Krakow nightlife, Old Town Krakow bars
By Dawid Nowak, Special To PubClub.com
The most unusual and out of the ordinary pub crawl has to be Krakow.
This historic but compact city offers an abundance of locales, venues and drinking habitats that not only pleases the finest beer connoisseurs among you but also for the amount of unique and varied theme pubs, no big copycat chains on display in Krakow, every single venue possesses its own particular charm and more often than not a wide selection of locally crafted beers as well as carrying the more well-known commercial brands.
Krakow has two distinct areas. One is the Old Town, or city centre, with Europe’s largest square, the medieval built Rynek and Drapers Square, as it was once the silk trade centre centuries ago.
The other is the Jewish Quarter called Kazimierz, which is close to the Vistula River and reflects the Jewish heritage with synagogues and places of interest since the area was created as a new town in the 1500s.
The two zones border with each other today as the expansion and growth of Krakow has spread and each is full of pubs, clubs and an array of international cuisine from street food trucks to plush restaurants and a rich tapestry of historical monuments, architecture and cultural aspects such as the legend of the Wawel Castle dragon.
The best way to experience and enjoy the Old Town and Kazimierz to the full is to dedicate one evening’s entertainment to each of them. To start let’s discover the Old Town first.
Old Town Krakow Bars & Nightlife
It is hard to miss the main square Rynek as it dominates the city centre with its two churches, the medieval civic town hall tower and the central Sukiennice building which houses cafes, restaurants, souvenir stalls and art galleries.
The surrounding edifices of the entire square offer more drinking and eating venues galore and added outdoor seating with large colourful umbrellas to shade you from the summer sum and portable lamppost style heaters for the winter season.
The square is partly lined with olde worlde decorated horse & carriage operators ready to trot around the sights of Krakow. All the streets running off the square are also filled with places of entertainment, exquisite culinary locales and commercial shops of all descriptions.
Walking through the medieval streets you come across all kinds of venues that are beer gardens, cellar bars, ruin bars, live music, live sport broadcasts, Karaoke and dance clubs playing every genre of music. Check the forums on strip clubs though as like any popular city destination there are pits to fall in if you choose one randomly while there or better still arrange a strip club visit via a dedicated company such as Party Krakow.
Let’s do a mini walkabout pub & club craw in the Old Town but in a tight circle of venues, ideally a pub crawl starts around 7 o’clock in the evening.
A great place to kick off the evening and meet up is the Klub Re beer garden. Garden Klub Re, Ul. Świętego Krzyża 1-7, an open air, tree shrouded beer garden in the city centre just off the main square by Maly Rynek the smaller square. This spacious and tranquil bar is good to grab the first drink, minimum price 10zl for a beer and wait for any latecomers in pleasant surroundings but also has access to a basement pub showing all live action football. This venue is extremely popular with the locals too.
Nearby on the corner of Świętego Krzyża and Mikołajska street there is a fabulous vodka shot bar to help you on your way. The Wodka Bar specialises in all types of vodka and offers drinking snacks and other beverages, a nifty, happy go lucky place for unusual shots with prices starting at 5zl a shot upwards.
Moving onto the main square, of course, there is a tremendous choice of different bars and pubs but Klub Pod Jaszczuramy has Karaoke every night. The prices are reasonable considering it is in the main tourist zone and you get to have a laugh singing your heart out with your mates. It is best to go there around 9pm to avoid the queue to get on stage later.
As the evening hots up and the urge to keep and continue the party buzz a little live music is in order, so, going back to Mikołajska, n.7 to Klub Awaria Live Music cellar bar and beer garden. Krakow’s very popular band venue has cheap beer, friendly staff with local and international bands playing. The beer starts at 7zl and shots from 6zl with a chill out and smoking zone apart from the stage area and beer garden. The bands attract many locals as well as weekend visitors and offer a Happy Hour, 2 for 1 on cocktails pre-gig up until 7pm. The pub is open from 3pm until everyone has left. The beer garden is secluded and an ace venue to enjoy a relaxing drink in the afternoons away from the hustle and bustle of the main square, however, gig nights are pretty wild and fun over the weekends. At this point of the night a dance club is probably the next option on the agenda and one dance club that is highly recommended is just around the corner from Awaria, the fantastic Coco Dance Club.
Coco Dance Club in Szpitalna, 38. Here you have a club known for its music styles and drinks promotions. All the latest sounds and trends in this very hip club with an international crowd. You can also reserve tables or book the lounge privee prior to entry. You might want to use a dedicated Krakow pub crawl company to ensure the reservation though. This upmarket club has two important regulations to consider, minimum age to enter is 21+ years and dress code of smart casual. The club has 3 bars, 2 dancefloors plus a smoker’s room and as mentioned the VIP rooms or Privee Lounge available. The VIP rooms start at 200zl with vodka and mixer in the Red Bull Room and the exclusive Ciroc VIP room with electronic card entry for all on the guest list. The rooms are air conditioned and can be made non smoking or smoking on request plus waitress service with a maximum of 22 guests if the whole room is booked for one group.
An alternative venue is the iconic Prozak 2.0 Dance Club, this well-known club is probably Krakow’s longest running dance club with different music trends played on each evening and hugely popular with both the locals and out of town partygoers on weekends. A 5 minute walk from the Awaria Live Music Pub is situated in Plac Dominikański 6, it is a maze of underground corridors leading to 3 dance floors positioned on 2 levels all offering up to the minute and retro sounds. A DJ’s heaven with their top notch sound equipment and some the hottest European DJs spin the turntables for this legendary club and music lovers. The club has 4 bars to keep the international crowd well-oiled so to speak while you get down on it in this incredibly sexy atmosphere of Prozak 2.0. Admission is from 20zl depending on the entertainment, day of the week and the time you enter.
Teatro Cubano, featuring live latino style bands and music with an upstairs chill out zone overlooking the main dance floor. Be sure to pre-book entry as this city centre club always has a queue to get in. The atmosphere re-creates the Havana Party Festival vibe in Krakow’s historical Jagiellonska St. Once again the popularity of this thriving night spot draws many international visitors along with the huge student population present in Krakow from the eponymous university close by. A winning formula of cheap drinks, latin music and various areas to dance, chill, eat and smoke with free admission up until 10pm when the queue to enter begins to this attractive and fun-loving music club.
The above is a concise and tailored pub and club crawl to pass a full on night of activity if you organise it yourself, to experience a broader adventure of Krakow’s nightlife it would be advisable to engage the services of a dedicated company specialising in Krakow Pub & Club Crawls with Guides, club entry and free drinks included in their package deals.
The venues mentioned here are just the tip of the iceberg as the Old Town is jam-packed solid with so many choices of craft beer, music and culinary options that you will discover during your stay.
Remember, the licensing laws in Krakow allows these pubs and clubs to remain open as long as they want, yes, no official closing times, how cool is that. There are, however, three points to be aware of; 1- no alcohol drinking on the streets, 2- get good info on strip clubs, 3- ask for the cheapest vodka in dance clubs.
Otherwise you will be heavily fined, ripped off and given the most expensive one, apart from this advice it is all systems go for a memorable weekend in buzzing Krakow.
Krakow’s nightlife requires the strong of heart and fun-loving razzamatazz participants as this city never sleeps, will you take up the challenge and survive a weekend in buzzing Krakow?
About The Author: Dawid Nowak is a local who runs the website Party Krakow, which organizes pub crawls and other run fun party adventures for tourists, such as a vodka tasting and oil wresting experience, and a stripper-filled airport party bus pickup service.