By now you must have heard that Krakow has more bars per square meter than any other city in Europe. Well, a whole host of those are cocktail bars. Krakow has oodles of places that mix up gin fizzes, Mai Tais, ice teas of the Long Island variety, mojitos, and more. In fact, the last few years have seen an explosion in these bespoke drinking establishments in town, which is why we thought we’d help out when it comes to picking, with this guide to the finest cocktail bars Krakow can offer..
There’s real zing to TRZCINA Bar. Since arriving on the Kazimierz nightlife scene, this one’s made waves by offering cocktails that make you stop and think. We’re talking whisky sours with perfectly frothed tops and vodka slushes empowered with the local stuff. What we love the most is the uber-friendly nature of the bar staff. There’s no scowling here if you don’t happen to know your Tom Collinses from your Sazeracs. The space is also downright perfect for a summer’s tipple – bright, airy, and spilling into a half al fresco patio out back.
TAG is a relatively new kid on the Krakow cocktail scene but it’s been making waves with its fresh twist on classic ideas. The menu is more of a cue sheet for doing you own thing. Or, more to the point, letting the bar staff do thiers. Just mosey up point the mixers in the vague direction and they’ll whip up something pretty hot, at least as far as we’re concerned. The atmosphere here is noir meets quirky. Black-painted walls mingle with curious touches of modern and Pop Art to give a space that’s at once intriguing and moody. The location close to the Old Town means it’s a top place to start before joining the pub crawl or hitting the jazz bars.
Movida has risen and risen to become one of the firmly established names among the best cocktail bars Krakow can offer. Wedged in between the tenements on the eastern side of the Old Town district, it’s far enough away from the baying crowds of the Main Square to retain that classy, unbusy feel you’d expect of a refined watering hole. Inside is a homage to years gone by – think sepia prints on the walls and quotes from Golden Age actors. The drinks list takes care of the classics first and foremost.
The folk at Sababa have set out to really raise the bar when it comes to the quality of cocktail bars Krakow offers. They’ve succeeded. In a high-ceilinged tenement above everyone’s favorite Middle Eastern mezze joint, the staff here mix up what we can only call some of the tastiest drinks in town. Channeling the vibe of the Jewish Quarter that surrounds it, the joint has a menu that brings in flavors like cinnamon and dried orange peel. But there are classics, too, and the bar staff do love a challenge. Weekends get pretty lively and the place won’t close until past midnight.
GinMill is a cocktail bar for people who like, you guessed it, gin. Seriously, don’t even think about coming here if you’re after a mojito or a whisky sour. It’s gin, gin, and more gin. No exceptions. But boy if gin is your thing then wowza. Shelf upon shelf (we counted five shelves in all, but the gin was getting to us!) of the clear stuff stack up. There are gins from Scotland, from Wales, from the US and the Far East, and the bar staff know exactly what tonics to mix em’ with for the crispest G&T you’ll ever have. Go early or book – the place hits capacity fast on weekend evenings.
No list of the best cocktail bars Krakow has to offer could possibly be complete without at least a mention of Mercy Brown. This isn’t just one of the finest in the city, it’s listed among the top 100 bars in the world by other publications. What’s more, some here credit Mercy with singlehandedly leading the speakeasy revolution in Poland’s second town. Credentials aside, it’s a top place. Sneak in through the hidden entrance (if you can find it) and then make for the dimly lit bar space. The mixologists know EVERYTHING you can throw at them but have special concoctions up their sleeve, like a smoky rum creation that’s made with the scent of Cuban cigars, for example!
Puszka Pandory Cocktail BAR & More
Another space that channels that 1930s speakeasy vibe only with a hint of glitter and glamour, Puszka Pandory Cocktail BAR & More is a top choice in the Old Town. It’s close enough to aforementioned Movida to make a bar crawl out of it, but also a fine place to stay and sip all night long if you so wish. What we like here is that they really know how to do the basic classics well. Order a gin fizz or a Long Island and you won’t be disappointed. Tables in the window are best because they offer views over the exquisite Teatr Słowackiego.