The Jewish Quarter Is A Hot & Happening Party Place
The Kazimierz area of Krakow follows on from the Old Town and borders the Vistula River, this popular tourist zone offers many attractions and landmarks as well as being full of pubs, clubs and restaurants along with the famous food truck square called Skwer Judah offering all kinds of national and international menus.
Kazimierz or the Jewish Quarter is frequented by locals and the large university student contingency present in Krakow. To really experience the atmosphere of the nightlife in Krakow’s two main fun spots is to dedicate a full evening to Kazimierz and likewise in the Old Town.
Although the areas are side by side now in the past Kazimierz was a separate city given to the Jewish inhabitants in the Krakow vicinity by King Kazimierz III all the way back in 1335 to acknowledge the economic and social growth the Jewish community contributed to Krakow. You can also follow the Nazi occupation period of WWII with a visit to the recently renovated Oskar Schindler’s factory, Pleszow Camp, Jewish Ghetto and organised visits to the infamous camps of Auschwitz/Birkenau an hour drive from Krakow.
The area is of a great historical importance and actively maintains Jewish heritage and culture with synagogues, cemeteries, museums and artistic galleries to witness and visit by day but when the sun sets Kazimierz becomes a thriving clubbers paradise.
As the local licensing laws allows the pubs and clubs to remain open without any specific closing times many venues are both a pub and club and sometimes a restaurant too which makes the area often described as hip, trendy and even Bohemian so popular with locals and visitors alike as the streets, alleyways and squares are buzzing with throngs of people looking for a good time which is guaranteed in Krakow’s Kazimierz.
There are three main streets which represent the heart of Kazimierz: Szeroka, Miodowa and Plac Nowy with many side-streets such as Josefa St. also full of entertainment to discover. The best place to start your party pub crawl evening would be in Plac Nowy, this square is host to a market by day but by night a host of venues for you to try out some of Krakow’s local brews and international eateries.
Alchemia,Pub, Club & Risto Bar – This multifaceted bar and restaurant as you can enter it from Plac Nowy or Estery St. has a dining room and separate bar on the 1st floor with a cellar bar and stage for live music and DJ appearances. They also hold theatre productions on occasions. The whole venue is a theme on the mystique and olde worlde splendour with old fashioned décor and suffused lighting. Outdoor seating is also provided and is a great favourite with the student population and locals. Lots of choice beers to choose from with prices starting at 10zl a pint. Alchemia has a reputation for attracting international artists and after parties late into the night.
Garden Le Scandale – Also on Plac Nowy has a more upmarket style with elegantly dressed waiting staff ready to serve you all kinds of cocktails many of which are based on rum as the décor reflects a Cuban vibe with an added brassiere with a full and delicious menu to choose from. A spacious venue that also has a beer & cocktail garden with the speciality of tapas being served in this elegant but trendy and stylish bar.
Singer Pub – Also situated on Plac Nowy is the unique Singer bar with its tread plate sewing machine tables, hence the name. It has to be the most authentic venue in Kazimierz and the furniture and wood décor maintained from when it first opened. This bijoux of a bar attracts a mainly local crowd but visitors are welcomed to enjoy a drink or two in this ‘ruin bar’ but with a fantastic atmosphere and music and to chill grab an outdoor seat on the square. Plenty of action in Singer.
Eszeweria – Is another one of Kazimierz’s oldest bars and you will find it on Josefa St., n.9. The whole place is a maze of rooms and corridors with intimate nooks and crannies with comfy divans to sit on in some, flowers on the tables and in the bathroom adds to this intimate but cosy atmoshere. The open air flower garden bar is secluded and at the rear of the main indoor pub area plus the drinks are quite cheap.
Propoganda – In Miadowa St., 20 the anti-everything, punk, ska, rockabilly and reggae music playing venue doesn’t hide the fact it is non-conformist, the clue is in the name and like other bars mentioned here it has been around for quite a while. Commie and Soviet era memorabilia decorate the walls in defiance and the beer is good and the hard stuff even better and Strongbow cider at the bar. Brilliant atmosphere and the dress code is: Proletariat or extremely casual.
Pub Pod Ziemią – A littler further along from Propaganda in Miadowa St. 43 known for its love of rock music and an original acclaimed dive bar with heavy metal Karaoke and an arrows alley makes this underground style pub worth wearing your studded leather jacket, especially when a live rock band is booked on the night.
Oliwa Pub – Further back down the road at Szeroka, 14 is another rock music styled pub decorated with musical instruments and a promoter of live rock bands. Laid back atmosphere and easy going staff with Karaoke sessions thrown in creates a quiet but exciting time if that makes some kind of sense. Beer prices are low.
Omerta Pub – If you are looking for a vast choice selection of craft beers from local and national Polish breweries and other European countries and cider which is fairly new in Poland as a beverage then this pub is for you. In the quaintly named Kupa St. which translates to poop or buy according to your mood, proper Del Boy stuff and an overwhelming choice of the amber nectar with low to cor blimey prices. A beer connoisseurs delight is Omerta.
A few honourable mentions of great pubs in the Kazimierz area which are worth visiting for their attractions or uniqueness;
Duffy’s Irish Pub, Świętego Wawrzyńca 18 – It is actually run by an Irishman, Fergus and he offers a free shot to 1st time customers. You can catch all the top sports events live in his pub and at weekends live music with a Sunday sing-a-long with shanties and jigs and Guinness poured properly.
Klub Piekny Pies, Plac Wolnica – is another stalwart and cult pub of Krakow, the indie style music sits well with the clientele and is always one of the last places to close.
Artefakt Café, Ul. Dajwór 3 – is an olde worlde style bar with books and theatrical backdrop decoration, major sporting events are transmitted live plus a healthy selection of beers both local and national.
Kolanko N.6, Ul. Josefa, 17 – Great for vegetarians and not only, once inside a splendid beer garden awaits in which they even grow their own tomatoes, herbs and strawberries.
Klub Kabaret, Ul. Krakowska, 5 – Klub Kabaret is a huge dance hall with an old fashioned pre-war feel. A stage for live music, theatre performances, burlesque and cabaret acts with balcony box seating overlooking the stage, this really is a unique place with a lot of charm.
Kazimierz holds an enchanting mix of old and new existing in perfect harmony, during the day time you can immerse yourself in the culture and history of this centuries old area with all its vintage shops and places of interest to then be able to let your hair down and stop for breakfast on the way home as the sun comes up on a new day after a full night of experiencing the intense and riveting atmosphere of fun city Kazimierz.
About the author: Mark Bryan, a Briton living in Krakow, the co-organiser of the Krakow Rugby Festival, and a passionate drummer and performer.
About the Krakow Rugby Festival: “The True Spirit of Rugby” ! An annual rugby event taking place every 3rd week of June in Krakow. The tournament gathers men and female teams from all around the world for 10 a side and 7 a side formula. Loads of fun with live music, pub crawls (including Kazimierz district pub crawl), unlimited beer and pitch side contests.