With the 13th Warsaw Beer Festival now a memory, those who’ve gained a thirst for craft beer are spoiled for choice – over 40 bars are listed on the ontap.pl app, but to make life easier we’ve picked up some of our Insider favorites!
Cuda Na Kiju
ul. Nowy Świat 6/12
It all began here! Opened in 2013, find Warsaw’s first legitimate tap bar slotted inside a glass prism hidden in the mega structure that once housed the Communist Party headquarters. Notable for its glass walls, sweeping spiral stairwell and pinball machines, 15 taps keep the guests amused. Though less experimental than many of Warsaw’s tap bars, Cuda is well-loved by all. And we mean all – in sunnier months, the front terrace and inner courtyard pack out with hundreds of drinkers.
ul. Grzybowska 2
It’s hard to believe now, but Cześć started life as a café. What happened to that? Well, the locals preferred their beer. Now looking comfortably rugged and worn-in after nearly nine years of service, this box of a room was arguably the first ‘quali-tap’ in Warsaw. Quali-tap? Yeah, by that we mean small, little places with six or seven beers on the go. The rotation of new finds is balanced well with traditional faves from the likes of Artezan and Pinta.
ul. Haberbuscha i Schielego 2
When it comes to beer Browar Warszawski favor tradition over craziness – there’s 18 house beers on tap, and they do a grand job of broadly introducing Poland’s crafty direction. Feeling Feeling reassuringly cosmopolitan, this swanky multi-floor emporium targets itself at a higher-end clientele than others, a point reflected by both its prices and design. There’s a strong industrial aesthetic, but this softened by a proliferation of warming touches such as lavishly upholstered seats and tiny antique details. It’s a beauty!
Craft Beer Muranów
ul. Andersa 23
Humble and unpretentious, CBM’s rising stock has been reflected by their growing reputation as one of the finest tap bars with a suburban postcode. Split over two levels, as basic as the aesthetic is (screechy chairs and some murals that reference the brewing process), it has an atmosphere that feels warm and clattery – it feels like a local pub should. Deserving credit for their consistency (a dodgy pint is totally unheard of), look to CBM’s sixteen taps for renegade beers that push frontiers.
ul. Żurawia 32/34
Appealing to a far younger, more party-oriented crowd than the area’s other craft joints, find a sloshed audience weaving around a neon lit room decorated with black and white doodles by some of Poland’s biggest street artists. The beer offer is highly commendable, and even includes a beer slushy machine! Specializing in the beers of Hopito (you’d never have guessed), the choice is unflinchingly fun and boosted by great pizzas from a Neapolitan wood-fired oven.
ul. Nowomiejska 10
Squashed into two narrow, rugged rooms decorated with benches and rough plaster walls, Same Krafty are credited with rescuing Old Town’s visitors from big beer brands peddling piss. Offering artisan alternatives, this intimate bar lures visitors looking to explore the more subversive side of Polish brewing. And if the queue is too long? Head five meters opposite to Same Krafty Vis-à-vis. You will find tourists, but locals are often the majority, a telling indicator that says much for their approval rating.
ul. Chmielna 7/9
Taking the space once occupied by the ill-fated Mikkeller Bar, Pinta bears many of the hallmarks of the previous tenant: a pared down Scandi design set across two glass-fronted floors round the back of Chmielna. Featuring plenty of concrete and chunks of shipping containers, the sparsity of the design keeps your attention on the beer – and it’s brilliant. Pinta, if you don’t know, are considered the founding fathers of Poland’s craft beer scene, and this bar gives their portfolio the attention it deserves.
ul. Bora-Komorowskiego 56A
Raj Piwosza started out as craft store – but such was the demand they went the next step and launched a bar next door with a similarly exhaustive selection of drinkies. Set in a newish residential development on the frontline of Grochów, Gocław, Saska Kępa, their 18 taps have glued the neighborhood together with a catch-all offer that ranges from bog standard (Guinness, Belgian wheats, Czech pils) to beautifully bewildering.
Beer Station Centrum
ul. Lwowska 17
Proudly run by Belarussian exiles (that’s a pre-Lukashenko flag behind the bar), traipse down a plunging set of stairs to reach a cave-like space whose warm brick skin can just about be discerned amid the darkness. For booze, there’s twelve beers on tap and these include some excellent craft swigs along with more standard drinks. The choice is not revolutionary, but this place is loved by all those who like a wild night – the weekends do get messy!
ul. Wilcza 29
Get down with the regulars at Gorączka Złota, a steamy pub with a rowdy atmosphere. Touting the dimensions of a cabin boy’s quarters, this pungent, pokey den is one of the oldest bars in town. Despite carrying many epic beers from Poland’s rebel brewers, there’s nothing faddish about GZ and it’s this sense of normalcy that lends it its enduring appeal. With just five taps, this place is about quality not quantity.
ul. Nowogrodzka 12
Drowned in boisterous babble and general pub racket, the affable Jabbers is home to what most rate as the most adventurous choice of craft beer in the city: pioneering international breweries are well represented, but don’t overlook the sensational drinks produced by Jabeerwocky’s very own master brewer.
ul. Nowogrodzka 4
The Double D’s positioning at the head of Nowogrodzka makes it the ideal spot to kick-off a pub crawl. Evoking the look of a disused power station, it’s a place of rugged brickwork, steel girders, vintage voltage meters and, get this, toilets disguised as elevator shafts. Set over three floors, the 14 craft taps are largely committed to the wild tastes of modern Poland. If you like what you see, they’ve got another outpost in Ochota.
Kufle i Kapsle
ul. Nowogrodzka 25
Opened during Poland’s initial wave of craft pubs, this first generation pub has nine-years of history behind it, and along with it that beautiful smell of good times and spillage. Respectful of the building’s pre-war heritage, the interiors feature a warming back room with low-slung armchairs, but the real action is out front where note-taking nerds and international pissheads join as one to clamor around a bar serving some of the best beer in Poland. For the real radical choices though, look down into the fridge. Excellent in all respects, they’ve also got two suburban bastions in Żoliborz and Powiśle.
ul. Chmielma 27/31
The compact, box-like dimensions of Hoppiness mean that it doesn’t take much of a crowd to generate a babbly atmosphere full of laughs and cackles. There’s not much on the design front, but such is the buzz details become lost in the ensuing blur of random conversation and clinking glasses. Tap-wise, there’s twelve to choose from.
ul. Żurawia 32/34
With over 50 taps to choose from, and even more beers in the fridge(s), the choice at Brewski can really overwhelm – our tip, scope out the offer before turning up by looking at the ontap app. Once the home of the scuzzy, all-hours Piw Paw, Brewski have smartened up the interior (though not the toilet) to add a sense of class with an array of Chesterfield sofas.