Warsaw undoubtedly has the best bar scene in Poland, if not all of Eastern Europe, and is fast gaining a reputation in Europe at large. But with so many ace places to choose from, the dreaded paralysis of choice can easily strike. So we asked the on-the-ground team at Spotted By Locals to weigh in on their top spots for a big night.
Local Nitzan recommends the seasonal Plac Zabaw, which sits right on the Vistula, Poland's largest river. Only open in summer, this is a major hotbed of al fresco cultural activities, making the most of the sun and fresh air. Top bands and DJs regularly play gigs here, and there are also open-air movies and documentaries, comedy shows, food fairs, and plenty of deckchairs available for you to lie back in with a beer.
Very close to Zabaw is its cousin BarKa, a converted barge that enjoys a similarly gorgeous location on the river. The brainchild of the team behind popular Warsaw bar Plan B, the barge welcomes partygoers onto its large deck, where there are colourful chairs, sail-like decorations and great DJ sets.
Another local, Ola, recommends the area of Pawilony, which she promisingly captions "25 ways to have a beer". Right off the touristy Royal Route, she says that while all the little bars here might look the same structurally, each one has its own distinct character, meaning everyone can find a bar to his or her taste. Those tastes include fairytale, tropical and, er, erotic.
Local Magda feels conflicted about this next recommendation. On the one hand, this is meant to be a small, secret, neighbourhood unknown – but she just can't keep Bar Wieczorny from you. She highly recommends you try the "Polski Sztorm" (Polish Storm), a drink mixed from seven different types of booze. Perhaps save this for the last drink of the night. Or, if you're really unsure of what to get, order the "Zaskocz mnie", which means "surprise me" – name your base spirit and the bartender will mix something up. If it's warm, settle into the garden furniture in their cosy backyard – if you're lucky, you might even catch a gig.
Spotted by Locals (spottedbylocals.com) is a series of apps and blogs available on iPhone and Android devices with up-to-date tips by locals in 60+ cities in Europe and North America
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