Krakow isn’t hailed as the thriving heart of Poland’s nightlife for nothing. A potent blend of students, ex-pats and tourists has created an intense and overwhelming nightlife scene in Krakow. There are literally hundreds of clubs and bars, and it would be impossible to mention them all.
The result is that whatever your tastes, and whatever vibe you’re seeking from your night out – from chilled to hedonistic – you’ll find a choice of venues. The prolific number of venues extends across the entire city particularly taking in the Old Town area and the Kazimierz.
Typically in Poland nightlife starts late, with 10pm being considered early, but Krakow has adapted to the tourist culture and many places take on their nightly persona from around 8pm. Beyond this, opening hours are flexible. If there are drinkers and revellers inside then the doors will stay open.
Krakow Nightlife: Clubs
Krakow nightlife has a thumping club scene that caters for every taste from the lads “out on the town” to the die-hard music lovers. After dark, Krakow’s streets come alive with revellers and party goers looking for a good time. Most clubs have an entrance fee, but usually you’ll find the drinks prices inside to be highly competitive. Krakow attracts the big names on the European DJ scene, so do check local listings to see what’s on whilst you’re in town. Once you’ve experienced the Krakow clubbing scene you won’t look back.
- Afera (Sławkowska): If you’re after the typical scene of a stag-night in Poland, with the somewhat “meat market” feel, then Afera will tick the list. It might be trashy, but it’s also straightforward hedonistic fun.
- Baccarat (Stolarska): Think extravagance and sophistication in this stylish club which is staggeringly large with 10 different rooms to explore. At the heart of the Baccarat is its passion for music and you can experience various genres here from Latin to house. Enjoy the ambience with chandeliers, plush furnishings, a giant mirror ball and a dedicated smoking room.
- Shaker’s Club (Szewska): Unlike Krakow’s prolific number of cellar clubs, the Shaker’s Club is located on the first floor and is a blend of lounge-like relaxing spaces and typical disco dance floor. The music here varies enormously, but weekends will usually see house, funk and electro crowd pleasers making it a prime dance spot.
- Frantic (Szewska): Almost certainly the place to be, this is a highly popular clubbing venue in Krakow, frequently hosting around 500 revellers. The crowd here is typically young and funky and the music is absolutely thumping on the two Frantic dancefloors. In addition there are 4 bars and a chill-out room. Classic nightclub lights and visuals can be expected with a mixture of pop. House, R&B, and Hip Hop music on offer.
- Goraczka Freak Club (Szewska): If you’re looking for a cheesy party venue then this is most definitely the place for you. This is Krakow’s hedonism in action with pounding tunes and a classic club vibe. Enjoy pop, rock, soul and R&B within these walls.
- Prozak (Dominikanski): Music gurus won’t be disappointed when they step inside Prozak. This is a cult club with an intensely loyal following that welcomes a range of musicians from both within and outside Poland’s borders. Be warned though, there’s a strict door policy and not everyone is deemed to cut the mustard.
- Cién Klub (Ś Jana): With due reason, this club has repeatedly been hailed as the best nightclub in Krakow by Planeta FM. It’s not far from the main square and sits in the old cellars of a 17th Century palace. House music makes it a popular party spot and its two dance floors, 3 bars, and two chill out rooms sit amongst the cellar arches with plenty of leather seating.
- Taawa Music Club (Estery): If you’re looking for authentic sounds, with real instruments, then the Taawa Music Club hosts a diverse range of musicians in Kazimierz. Relax in one of the many armchairs or sofas, or perch on a bar stool, as you enjoy the music here. There is a smoking room available.
- Caryca (Wielopole): Hosting a number of different events throughout the calendar, this is a large club with vast spaces where you can enjoy various styles. Regular features are their 80s and 90s nights, but do check out their Facebook page for their latest events.
Krakow Nightlife: Bars and Pubs
Krakow has found itself on centre stage of Europe’s drinking scene and for good reason. Whether you’re looking for a small intimate cellar space, or a bar with a funky and retro twist, Krakow will have something to suit your style. If you’re after a particular tipple then do take the time to track down where to get it – whilst you do get excellent generic bars and pubs it’s also not uncommon for particular venues to focus on one type such as vodka, wine, or beer.
- Mercy Brown (Straszewskiego): Mercy Brown is a cocktail bar with immensely talented bar staff who strut their stuff with artistic flair. This bar is expensive but worth it for the entertainment factor and splendid drinks which are then enjoyed in a 1920’s Parisian atmosphere.
- Weźze Krafta (Dolnych Młyńow): Stand back for Krakow’s largest offering multi-tap bar. You’ll find around 25 different craft beers available on tap (changing fairly regularly) and up to another 50 or so bottled and ready for consumption. Whatever your tastes, this industrial chic bar with leather seating will have something to suit. This is a civilised place to be, edging on trendy, and frequently its popularity sees drinkers spilling out on to the street.
- Hard Rock Café (Rynek Główny): If you want to stay inside your comfort zone then the Hard Rock classic feel will make you feel at home. Krakow’s Hard Rock features a split level bar overlooking the Market Square. Expert to pay tourist-elevated prices for cocktails here.
- Irish Pub Pod Papygami (Ś Jana): No city would be complete without its fair share of Irish Pubs and Krakow is no different. This is an Irish Pub serving the expected Murphys and Guinness, as well as cider, in a Krakow cellar. The two blend together perfectly and somehow the Irish eclectic memorabilia fits right in. Also on offer are billiards and darts, and the Irish Pub is definitely the place to come and watch the latest sports fixtures.
- Le Scandale (Plac Nowy): Take heed of the name before you walk headfirst in to this bar which will be full of sultry ladies and men splashing the cash. However, if that’s a little too brash for you then head on through to the garden at the back which is heated in winter and houses a smoking section, its own bar serving whisky, rum and cocktails, as well as its own grill.
- Café Philo (Świetego Tomasza): Roll up to the Café Philo for a 24/7 option for cheap drinking. It’s Boho and artsy with alternative music. Relax in the comfy sofas surrounded by books that are just waiting to be plucked from the shelf. Interestingly, there’s a regular décor change here, so you’re never quite sure what to expect.
- Morida Cocktail Bar (Mikołajska): Once the site of the well-known Paarazzi Club, this is a welcoming cocktail bar with a sumptuous interior offset with neon lighting casting its spell over Italian photography. Enjoy a classic cocktail or partake in one of the more inventive choices on the drinks menu. Polish vodka is the centre of attention here, but be prepared to see it served with a twist.
- Wódka Café Bar (Mikołajska): Whether you want your vodka served long or short, you won’t be short of choices here. Thought by many to be the best place to enjoy Polish vodka in Krakow, this a sociably convivial bar that makes the most of its small space set over two floors.
- Absynt Café and Drink Bar (Mioclowa): Right in the centre of the Kazimierz is this retro-inspired watering hole focusing on two firm favourites: vodka and absinthe. You’ll be overwhelmed with choice as you choose from the rainbow of vodka flavours and the biggest range of absinthe in Krakow. Be prepared for Polish potency at its best here.
Krakow Nightlife: Bar and Club Blends
If you can’t quite decide where the mood will take you then opt for one of Krakow’s combined bar and clubs where you can find the best of both worlds. Krakow nightlife takes on its own rhythm and it’s not unusual to combine different elements to a night out. Why not do it under one roof?
- Alchemia (Estery): This is one of Krakow’s oldest functioning bars and stands in reflection of Krakow’s Jewish district. The walls are lined with candlelight giving a sepia taint to old photos. Upstairs is a thriving bar, but head downstairs to the cellar for discos and a range of hosted concerts.
- Forum Przestrzenie (Marii konopnickiej): The Forum takes its names from the former Soviet hotel of the same name and is now an intriguing and hip bar/club. You won’t find anything quite like this spacious venue elsewhere in Krakow. Relaxation takes place on beach chairs, bean bags and retro sofas whilst being overlooked by graffiti adorned walls and neon signs. The spacious terrace affords excellent city views and if you’re feeling more energetic then you can enjoy a game of table tennis or table football. Various DJ’s come home to roost here and snacks and meals are on offer alongside the drinks.
- Baroque (Ś Jana): Cocktails can be enjoyed upstairs whilst downstairs is a classic Krakow cellar club. Vodka and cocktails are plentiful at Baroque, but the place trult comes to life in the summer months when garden parties complete with their own DJ take centre stage.
- Piec Art (Szewska): Bridging the gap between bar and club is the Piec Art who unabashedly give a home to Krakow’s jazz scene. This is a relaxed yet smart den-like venue which is popular with the locals, including Krakow’s student population.
- Budda Drink and Garden: Courtyard and bar sit easily alongside each other here with this Indian-inspired chilled venue. The stained glass entrance marks the move in to a smooth vibe zone and the Karma Sutra décor works with aplomb despite the intimate feel.
- Spokem Club (Świetego Tomasza): A listing of Krakow’s nightlife wouldn’t be complete without at least one reference to Poland’s love of mixing the heritage of Communism with a night-time venue. The Spokem Club does this in style with a DJ booth made from a disused Communist-era ‘Zuk’ car. Even the drinks here have Communist themed names. In addition, you’ll find yourself drinking or dancing to both Polish and global music from the 1960s through to the 1990s. This is one for retro lovers.
Krakow’s Different Nightlife Options:
In amongst the mainstays of bars and clubs you find the odd unique Krakow offering. Thanks to the rich and diverse heritage that Krakow has on offer you’ll also find the quirky nightlife spots listed below.
- La Casa del Habano (Sławkowska): Connoisseurs of Cuban cigars should not miss out on this atmospheric treat hidden away in Krakow. The very finest cigars are matched with whisky, wine, rum, port, and coffee for those needing their caffeine hit. This is an intimate setting with leather furniture and antique Art Deco touches.
- Shisha Club by Bollywood (Mały Rynek): If you didn’t know this place is Indian-owned you quickly will as you step inside the mildly sultry den adorned with drapes, rugs, lanterns and mosaic tiles nestled undergrown. There are 5 different flavours of tobacco on offer here which you can enjoy with a range of drinks, in various different nooks.
- Ambasada Śledzia (Storlarska): You’ll find herring and vodka bars in pretty much every corner of Krakow, but this the original and the best. Come and sample this inherently Polish combination and see why it makes for a great night.
- Concept 13 (Rynek Głowny): Head underground once more to the cellars of Concept 13. Think along the lines of a Spanish tapas bar and you’ll start to get the feel of this unique place. There is a vast and decadent wine store here, and drinks can be enjoyed alongside gourmet tasting food with a deli feel, sourced from around the globe.