With St. Valentine knocking on the door, join us for a look at some of Warsaw’s most romantic (and not so romantic) bars, clubs and drinking dens.
Aura Hoża 27
A candidate for Warsaw’s smallest bar, this little corner of Hoża seduces with its sensually exotic air. Featuring a Moroccan-style design, it’s simultaneously snug and warming yet glamorously on-trend. The cocktails fit the mood perfectly.
After… The Cinema
Charlie Kinoteka Pl. Defilad 1
Every cocktail afficionado will know the Gatsby-esque Charlie on Mokotowska, but they’ve now opened a new location in the Palace of Culture. When you’re done with watching a film at Kinoteka (showing on Valentine’s: The Worst Man in the World), then slip into Charlie for sensual cocktails served in a breath-takingly plush environment. Leaving with PKiN looming above is itself an experience.
Take… Your Tinder
Reginabar Koszykowa 1
With its retro NYC vibe, you can count on Regina Bar to deliver something fun, and this they’ve done by unleashing a new cocktail menu inspired by theclassic pop tracks of the Noughties, 90s and 80s before them. Titled Girls On Top, the menu is as fun and glitzy as the bar and the people inside it.
Something… Fun & Flirty
VHS Bar Poznańska 7
It’s back to the 80s in VHS, a pint-sized brick cellar embellished with flamingo pink neons and super fun cocktails fixed by staff in zany shirts. And then there’s the matter of the wackiest toilet you’ll find in the city – you’ll be relieving yourself under the grinning gaze of Mitch Buchanan…
Jazz… Up Your Night
Jassmine Wilcza 73 (Nobu Hotel)
Dark and lush on the eye, Jassmine could easily play a cameo in a David Lynch flick: a more enthralling jazz bar you won’t find in Warsaw. Already revealing their plans for Valentine’s, those checking-in will be doing so to listen to the Yilian Cañizares Resilience Trio.
Enjoy… The View
Loreta Widok 9 (Puro Hotel)
When it comes to rooftop bars, there are certainly better and more dramatic views than those offered by Loreta – but this gets our vote not so much for the terrace wedged in the corner, but rather because the rest of the place just feels so right. Eclectic art, funky décor, inventive cocktails and a great playlist serve to click together and ensure a great night for two.
Stay… The Night
Lane’s Gin Bar
Krakowskie Przedmieście 42/44 (Bristol Hotel)
Soft on the eye, its peachy-pink colors exude a stylish warmth – think elegant and luxurious but in a way that’s subtle and discreet. Featuring no shortage of brass, glass, stone and satin, the floaty ambience is lent further oomph by what we reckon to be the best lux cocktails in the city. The world class standards extend upstairs – make a night of it and check-in at reception to enjoy the five star comforts of the Bristol Hotel. Doing so, you’ll be joining famous couples like JFK & Jackie.
Mielżyński Wine Bar Burakowska 5/7
Some say Mielżyński is best visited in summer – when drinkers outside pile onto the cobbles and pristine lawn to drink in the shade of the rustling trees. But it’s great in winter, as well – tangled in vines and creeping ivy, this brick warehouse became Warsaw’s first bona fide wine bar when it opened 18-years back, and as such it’s arguably seen more proposals than any other existing drinks venue. Re-live the magic of those early dates at this legendary spot.
Paloma Inn Poznańska 21
Not much different to stepping inside an episode of The Jetsons, Paloma is a young, fun celebration of all things retro – but never does it feel stupid. The cocktails are gorgeous, and you should enjoy them by sharing fondue and talking of the future.
Before… An Old Town Walk
Bar & Books Podwale 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’s charming, misty streets.
Planning… A Night In?
Natural Rascal Bottle Shop Hoża 61 (enter from ul. E. Plater)
Founded by interior designer Dominika Buck and film producer Radek Drabik, Warsaw’s most talked about importer have continued to make a splash ever since setting up a bricks-and-mortar location on a trending stretch of lively Emili Plater. Specializing in natural wines sourced from small, artisanal wineries, the diverse and unconventional portfolio is rendered understandable by the helpful staff. If you’re planning a night of home romance, stopping by here should be mandatory for all.
Ale Wino Mokotowska 48
With its ritzy pre-war tenements and posh perfumeries and boutiques, no street evokes the same atmosphere as Mokotowska: here, you understand why Warsaw was once known as the Paris of the East. At Ale Wino, that feeling continues when you sidle through its labyrinth of corridors before setting your shopping bags down to enjoy food and wine that’s long been known as some of the best in the country.
Visiting… The Opera?
Bubbles Piłsudskiego 9
A special date at the opera deserves a special drink after (or before) – find that at Bubbles, a bar-bistro whose très romantique ambiance is given extra glow through its dimmed lighting and warming sense of clutter. Moreover, you’ve got oysters and snails cooked to perfection. Meanwhile, the prodigious choice of champagne and sparkling wine really earns them their name.
Worek Kości Bagatela 10
Worek Kości is best-know as the city’s premier burlesque bar (and regular host of forensics lectures), but for Valentine’s expect a live concert of jazzy love titles. Enjoy the show in a skull-decorated interior that summons the spirit of Edgar Allan Poe. Often touting macabre names, the original cocktails are a conversation starter as well.
When… You’re By The River
Kandela Dobra 42 (Elektrownia)
On a foggy February, a riverside walk can be both bracing and magical – doubly so if you combine it with nosing around the Museum of Modern Art. After, warm-up in Kandela, the upmarket bar found to the left of the neon-lit food hall in Elektrownia Powiśle.
Long Bar Krakowskie Przedmieście 13 (Raffles Europejski Hotel)
Having ticked off a trip to the Zachęta Gallery, cross the windswept expanses of Pl. Piłsudskiego before settling into the Raffles Europejski. The public area’s themselves aren’t short on pricey domestic art, but it’s to the Long Bar you must head. The swoon-worthy design befits the Raffles brand, as do the lovingly composed cocktails. Whoever you’re with is going to feel a million bucks.
On… A First Date?
La Buvette Mochnackiego 4/43
La Buvette don’t actually open on Monday’s, but nonetheless, store the address in your head. French-run, this side street charmer is a place feels romantic but relaxed rather than over-the-top. Quality-driven and authentic, its an ideal spot for a no-pressure date.
When… Your Status Is Complicated
The Shamrock Zgoda 5
Every list needs a wildcard, so let the Shamrock be ours. First things first: this Irish pub is as basic as they come – and as for the toilet, it can be seriously distressing. But hey, people visit because this place is bloody good fun. Aimed more at a young international crowd (think Erasmus students, under-30s, etc.) rather than gloomy old men discussing Brexit, that’s reflected by events such as their Valentine’s ‘traffic light party’. Basically, turn up wearing green to announce you’re single, red to flag yourself as taken, and yellow if you’re something in between.
See… The Spirit of New Warsaw
Piano Bar Żelazna 51/53 (Norblin Factory)
Filled with glittering skyscrapers and revamped factory complexes, the atmosphere of New Warsaw comes alive around the heart of Wola. Crowned with a show-stealing chandelier, and simply oozing sophistication, the Piano Bar has come to be one of the city’s top check-ins; mixed and fixed by black-tie servers, you visit this venue to be wowed by the drinks and vibe.
DISCLAIMER: unless otherwise mentioned, the venues listed above should be open on Valentine’s Day – but do check ahead to avoid disappointment.