Krakow allegedly has a higher density of bars than anywhere else in Europe, and navigating the eclectic line-up of live music clubs and bohemian drinking dens is undoubtedly one of the best things to do in the city. The characterful Jewish district of Kazimierz has become synonymous with hipster hangouts while a 200,000-strong student population – 20% of the city’s entire populace – ensures there’s always a party happening somewhere.
Best bars in Krakow contents:
Located in the centre of Kazimierz, close to Plac Nowy square, Singer was one of the first bars of its type to open in the hipster Jewish quarter, and to this day it remains one of the best bars in Krakow. The nightly crowds can make it hard to find a free place to sit, but its popularity is justified and if you do manage to grab a spare table then you’re in for a treat. The intimate venue boasts a characterful, speakeasy vibe with dimmed lights, vintage furnishings, and retro carpet and wallpaper while flickering candles and an open fireplace further add to the cosy atmosphere. A shiny mahogany bar is topped with fringed lampshades and retro trinkets, and a large chalkboard menu displays the wide variety of drinks on offer.
Think of the term ‘hipster’ and the drinkers at bohemian hangout Eszeweria are no doubt what springs to mind. Artsy students and twenty-somethings huddle in large groups around rustic wooden tables, filling the grungy concrete rooms with endless puffs of smoke from their hand-rolled cigarettes. Vintage curiosities, pot plants and cracked mirrors are placed among velvet sofas and retro classroom chairs to create a mismatched but aesthetically pleasing backdrop while overpowering bursts of incense intertwined with the scent of cigarette smoke complete the heady atmosphere.
Tucked away under the arcades of ul. Krakowska, Don Chichote is a little harder to find than the likes of Singer and Eszeweria, and as a result, it boasts a few more locals among its clientele. The playful bar is reminiscent of Roald Dahl’s The Twits with a giant rug, a pair of chairs and a coffee table bolted to the ceiling while chintzy lampshades and paisley prints are complementary additions to the playful decor. The cosy mezzanine level is the perfect spot for people watching and the tiny stage is often used for live music performances.
The sprawling Klub RE is home to a labyrinthine cellar and a tree-lined beer garden, making it ideal for both winter and summer months. Exposed brickwork, low-arched ceilings and twinkling fairy lights create the charming interiors, and a regular flow of both locals and tourists ensures there’s always a lively atmosphere. Furthermore, the bar is renowned for hosting a line-up of up-and-coming artists, so be sure to check out the official website to see if there are any gigs on while you’re in town.
Adjoining a contemporary art gallery on the delightful Planty – a charming public garden that runs the circumference of Krakow’s old town – Bunkier Cafe is an inviting, all-day venue that acts as everything from a morning coffee and brunch spot to an early evening date and late-night drinking destination. Floor-to-ceiling glass windows create a unique greenhouse vibe and allow for lovely views over the neighbouring gardens while traditional bistro furnishings and wood-panelled walls and floors form the stripped-back interiors. Further to the views and atmosphere one of the biggest draws to Bunkier Cafe is likely to be the unpasteurised tank beer. The venue is one of the few places in Krakow that serves tank beer, providing a unique opportunity to enjoy a fresh pour served exactly how you’d find it in the neighbouring Czech Republic – arguably the beer capital of the world.
Located at the base of a modern, riverfront apartment complex in the neighbourhood of Podgórze, Drukarnia is a lively bar predominantly frequented by local residents and workers, providing a rare chance to drink among Cracovians rather than tourists. The venue always has a fantastic buzz from 5 pm onwards with lively chatter and loud music filling the room, and the revelry continues late into the night across the four different drinking spaces. Each of the rooms boasts its own individual character with a modern bar and a traditional smoking pub located on the ground floor and a live music venue and nightclub found below ground. The draught Okocim is one of the best tap beers in the city and there’s also a wide selection of craft beers and cocktails.