Raise a glass at some of the best-loved local pubs and unique watering holes in Krakow. Here are some of the best places to drink in Krakow, where you can sample regional beers and Polish vodka, or hang out in a true sailors’ tavern.
Ursa Maior pub
Inspired by the Ursa Maior (Big Bear) constellation, Ursa Maior beer is a unique product made by passionate locals, and is connected to the wild Bieszczady region. And while you can try it on location at the brewery, you can also find it in the Ursa Maior pub and store in Krakow’s Kazimierz district.
Our Made In Krakow tour takes travellers to the Ursa Maior pub to sample the beers. If you close your eyes, you’ll maybe even get a sense of the vast wilds of the mountains in every sip. Plus, part of the revenue from beer sales goes back to conservation efforts in the Bieszczady region. Beer with a story and for a good cause? Pour us another one, please. 10 Wolnica Square.
A visit to Bonobo will leave you feeling like a better world exists. While you can come to listen to great music while enjoying a cup of coffee and a vegan cookie, it’s best to sample one of the many regional beers Bonobo serves. The Red and Black Cat strong lagers are worth trying. Enjoy a drink in the hidden garden, or at the bar while debating social issues with Bibi (Bonobo’s barman and one of the most recognisable locals in the city). Interesting meetings, concerts and discussions take place almost every night. All of this surrounded by important and valuable books from around the world, sold in the bookstore which is an integral part of the place. 4 Small Market Square.
Mleczarnia actually consists of three venues — and every single one is amazing. There’s a regular pub, with a nice interior just behind the corner of the famous New Square. There’s also a great summer garden located nearby in the middle of the courtyard, where Spielberg filmed Schindler’s List. Finally, what I like best: a hidden cafe at the bottom of the Centre for Jewish Culture, connected with the roof garden. You get panoramic views of the whole Kazimierz neighbourhood from there, and the best part is that so few tourists know about it.
READ: A local’s guide to Kazimierz, Krakow
Krakow Urban Adventures ends our food tour here with a piece of a nut cake (a local specialty) and we say goodbye in the Polish way — meaning everyone enjoys a shot of Bison vodka. If you’re a fan of strong liquors and vodkas, Mleczarnia is an ideal place for you. Besides Zubrowka (Bison vodka), they also have a good selection of flavoured Soplica vodkas. Try the cherry flavour, and maybe order a taxi in advance, as Polish vodka is strong. You won’t win a drinking competition with the locals! 17 Meiselsa Street.
Fair warning: they don’t like hordes of tourists at Alchemia, so either go alone or with a few friends, not with some 30 people following behind. It’s a super cool place to have a local beer or coffee, with the interior made to resemble a private home set in the past. Vintage furniture, a doorway made out of a wardrobe, candles and old family portraits on the walls create a cosy atmosphere. Come to listen to live music in the hidden basement. If you like modern jazz, you won’t be disappointed. 5 Estery Street.
Piwnica pod Baranami
An amazing place connected with the cabaret of the same name, Piwnica pod Baranami was created as an antidote to the communist country by founder, Piotr Skrzynecki. The spirit of Piwnica pod Baranami (Cellar under the Rams) is reflected in the words of the artist himself, “We are an island in the sea of bestiality, drabness, stupidity, villainy, cynicism, intolerance and violence.” The cabaret exists to this day, with performances taking place every Sunday. On other days, you can see different types of performances and concerts, and on Wednesdays, dance the tango.
READ: Forget the folk songs; in Poland, locals dance the tango
During the day, grab a craft beer, wine or vodka, along with typical Polish paluszki (similar to pretzel sticks) and admire the original decor, including pictures from old performances and stage props. It’s also worth listening to the lyrics of the original songs, although they are sung mainly in Polish. The songs reflect the atmosphere of the place and will persuade you to stop and pause for a moment. 27 Rynek Główny.
Walk five minutes from the Rynek Główny (Main Market Square) and find yourself in totally different reality. Stary Port (Old Harbour) is a true sailors’ tavern, situated on the outskirts of the medieval university district of Krakow. The stunning interior is all about sailing and cruises; the taven is decorated with old maps and navigation tools, and serves alcohol strong enough for any sea-goer. Each February, the Stary Port pub hosts the International Shanties Festival. There’s always plenty of live music events and sailors’ meetings at other times of the year. Why does a sailor’s tavern exist in the middle of a city connected by mountains, with no access to the sea? Don’t ask. This is Krakow, where magic is in the air. 27 Straszewskiego Street.