Mix the joie de vi·vre of a New Orleans Mardi Gras with the statues and architecture of a medieval town square, and you’ve got an evening in Krakow, Poland’s, historic Old Town. And whether you regularly indulge in a little bar hopping or not, you’ll be swept away by crowds of fun-seekers until you’ve had your fill of European beers or the dawn starts to break — whichever comes first!
Bar hopping in historic Old Town tops our list of memorable experiences on our three week tour of four European countries last July and we’re not alone. In fact, Krakow is considered one of the best night-life cities in Europe.
That may come as no surprise either, since most agree the city not only has the most bars per capita in the world, but also per square km!
Lunch Bar TU – Bar Hopping in Krakow #1
All great nights on the town begin with a meal. To kick off the night, we started at what we could see was a very popular local spot, the Lunch Bar TU, across the street from our hotel (Aparthotel Maly Krakow — inexpensive, comfortable, and just a block from Old Town).
If the lunch bar is typical of Polish fast food, I can highly recommend the potato pancakes and perogies we indulged in.
Once we were done, it was time to move on. Our second stop turned out to be very close, since I discovered it checking out the Lunch Bar TU restroom in the basement. That made it particularly appealing as the outside temperature was still at 35 C (95 F).
R’Lyeh Cafe – Bar Hopping in Krakow #2
The R’Lyeh Cafe was nearly as new to Krakow as we were, since it had only been open for a week by new owners. The decor fascinated me, as the walls were covered with hand-painted canvas that made it appear we were in a mythological undersea world. Then, to add to the mystique, additional paintings framed in brush strokes decorated that world.
It wasn’t busy yet, so we enjoyed a visit with the owners. Indeed, they told us about the friend who had done the paintings, which were based on a story by HP Lovecraft. That fit in well with the theme of the new business as an Art & Games Cafe.
Korba Piwo Kawiarnia – Bar Hopping in Krakow #3
Intent on making it all the way into Old Town for the next bar, instead of just outside the gate, we came up out of the cool and comfortable basement into still sweltering sundown. Joining the throng of people, we headed through the gates into Old Town, Krakow’s historic central district from the 13th century (Old Town is a UNESCO World Heritage Site).
The thermometer said 30 degrees, but we took a couple of empty chairs at the sidewalk tables of Korba Piwo Kawiarnia anyway. It had no table service, but that meant I got to check out the decor inside. The vintage motorcycle on the wall marked it as a local hangout for sports lovers.
And next? Back to a below-the-bricks establishment.
Dobry Kumpel Pub – Bar Hopping in Krakow #4
The Dobrey Kumpel Pub has stood the test of time, since it’s located in a 650 year old wine cellar. The beautiful brickwork testified to the quality craftsmanship that was evident throughout Old Town. We loved the atmosphere and the music.
Mulled wine was one of the specialties at the Dobry Kumpel (Good Buddy in English) Pub, so of course, I had to try some instead of the local beers I’d grown a taste for. David had a lot more trouble throughout Europe, as his preference is for Canadian whisky. While you’ll find lots of bourbons and scotches, you’ll rarely find anything from Canada. So, his choices for Europe were beer or vodka.
Interestingly, there’s a popular craft vodka scene, so you’ll find everything from hazelnut or rhubarb vodka to cherry or lemon vodka.
Back out on the street though, the party was picking up — groups singing pub crawling songs wobbled down the cobblestones stopping every few minutes to blow noisemakers like it was New Year’s Eve!
Nothing, however, distracted the horses as the steady clip-clop of their horseshoes added to the rhythm of the night.
Gruzinskie Chaczapuri – Bar Hopping in Krakow #5
We never backtrack if at all possible, so after mulled wine, craft vodkas, and local beers, we turned to make a circuit like the horses, back through a different street of Old Town. The temperature had fallen and the night was beautiful by this point, so another outdoor cafe was in order. Besides, we didn’t want to miss anything!
Gruzinskie Chaczapuri had lots of outdoor tables, but they were nearly all filled with visitors dining late. It took a few minutes to get a table, but that provided a great opportunity for taking photos of the horses and the square.
Last Stop – Bar Hopping in Krakow #6
We selected the last bar simply because it was next to the Harley Davidson store (too bad it was closed!), and our feet were tired. Luckily, the hotel was close!
But whether you decide to wander the streets, like we did, or plan your stops, with options from quiet cellars and courtyards to music, fine dining, and dancing, there’s bound to be something that appeals to you.
Plan Your Bar Hopping Night in Old Town, Krakow
If you’re a planner, here are some recommendations from local websites for your bar hopping night in Krakow’s Old Town.
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