Ambasada Sledzia. This popular joint gets busy early and stays open late. Something of an offshoot from Krakow’s famous 4/8 bars (think Banja Luka) that’s known for its filling food, herring dishes and pleasant al fresco terrace on central Stolarska Street, Ambasada is now a veritable institution that’s even extended its tendrils to open a joint across the road and a smaller drinkery between the streets of cool Kazimierz to the south.

The interior is cosy and well decorated with a curious babel of thought-provoking chatter and philosophic graffiti that can keep anyone busy. What’s more, the vodkas are multitudinous, the beer sits at a pleasant 4 PLN and the talkative clientele means it’s one of the finest places to start (or end) those nights out in the Krakow Old Town!

The drink at Ambasada Sledzia

In the absence of any fancy cocktails and mixers (although a smidgen of these are available on request), Ambasada Sledzia unpretentiously touts a kaleidoscope of vodkas and spirits that’s truly worthy of Poland’s reputation as the homeland of the clear tipple itself. These range from sweet orzechówka (hazelnut flavoured vodka) to straight up czysty (neat) shots of the nation’s legendary Zubrowka – tinted with a dash of bison brass courtesy of forests in the east! Naturally there’s also oodles of beer to get through; particularly welcome for those midday starts in the summer, when the outdoor terrace is crammed and sunny.

The food at Ambasada Sledzia

While a far cry from gourmet and not intended for the palates of Gordon Ramsay, the food offering at Ambasada Sledzia is both filling and flavoursome in its own way. Patrons flock here – believe it or not – in search of some of the city’s most famous herrings, which come doused in everything from cheese sauces to beetroot. And if that doesn’t tickle your taste buds then there’s still a selection of pastas and potato bakes going, along with a smattering of options for the veggies to boot.

The atmosphere at Ambasada Sledzia

Inside Ambasada Sledzia customers enjoy a quirky and thought-provoking environ, decorated with stencilled-on graffiti depicting herring anatomy (a homage to the establishment’s name and most famous menu addition) and the scrawled memoirs of patrons past. The bar oozes with a sort of upcycled charm, constructed from a mottle and daub amalgam of coloured glass bottles and the like, while the exterior seating area really is the piece de resistance; alive with groups of locals nattering away right throughout the summer.