What constitutes a ‘dive bar’ is definitely a matter of debate, as proven by pretentious restaurants who offer signature cocktails and fusion cuisine categorising themselves Dive Bars on Facebook, as well as when companions of ours, incensed by such social media misnomers, tried to claim that Kraków has ‘no real dive bars.’ Well. We wholeheartedly disagree on all accounts, and we’re here to set the record straight about dive bars in Kraków.
While Kraków’s dives in Kraków may not fit the PBR, cheap whiskey and country jukebox criteria of Americans, this city certainly has its own uniquely local incarnation of the concept. In fact, you could make a strong argument that the cheap Vodka and Herring bars (Zakąski Przekąski) that have proven so popular locally are the Polish embodiment of the dive bar (we wouldn’t disagree with that). However, taking a wider scope of the local drinking scene, we would define a ‘dive bar’ as any drinking establishment patronised in large proportion by locals, that offers cheap booze and beer, and has a generally disinterested attitude towards any or most of the following: decor, service, cleanliness, consistent opening hours and even client behaviour. Some may be dodgy, some may even be trendy, but no dive bar is devoid of locals, and no dive bar is pretentious, overpriced or particularly conceptual. It’s a cheap, casual place to drink, and little more. Our kind of place, actually, and while they don’t support what we do or make contacting them to confirm info particularly easy on us, we still list a surprisingly large list of dive bars on our website. Because if you ask us, there is no better place for a drink in a foreign city than a good dive bar.
While by no means definitive, below we offer a list of bona fide dive bars that you can still find right in the centre of Kraków.