The ultimate 2017- 2018 guide to the best bars and pubs in Krakow!
Krakow is a true gem in the very middle of Europe. This pretty city was almost intact in the second world war, which meant that the beautiful, medieval city center and the Jewish district, Kazimierz, survived almost without a scratch. No matter how old and stylish this city might look, the pretty surface hides an astonishingly crazy nightlife under the surface. This combination of beauty, nightlife and the generally high level of locals’ English make it amazing to be a tourist or an expat here. Oh, and nightlife is literally under the surface because in Krakow most of the bars and nightclubs are underground. Let’s dig in!
Everyone, who has already visited Krakow, knows that life here never stops. The morning is for sightseeing, the night is for parties where absolutely everything can happen. You start with a pub crawl and when the first bottle of Soplica arrives to your table, you will know you are entering a dimension gate of maximum pleasure and zero control. Then you grab a small piece of memory of getting sucked into the middle of a hen-party-circle just to end up in a flat of an Italian Erasmus guy, who has received a professional strip show for his birthday. The next day, you will notice a never-ending smug smirk on your face as you under attack by waves of terrible headache when you notice you have just woken up in the middle of the city fountain. Yes, all of this is possible in Krakow and yes, only in one night.
The beauty of the nightlife in Krakow comes from the fact that party life is geographically concentrated, which means you will have tons of options within walking distance. The three main party hubs are the Rynek area (main square), the Jewish district (Kazimierz) and the berlinised old tobacco factory (Tytano aka Dolnych Młynów 10). You can start in one area and easily jump to another one as you wish. To help your discovery, we have selected 4-4 must experience nightclubs and bars from the wide variety of choices. You are about to read a list that is subjective of the places we love the most.
Sometimes you hear locals say: “There are only moldy cellars in Krakow, we don’t have great nightclubs at all. If you want to party, take a train to Warsaw.” Don’t believe them, you can party in several great clubs in Krakow. Let’s see our top four clubs visited also by our Krawl Through Krakow Pub Crawl Tour!
This place is one of the nightclubs that students love. Alternatywy is in a typical underground cellar made special by the atmosphere it offers. The best alcoholic offers are here for party people, you can get 10 shots and a couple of beers for a few pounds, which are so delicious that you immediately want to get another one. After that just go to the dance floor, where you rock your body to the best music from 80’s and 90’s. Alternatywy is a genuinely happy nightclub, where people go to feel good and not to show off. If you gathered enough bravery from the raw of shots then try karaoke every Tuesday. Remember, there is no such thing as “bad voice”, only not enough alcohol. Drink, sing and enjoy your youth or feel young again!
Shine is the complete opposite of most of the clubs in Krakow located between the Rynek area and Kazimierz. This is a huge, glamorous, above ground place that has two main halls with different types of music. Here people dress up in their best suits for the enormous parties this nightclub offers. Going to Shine is a programme you prepare for. Well organised carnival parties, robo-shows or a dance-battle on spacious dance floor, these are all in the spectrum of this giant. Once you are in just grab a your favourite drink form one of the two bars, check which hall you like the most and throw yourself into the neon revelry. Try to avoid the bouncers though, they have a bad reputation here.
Being one of the oldest underground clubs in Kraków according to locals, this is the only nightclub in Kraków that is “worth something”. It is true, Prozak 2.0 is a phenomenon, a modern club in a medieval basement, very close to the city center. Named after a popular anti-depressant, Prozak 2.0 offers you a place, where your brain switches off and you party mindlessly until daylight comes and even after. If you wish to confess your sins you accumulated in Prozak 2.0, you can do so in one of the churches around. Until then, just get lost in the labyrinth of rooms where the latest techno and house music is played often by the best DJ’s in the world. Can your body handle the bass of a world-class sound system? Go and find out!
This nightclub should be compulsory for foreigners. Hush Live, located right in the city center, brings you the original Polish party culture with the atmosphere of a Polish “wesele” or wedding in English. The music is genuine, 100% disco polo, which is the typical rural music, invented several decades ago. The best dancing strategy for disco polo that has been developed for generations is the following. Take a bottle of Polish wódka, drink many shots until you feel brave enough but can still walk and then go to the dancefloor, grab somebody and dance. This strategy works for both guys and girls, trust us. Your shoulders might be out of their sockets – mind you, dancing skills are not required at all – but there is nothing a few more shots of Żubrówka can’t cure. So get your wódka now, and forget your problems dancing in the flashlights on Hush Live’s spacious dancefloor.
Bars / Pubs
There is one thing everyone agrees on in Kraków. The pub and bar culture is simply amazing! In the big party areas, there are different bars or pubs pretty much in every building that comes with a unique atmosphere, style, and variety of drinks. Check our top four out! (If you don’t feel like pub crawling with us).
“Local beer for local people”, this could be the slogan of Weźże Krafta, located in the old tobacco factory. The agglutinated “-że” is part of the local dialect, with which the name of the pub translated as “Take craft beers, yo!” And this is exactly what you are doing there! The pub has a spacious beer hall, where you will sit with your special beer you selected from the 20-25 different types beers mostly from local breweries. During the summer you can choose to do the same outside in the garden of the old factory. Weźże Krafta is the perfect example of the berlinisation of Eastern Europe. Enjoy, you beer lovers!
Forum, located right right next to the riverbank inside an abandoned and monstrous hotel, is the best place in Kraków to experience the local hipster culture. Tattooed and pierced folks with their cute dogs walk into Forum every day with all generations represented. Providing a combination of pubs’ and bars’ offers, in Forum coffee is fantastic, great reform food is also offered for vegetarians, vegans and carnivores as well. You can buy quality beer and wine too. When the weather is good you will even see an old, rasta guy with two horses grazing peacefully in front of Forum, right next to the Wisła bank. Great show for you during the hot summer, when you are one of the hundreds of people occupying the river bank sipping a good cold beer or lemonade sitting in your camping chair. In winter, listen to chillout music next to the cozy fireplace and feel like home.
Banialuka on Szewska street
No,you are not in Bosnia and Herzegovina, you are in the busiest party street of Kraków. BaniaLuka is a Polish franchise of pubs, where you can eat and drink for cheap, only the amount it is that can stop you. Cheap alcohol helps all different kinds of people, foreigners, expats, locals, dating couples etc. to merge into one drunk melting pot of human life forms. Given its central location, everything is close to this BaniaLuka. No matter, which direction you leave this pub, you will find a club to go to so it is always packed with people,who are ready to party or, who have just finished partying and eating. Thank God Polish food is basically invented against cold and hangover.
According to the name Klub RE is a club but it is more like a lovely bar that an average tourist would never find in the sea of Kraków pubs. It is in the middle of the city center but also in a backyard of a house complex so its location is not obvious to the untrained eye. Take a good beer in the garden full of trees or underground and enjoy the authenticity of RE offering a warm and welcoming atmosphere, which is untouched by the soullessness of commercial capitalism. The owner is still many times behind the bar with his mother and a successful businessman is still coming back every Friday to serve the guests of RE. Grab your friends or a your loved one and have a deep conversation as your faces are lit by candlelight and your shoulders are moving automatically to the rhythm of funky music.