A recent email asked us about local breweries, places to drink craft beers, and vodka distilleries. While there are no vodka distilleries in the city of Krakow, if you are traveling through the whole country of Poland, there are plenty you can stop at. We highly recommend a visit to the area of Zubrowka’s Distillery. This is the famous Polish vodka that has a single blade of Bison grass in each bottle. You can explore the Bison exhibit in town, hike through the protected national forest, Białowieża Forest, and even take a tour at the Polmos facility that makes the famed Zubrowka. This isn’t a convenient or easy trip from Krakow at 7 hours travel time; but if you are headed north anyway it could be something that you find a good addition to your travels. Really it’s a trip within itself. You of course could also look into touring Chopin or Belvedere’s distilleries, as they are both produced in Poland as well.
Okay, now that we’ve got that out of the way, let’s talk about beer! Poland is just as good at making beer as it is at making vodka. From sipping on the big favorites, Tyskie, Zywiec, Warka, Perla, Lech, and Okocim to sitting in a small pub and sipping on a locally made craft brew, there are plenty of options in Krakow. So I will break this post into 3 sections: Craft and Local beers in Krakow; The best beer gardens in town; and Cool or Cozy spots to grab a big-name Polish beer.
Best Places for Craft and Local Beer in Krakow
The great thing about Krakow’s beer scene is that there are really really small breweries and also big ones. So you can really choose what you’re into, or get a taste of both styles. So let’s start with the small little guys:
T.E.A. Time (Ul. Jozefa Dietla 1): https://www.facebook.com/teatimebrewery/
Most importantly the beer served here is made in the basement, so it falls into the category of both brewery and pub (joining C.K. Browar and . T.E.A. Time is pretty cozy with a good atmosphere. They brew traditional English ales here in Poland, and have a large offering of all different types of beer, mostly on draft. Since this is an English pub in many ways, it attracts a large ex-pat community as well. Even with its location- for local beer, it’s really quite cheap. Their food options are slim and actually come from another British restaurant- but snacks are available of course. They also have a selection of board games there that can be fun- I’ve had a heated game of trivial pursuit there before… On Monday’s they do trivia but you can look on their website for more info on any events they have. Either way this place is close to the main parts of Kazimierz, but tucked a bit away, making it go unnoticed to many tourists.
Ursa Major (Plac Wolnica 10): http://ursamaior.pl/krakow/craft-beer
For whatever reason I have always liked this place. I like their logo, I like the little store they have inside the pub with really cool things to take home with you, and while they don’t make the beer here in what is considered their Concept Store, they do make their own beer over in Uherce Mineralne a few hours outside the city. And the head brewer is a woman, Agnieszka Lopata, with many awards and accolades; as well as a list of published books, she truly represents the logo of Ursa Major, a female bear, a protector. Company logistics aside, this little pub has handmade chairs and tables, and a real artistic feel. The brewery itself promotes local artists both in Krakow and where they brew there beer. The beer is good, and the atmosphere is truly unique.
Strefa Piwa (ul. Jozefa 6): https://www.facebook.com/StrefaPiwaPub/?fref=ts
This is a pretty cool place, small and all about beer… It’s on Jozefa street so it’s a little bit off from where most tourists go which makes it perfect. While they do not brew any of the beers themselves, they are knowledgeable about the beers they are serving and should have local snacks that pair nicely with the beers they serve.
In the Old Town/Main Square Area
Multi Qulti (ul. Szewska 21): http://multi-qlti-tap-bar.ontap.pl/
This bar is somewhere that is often suggested as a place to meet up with friends. It always reminds me of an old home that was gutted and filled with Ikea furniture. People come here to work, people come here to drink, people come here to party. It’s a well lit, contemporary spot, that is brighter than many of the other pubs. With lots of different beers on tap, it’s easy to find something you’ll like to drink.
House of Beer (ul. Sw. Tomasza 35): http://www.houseofbeerkrakow.com/
House of Beer (as well as Multi Quilti above) can best be described as the closest to the tourist areas, their beers are good and local, but the crowd will be mostly other internationals not actual Polish people. They’re still good, but the prices are higher because of their close proximity to the Main Square, and because Florianska, Grodzka, and Szewska streets are the most touristy (ie. you will find McDonalds here), keep that in mind, and check the atmosphere out before heading in. House of Beer has beers from Poland but also features beers from Belgian, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Ukraine, and Germany. It appears much fancier than the other pubs listed here, with a lot of dark oak furniture and custom built shelves to neatly hold all the beers they have on offer.
For something a little bigger I have two more breweries in mind; I’ve been to both plenty of times, and find them to be great for large groups.
C.K. Browar (ul. Podwale 6-7 on corner go underground):
They brew their own unfiltered and unpasteurized beer on the premise, the only place in this region that does that. The beer is good, the beer hall is huge and really cool looking, and the meat and food is awesome! So out of all the places you could go for craft/local beer- this is the best if you also want some good Polish food with your beer. When you walk into the beer hall you will have three options. You can dine in the fine-dining beer hall area; you can grab a table in the pub side with all the high top tables; or you can go even further down into the basement where there is a nightclub. C.K. Browar is known for selling flights of beer, pints of beers, but also huge 5 liter tubes of beer too! Some of the beers I like that they brew there are both the honey and the ginger beers. The smell is a little strange at first, but you get used to it, you are in an actual brewery after all, so being able to smell the beer brewing is part of the experience.
Stara Zajezdnia (ul. St. Wawrzyńca 12) http://starazajezdniakrakow.pl/
This place is HUGE. And they brew their beer on site. It used to be a tram station/depot, but now is used for both private events and regular gatherings. On a Saturday night, despite it’s size, you may want to make reservations. It surprisingly fills up, and is a known place to throw your birthday, name day, or bachelor party. Great beer and good food, you can’t really go wrong. Plus it’s a pretty incredible space to be in, but definitely not cozy in any way.
Best Places to Drink Beer Outside and Krakow’s Best Beer Gardens
Forum Przestrzenie (ul. Marii Konopnickiej 28) http://www.forumprzestrzenie.com/
This placed could be renamed Hipster Haven. Whether you’re with them or against them, this open space was once a soviet-era hotel, so the history behind it is thick. Now you can find people all day and all night lounging about drinking beer. With views of the Wisla River, this trendy spot is filled with things to amuse you. From ping-pong to foosball, to beach chairs and umbrellas, you can make this space into whatever you want. A make-shift office, a party spot on Saturdays, or a place to grab lunch with a beer. They also have special events and pretty nice views of the old town.
Zielone Tarasy (aleja Juliusza Słowackiego 64) https://www.zielone-tarasy.eu/
There’s only a couple of rooftop spots in the city; most of which are in the large name hotels. But this one is a nice little cafe outside the city center with some pretty cool views. I wouldn’t say it’s worth the trouble if you only have a couple of days in town, but if you’re in Krakow for a while and want to keep exploring, this is a nice place to stop by.
There’s two things this place has going for it. In the warmer months, you can sit outside along The Planty surrounded by greenery, bikers, and fresh air, but you can also drink Tyskie’s Tank Beer here. If you want to know more about this spot, see our pictures, and learn about the tank beer they serve, just visit our full-article here.
Mleczarnia (Beera Meiselsa 20) https://www.facebook.com/mleczarnia.krakow/
Often called Krakow’s best beer garden, Mleczarnia is first and foremost a year-round cozy cafe just off of Plac Nowy. Similar in many ways to both Alchemia and Singer. But in the warmer months, you can head across the street from the cafe to the outdoor beer garden. Order from the counter, they even serve wine, and grab a cute little table, with candles for nighttime, and shade from the sun during the day.
Viva la Pinta (Florianska 13): https://www.facebook.com/Viva-la-PINTA-726934180701031/
Viva is located off of one of the most touristy streets in Krakow (again there’s a McDonald’s) so it’s convenient if you’re staying close by, or in the neighborhood and need a break from site-seeing. They open up the side of their spot in the summer for a nice open-air beer garden.
Cool and Cozy Places to Grab a Drink
So obviously all of the beer gardens we have listed are great when it’s nice and warm outside, but what about on those cold winter nights? And what about some places that may not have a huge selection of craft beer, but still have a really cool atmosphere? Here’s a few of our favorite spots to grab a drink that didn’t fit squarely into the other categories.
Eszewaria (Jozefa 9) https://www.facebook.com/pages/Eszeweria/140631805995292
The best place in town in my opinion for drinking hot beer. This is the embodiment of a Kazimierz style bar. Old, antique, vintage, and smoky. Cuddle up on a cold night or chill out during the day. Either way we love the way the hot beer here has a nice sugary foam on top. Oh you’ve never had hot beer? Get some now! It’s yummy and delicious and sweet.
Alchemia has everything that a person could want. A great atmosphere, stellar reputation, amazing food, and some pretty awesome shows in the basement too. If we only had a day in Krakow this would always be in the list. A cafe by day, a hot dinner spot by evening, and a club by night, this is a very versatile place.
Singer (Estery 20) https://www.facebook.com/Singer-270192511788/
Named after the famed sewing machine, every table in this place is an antique version of the machine. Just like Alchemia, Singer is a quiet little cafe during the day, but by night it gets much more rowdy.
A Couple of other Random Places we love to party at…
Papito’s (ul. Jagiellońska 10) https://www.facebook.com/papitoskrakow/
Why do we love Papito’s? Sliders. Sliders. Sliders. There came a time where we were here every Saturday night drinking and partying and stuffing our little faces with tiny burgers. This place has a Latin vibe (obviously) a huge dance club area, but also a quiet little bar and restaurant as well.
You can read our full write-up on Bania Luka here. Cheap, good, and fun. This is an excellent pre-game spot, a short stop along your day, or if you’ve got a lot of people and don’t want to spend a lot of money, stop on in to Bania!
Again, for our full write-up on what I would considered our absolute favorite place to go all the time any time, go here. I mean we just absolutely love this place. The theme is cool, the people that work here are cool. The shots are awesome, the food is really good for the price and as a compliment to shots of vodka. I don’t know why, but we have just always had a lot of fun here. If we have a party to go to, we always stop by a Pijalnia Wodki to have a beer and a shot before-hand.
As always, if you have any questions or want to speak to me directly, just drop me a message at firstname.lastname@example.org and if you use this list and have something to add, please comment below!