Whether it’s a grimy dive that echoes with Tom Waits and mistuned trumpets or a shadowy metal bar with disconcerting murals on the walls, this selection of alternative clubs in Krakow is sure to get you riding the city’s wave of wild nights and early mornings.
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The heir apparent of famed and much-eulogised Rozrywki, Szpitalna 1 now brandishes the baton of underground electro better than any other club in Krakow.
Spread out over a series of subterranean rooms just a short jaunt from the Market Square, this one’s exposed-brick caverns and smoke-filled spaces are packed with students and locals and travellers alike on the weekends. There’s more LFO to filter cut-off than you can shake one of the in-house homemade cocktails at.
And even if it’s not a night of deep bass you’re after, the smattering of quieter seating areas, ad hoc beer pong sessions and chatty vibes that abound here mean there’s always something to enjoy.
Szpitalna 1, 33-332 Kraków, 12 430 66 61
Jazz Rock Café
It might be the scrawled murals of dead babies on the walls that keep the crowds of tourists from lingering at this underground basement bar on Sławkowska for too long. Or perhaps it’s the hidden entranceway set behind the ATM machine. Who knows?
Nonetheless, Jazz Rock remains one of Krakow’s truly off-the-beaten-track partying spots. A backing track of Iron Maiden meets Black Rebel Motorcycle Club meets Bowie (occasionally Bowie) to prove it, too.
Once in, patrons can opt to drink away the evening in the smoky bar room, or pay a tad extra for entry into the main space. Wherever you go, expect full-force metal, hard-hitting drink combos and some… shall we say interesting locals to mix with?
Sławkowska 12, 31-014 Kraków, 514 909 907
Krakow’s branch of this ubiquitous Polish chain club makes two appearances in the city. Both of them come between the cobblestone streets of the Old Town centre.
They’re set underground and adorned with leather-clad sofas. You’ll also need to throw in the occasional rusting shell of a Harley Davidson. Then, bing: You get interesting, off-beat rock bars that are a fine choice for alternative evenings on the razz.
Those heading in can expect daily drinks specials to keep prices low. In addition, there’s a cocktail of tunes playing that ranges from Springsteen to Drowning Pool. In addition, there are dedicated underground smoking areas at both locations and some interesting mezzanine and booth seating for that dash of privacy.
Sławkowska 6A, 30-962 Kraków, 601 484 847
Where better than a club called ‘Alternative’ when it comes to seeking out alternative clubs in Krakow? Find it set deep below the surface of Krakow’s Old Town. There, Alternatywy beckons as a classic subterranean dive with a labyrinth of hidden rooms, smoky seating areas and bars.
Popular with pub crawlers, students and unashamed hedonists, the dancefloor here comes courtesy of circa 1986, via 60s garage, via 90s grunge. That makes for one eclectic line-up of tunes to grace the backroom areas, where clusters of locals can usually be spotted through the haze of cigarette smoke shooting multi-coloured vodkas.
More recently, Alternatywy became popular for touting some of the cheapest beers in the city. Jars of Okocim were going for around just 3 PLN a pop on certain nights! Fingers crossed that deal is still on…
Mały Rynek 4, 31-041 Kraków, 12 422 16 67
Brace yourself: Propaganda Pub isn’t to be taken lightly. there are no chilled out quite pints in this one. There’s not a Tinder date to be found – at least not a normal one.
Put on your leathers and hit the venue on the northern edge of Kazimierz District. It sits in a narrow tenement with two stories; one above ground one below. Upstairs is all 60s and 70s rock and roll posters, vintage pinball screens and biker gear. Downstairs…well, we don’t know, we’ve never been allowed in (thank God).
Anyway, beers are cheap, service is famously curt, and there’s real atmosphere in this grungy, gritty pub.
If you can think of any more alternative clubs in Krakow to throw in the mix, we’d sure love to hear about it in the comments below! We know there are oodles hiding in this smoky, Gothic city of uber-hedonism.