Bania Luka Krakow is a true legend of the city. The original is a small bar on Plac Szczepanski to the west side of the Old Town. It has been a staple in the diet of Polish party-going locals and hedonistic tourist visitors since time immemorial. More recently, a larger venue opened on bustling Szewska Street (much busier) and another in Kazimierz (sadly closed down as of 2020)

Serving beer virtually 24 hours a day, seven days a week, the staff here are endearingly grumpy and typically Polish in their straight-faced pouring. So, don’t come expecting a smile! Do come expecting cheap booze, no matter if it’s too long past bedtime. Yippee!

While the food isn’t great, it is undeniably affordable, and the menu covers most of the traditional Polish bases. In the summer, Bania has a great outdoor area that looks over Krakow’s historical theatre square and throbs with a vibe unlike any other joint in town.

The drink in Bania Luka Krakow

A proud pioneer of the 4/8 format (bars that sell drinks for a standard rate of 4 PLN and plates of food at 8 PLN), Bania Luka has risen and risen to become arguably the city’s most famous budget joint.

Today, the drinks menu has swelled somewhat, meaning there are a whole host of tipples that push the price tag up a tad. (Hi, spanking new Guinness Extra Cold tap – I’m looking at you!).

The mainstays still sit at an extremely affordable low, though: Small beers still flow for 5 PLN apiece (recently upped from 4,50 PLN). So do the shots (doused out in all-new 50ml cups no less) – from clear Zubrowka vodka to regional cherry vodkas and – even – tequila!

The food at Bania Luka

Firmly the province of the late-night come early-hours post-party eaters, Bania offers up a menu of simple, carb-heavy Polish treats like pierogi dumplings and spinach-stuffed pancakes.

Again, the name of the game here is budget. That means plates go for just 8 PLN (less than £1.60) a pop. Remember to hang around the bar after ordering, because it’s super easy to lose your meal in the late-night fray!

The vibe at Bania Luka

Bania Luka Krakow is simple and dressed-down. There’s no messing around here, just drinking, chatting and partying. Inside, collections of high tables and stools in dark wood abut large, rectangular bar areas. Behind, there are some booths and smaller seating areas to discover, but neither of the open Banias are big. What’s more, both pubs are typically packed to bursting every weekend, and throughout the summer (except maybe on Mondays. Mondays can be okay!).