan leather, Long Bar imparts a sense of luxury that feels elegantly timeless yet never excessive nor ostentatious.
This being part of the venerable Raffles chain, you’d be missing the mark if you ordered anything but their signature Slings – make a night of it by roaring through their ten different versions of this trademark drink.
ul. Widok 9 (Puro Hotel)
It’s quite possible that the design stage of Loreta didn’t envision a great big tower block being built next door, but while the view from this top-floor bar isn’t quite as sweeping as it might have been, it does more than enough to feel a little special.
Back indoors, find a cool décor that channels the spirit of this design-led hotel brand through its funky décor and eclectic art: think soft pinkish colors, leafy succulents and loungey extras. For drinks, then turn to house sips such as the Loreta Cup – a sophisticated mix of whisky, agave, chili and lemon. And being perched atop of a hotel, well, why not book a suite and pass the night in style…
ul. Bagatela 10
Under the hollow gaze of hundreds of skulls (“About 400,” speculates the owner), guests kick back inside a dark, shadowy bar that seems to summon the spirit of H.P Lovecraft.
Blurring the line between the theatrical and macabre, it’s fitting that this venue has become the premier spot for a taste of the burlesque: visit on the 13th to watch the likes of Pony Boy Boylesq, Juicy Jane and other such prancing artistes, or else swing by on the 14th for ‘live love songs’ as performed by former Voice of Poland star Filip Rychcik.
Pl. Trzech Krzyży 16
Set in a 200-year-old carriage house within a secretive courtyard, Wozownia started life looking raw and ramshackle – in parts, it still does, but that’s not to say improvements haven’t been made, not least to a Lynch-esque winter garden that feels brilliantly dream-like.
Drinks-wise, kick-ass cocktails sell just as well as the Prosecco, which remains arguably the cheapest glass of sparkly you’ll find in the city. Pair that with a sceney crowd of off-duty DJs, camp dudes with manbags and slender nightlife creatures and you have a place that feels on the front end of hip. Being here, so are you.