The medieval city of Krakow is stately and refined. Every inch of Krakow seems to ooze history. But beyond Old Town and not far from Wawel Castle is the thriving Krakow nightlife. Krakow is packed with interesting bars and clubs, and there are plenty of unique spots to sample Poland’s favorite alcohol — vodka. Check out our guide to Krakow nightlife.
Some historians suggest that vodka originated in 15th century Poland. Whether or not Poland is the birthplace of vodka, Krakow is an excellent place to sample the distilled beverage. Vodka, or wódka in Polish, is a distilled beverage. Vodka usually has an alcohol content of about 40% and is produced from grains, potatoes, or, more rarely, sugar beets. Poland isn’t the only country to call vodka its own — Russia and other Central and Northern European countries are part of the “Vodka belt”.
The Best Polish Vodka
Known as Bison Grass vodka, this variety is herb-flavored and made with bison grass grown in the Białowieża Forest of Poland. Zubrowka has been made in Poland since 16th century and is still extremely popular. Traditionally, a single blade of bison grass sits into the bottle.
Founded in 2010, this young vodka has earned a stellar reputation. Vestal is a potato-based vodka, and the company is very selective about the spuds they use.
This award-winning vodka has been in production since 1927, but its recipe is based on 500 years of knowledge. The vodka is made with rye or potatoes, and the unique bottle was designed by an architect.
Where to Drink Vodka in Krakow
Wódka Cafe Bar
For a wide selection, head to Wodka Cafe Bar in Old Town. This cafe boasts over 100 different types of vodka. Sample some of the fancier flavors (like hazelnut vodka) or relax with a simple mixed drink. This cozy spot exudes a social vibe and encourages chatting with your neighbors.
Polish beer, or piwo, is no where near as popular as German or Czech beer, but this alcoholic beverage is still wildly drank in Poland. The country’s beer history can be traced back to the 9th century when Polish King Boleslaw I the Brave was nicknamed “The Beer Drinker”. Although three major companies now control 80% of the Polish beer market, there about 100 microbreweries in Poland.
Popular Polish Beers
One of the oldest breweries in Europe, Tyskie has been brewed continuously for almost 400 years. Tyskie’s lagers are extremely popular.
This brewery was founded in 1856 and was once owned by the Habsburgs. Żywiec produces lagers and porters, and the brand is a source of pride for Poland.
The brewery was established in 1845 by a German beermaker. During Poland’s communist era after WWII, Okocim was one of only two breweries allowed to sell beer. The brewery is now owned by the Danish Carlsberg Group, but is still a popular Polish beer.
Where to Drink Polish Beer in Krakow
This microbrewery is a hot spot in Krakow, and one of the best places to experience Krakow nightlife. This huge hall exudes Bavarian Oktoberfest vibes. Packed tables are littered with ice cold beers and C.K’s trademark beer tubes. CK Browar is Poland’s oldest microbrewery and the only brewery-restaurant in Krakow. Escape Krakow’s busy streets and descend to the basement-level brewery. Sip CK Jasne, a pale, wheat-y beer, or try CK Dunkel Wiezen, a dark beer with a yeasty flavor.
Best Neighborhood for Krakow Nightlife
Kazimierz is a historical district of Krakow that was once a center of Jewish life until it was destroyed during World War II. Today, it is one of the most popular districts in Krakow with a warm Bohemian vibe and plenty of coffee shops, art galleries, and synagogues. Highlights include the Corpus Christi Church, Temple Synagogue, and the Galicia Museum. Both cemeteries, the Remuh and the New Cemetery, are worth checking out. Fifteen years ago, Kazimierz was abandoned, but exploring this hip neighborhood is now one of the funkiest things to do in Krakow
Kazimierz is home to the best of Krakow nightlife. The quirkiest and coolest bars call this neighborhood home. Around every corner is a chic lounge, cool club, quiet garden, or trashy dive bar.
On a warm night, this garden is the best of Krakow nightlife. Tiny tables are huddle around trees in a small fenced area that seems like a secret garden. Order a drink at the bar (a small hut) and relax in this bohemian atmosphere.
ul. Meiselsa 20, Kazimierz
Housed in a rundown building with a crumbling facade, Alchemia is not what it appears. The charming interior is decorated with antique furniture and lit with flickering candles. In addition to tasty mezze plates and sip-worthy drinks, this mysterious haunt houses funky events, like electronica shows and film festivals. Alchemia is a prime example of funky and fun Krakow nightlife!
Estery 5, Kazimierz
At the edge of Plac Nowy, Finka is a cute daytime cafe and a cool night time cocktail bar. This hip haunt is decked out with fun decor — exposed timber tables, swinging hammocks, and recycled furniture. This is a chill place to relax during the afternoon, but after dark, it’s an amazing place to sample cocktails. Try the cranberry-infused shots!
Warszauera 1, Kazimierz
Late Night Snacks After Krakow Nightlife
Zapiekanka: hard to pronounce, easy to devour! Zapiekanka is an open-faced baguette sandwich topped with sauteed mushrooms, cheese, and sometimes other ingredients. It is often served with ketchup and is a popular street food in Poland.
There are plenty of zapiekanka vendors in Kazimierz, but the best is Endzior in Plac Nowy. There is also a food truck near Hala Targowa (Market Hall) that serves sausages until 3:00 a.m. The mobile chefs roast the sausages over an open fire beside their food truck. Although this seems a little sketchy, the results are delicious and the vendors are incredibly popular.
Enjoy your Krakow tour!
Krakow Tour Benefits
- Curated Sites
- Audio Tours
- Offline Map