From shadowy speakeasies to glamorous design dens, Warsaw’s cocktail bars offer increasingly rich rewards for adventurous drinkers…
ul. Wojciecha Górskiego 9
Changing every few months, find on the menu forgotten world classics, seasonal specialties with names such as God Save The Quince and El Koktel signatures that include drinks served in smoking wooden chests. The exceptional quality is matched by a shadowy, intriguing interior of cyan colors, Lynch-esque imagery and pre-war accents.
ul. Nowogrodzka 11
Plunge down a dark set of stairs to find an indulgent basement featuring an epic crystal chandelier, a 1920s zinc ceiling imported from the US, and a stunning wooden bar carved from a British fairground carousel. In keeping with the interiors, the drinks in this hidden gem are an intelligent work of refined craftsmanship.
ul. Krakowskie Przedmieście 13 (Raffles Europejski), raffles.com/warsaw
Decked out with smooth marble, natural oak, striking art and soft tan leather, it’s a venue that writes a new chapter in the 160-year story of the venerable Europejski Hotel. Luxurious while never being excessive or ostentatious, for the full Raffles experience, order from their choice of signature Slings.
ul. Piękna 54
Fixed using a range of premium tequilas, the innovative tastes feel all the better for the top notch Mexican menu and crazy surrounds: walls of corrugated iron and peeling plaster are coordinated with crossed machetes, shrill neon and decorative tiles. The final effect brings to mind a deadly cool recreation of a drug baron’s jailhouse cell.
Podwale Bar & Books
ul. Wąski Dunaj 20, barandbooks.pl
Occupying the kind of charismatic gatehouse you’d read about in Dickens, position yourself in front of the upstairs fireplace for a celebratory cigar and a glass of something tall and lovely: the cocktails are in a class of their own and specifically customized for the season.
ul. Wierzbowa 11
Returning to the roots of bartending, decorations here include an array of vintage cocktail memorabilia such as an original signed copy of the planet’s first cocktail manual. The flawless drinks include a number of 19th century classics mixed with a fiendish attention to detail by staff that nail the very essence of hospitality.
In The Know
ul. Koszykowa 49A
A real place of beauty, you’re stepping inside a bar that from the off feels really rather special: with its plush fabrics, dimmed lighting and flickering fireplace, the elegance and class of this secretive speakeasy is reflected by accomplished drinks fixed by intuitive staff. Nothing falls short of ten out of ten.
ul. Mokotowska 39
Feeling sensual, slinky and sophisticated, there’s an elegance to Charlie sometimes lacking in Warsaw’s slew of other cocktail bars. Summoning the spirit of F. Scott Fitzgerald, the pre-war grace and decorations go hand-in-hand with a ‘subconscious’ drinks menu based around scent.
ul. Krucza 6/14
A raucous bar drawn up by the owners of the nearby Kita Koguta, Kiti is dominated by a tall Polynesian totem; this ray of sunshine is particularly noted for extravagant cocktails served by fun staff in zany shirts.
ul. Mokotowska 57
If 6 Cocktails has the feeling of hanging around someone’s flat that’s because, actually, you are. This posh Mokotowska apartment has been re-adapted as an exclusive bar frequented by leggy models and society figures: the parties are nuts! Unmarked from street level, message them via Facebook and await your invite.
ul. Twarda 4
Though primarily celebrated for their Latin American menu, the ‘bar’ part of the name isn’t there for window dressing. The modern design, DJs and drinks work seamlessly to generate an ambiance that’s buzzy, energetic and something of a scene. Cocktail-wise, order Warsaw’s best Pisco Sour or explore a ‘Nikkei’ card that blends Peruvian and Japanese ingredients to present unique tastes.
ul. Twarda 4
Scrupulously put together, impeccable cocktails are based around local berries, foraged ingredients and edible plants – some, even, use aged beeswax as a component. Practicing a no-waste policy, everything done is aimed at maximizing sustainability. Never, though, does Cosmo lose its plush sense of luxury: expect exceptional tastes inside a beautifully composed space that feels high-lux.