After several drinking trips around the UK, it was time to climb on a cheap plane and do something more exotic… well I might be the only person to call Poland exotic, but it’s certainly a bit more different than Leeds or London!
My brother organised the 3 day trip to Warsaw, as he’s an experienced traveller, and wanted to take me somewhere for my birthday (4 month’s later mind you!). Reading online, Warsaw has seen a bit of an explosion of craft bars in the last 3 years or so, so it seemed to be a good target for someone like us who loves to try new craft beers and visit bars/pubs!
Our trip was pretty reasonable, drove down to Stanstead, flying on the cheap as chips Ryanair EARLY Friday morning (had a bottle of Punk IPA at 6.55am in the airport Wetherspoons!), then back at 10pm Sunday evening Polish time. Ryanair fly to an airport about 40km north of Warsaw, and old disused military airport, but the links are pretty good. Either buses into Warsaw, or what we did, a complimentary shuttle coach to the train-station, then a 1hour train (quite a few stops) into Warsaw central train station. It was about 17 zloty, which is about £3.40, a bargain! The train let us see the outskirts and it’s a fairly pretty wooded area.
We were able to head straight to our hotel, which was pretty central, and much cheaper booked online than the 1000 zloty (£200) rack-rate on the wall! I think we paid more like £150 for a twin room for two nights, not £400.
Bags and passports safely stored, we could head straight into Warsaw to find our first bar, about 2.30pm Friday afternoon (1.30pm UK time).
Bars in Warsaw are tougher to spot than in the UK that’s for certain. Often they have been created in standard shop units, without much signage outside to make it obvious, and during the day little lighting or signs they are open. Once you try the door and realise it is a bar and it’s open, things get more normal inside. If we’d not prepared by marking some 25 bars or so on my google map on my phone, we’d not have spotted half the places we ended up in!
Many beers in polish bars are labelled AIPA, which I guessed correctly is them labelling the beer “American Indian Pale Ale” – so meaning in the style of of the big brash IPA’s America brought to the world. My favourite style of beer if I’m honest, so I did every well!
Visited bar list
- Piw Paw, Zurawia 32, Warszawa, Poland 00-515.
- Our first bar as close to our hotel. 57 taps (the SMALLER of two PiwPaw pubs – see Beer Heaven below). The girl serving us knew enough English to chat with us. We started our trip with 10 beer tasters – 70ml glasses, and we asked her to just give us a selection. 10 x 70ml tasters costs 10 zloty, which is £2. That’s a total bargain and great way to start any session! Had a pint of my favourite here after a taster, Modern Drinking from Browar Pinta.
- Cześć, ul. Grzybowska 2, Warszawa, Poland.
- great small single room bar, almost hidden at the bottom of a tall building, surrounded by shops and slightly off the main street. 8 taps I think, great very different selection tho. I had a smoked chilli beer which was more like drinking smoked bacon. Free bar snacks – not for everyone, the Polish standard of sliced bread and ‘lard’ (fat with bacon bits in?), with pickles to top. Usually served with vodka I was told on a walking tour. Two blokes behind the bar were very friendly, very good English as with most bars – the bar was celebrating it’s 3 year birthday the weekend we visited. Has the ‘vibe’ of a good London craft bar.
- PiwPaw – Beer Heaven, Foksal 16, Warszawa, Poland
- This seemed the placed to be for the young drinkers of Warsaw. We were there 11pm-2am, and it was busy and noisy like an English pub. HUGE selection of beer on tap – 91 taps I’m told (didn’t count them). Every tap appeared to have a device to bottle the beer for takeout, clever stuff. The walls of this bar are covered in bottle caps, thousands and thousands of them. There’s a downstairs too – with a big projection screen showing football. Also a cocktail bar – which shut about 2am, the main bar is open 24 hours a day! I spotted Spitfire on tap (Spitfire on Keg?), as well as Stowford press cider. Bit odd as England’s beer representation in a craft bar I must say! Ate decent Pizza here – so you can eat and drink a whole day away in this bar.
- Cuda na Kiju, Nowy Swiat 6/12, Warszawa, Poland
- trendy glass walled bar at the foot of what looks like an old communist government building. About 16 taps? Good selection, and there seemed to be a sister bar opposite which had beer but focussed on cocktails from what I could see. Came here during the day, but could see it would get busy at night – a huge seating area all around the glass bar walls. Looked like it served good pizza here, looked ‘proper’ Italian style.
- Ja Beer Wocky, Nowogrodzka 12
- decent selection of beers here, we didn’t stay for long as had lots to visit on our first night!
- Kufle i Kapsle, ul. Nowogrodzka 25, Warszawa, Poland.
- another modern decent bar a few doors down for Ja Beer Wocky. Seem to remember they had a couple of cask beers in here – serving polish real ale!
- Same Krafty, ul. Nowomiejska 10
- There’s actually two ‘Krafty’ bars, opposite each other. Chatting to the barman in the 2nd one, he told us they had created it as an overspill due to the first being so popular. These two bars are fairly lonely in the old town – it’s much more tourist places really. Very nice inside though, small bars but with decent (8 or more taps each I seem to remember). Both well worth a visit. Seemed to do fairly decent burgers and pizza too.
- Hoppiness Beer&Food, Chmielna 27/31 lok.76
- looked like a decent place if you want food as much as beer! 12 taps?
- Lemoniadowy Joe, Chmielna 28A (w bramie) 00-020 Warszawa
- Cafe Bar Bla Bla, Nowogrodzka 22
Favourite beer: Modern Drinking from Browar Pinta brewery. Very on style big hoppy American IPA.