Wielopole 15: Clubbing in Krakow

At first glance Wielopole 15 looks like a neglected apartment building.But the three-story structure, squeezed between a hairdresser?s shop on the left and a second-hand shop on the right, is one of the liveliest music venues in Krakow.In fact, every floor from the basement to the top boasts clubs.On the ground floor, with its own entrance, is Paradox, which is different from the other clubs because it is the kind of disco you see all over Poland with flashing lights and vivid colors on the walls.Robert Mackiewicz, an economics student from Warsaw, says most of those in the Wielopole 15 crowd don’t come to party at the Paradox. They want something more exotic.The main entrance to the building welcomes you with peeling paint and a dirty staircase. The walls are covered with posters advertising special events at the most popular clubs, Kitsch, Lubu Dubu and Caryca.When the clubs started, customers thought they were different rooms of the same  establishment. Some bought beer in one club and tried to take it into another. Over time, club-goers learned that each venue had different decor, music and clientele.
Kitsch
Kitsch is one of the most famous clubs in Krakow. The May 27 issue of The New York Times cemented its reputation by calling it a club worth visiting.The name suggests unsophisticated music and ambience ? and some would say that?s the case.Many Krakow clubbers consider it a gay club, but Kitsch didn?t start that way four years ago and has a mix of customers today. It began attracting gays in its early days because of its tolerance ? and at one point most of its customers were gay. But two years ago the club embarked on a successful effort to broaden its base.The second-floor club is dark but spacious ? a result of two former apartments being combined. Walls and doors are covered with peeling paint in pink and light blue, and the furniture looks as if it had been bought at a flea market, yet the interior is inviting.Kitsch consists of several rooms, one with a dance floor and others with tables and chairs. Over-all, the establishment is cozy and comfortable, but its restrooms should be avoided.The music fits the club?s name. It?s mostly vintage or new disco hits from the likes of Michael Jackson, Madonna and Aqua that attract people of all ages.A recent show that the nearly 60-year-old star Grazyna Lobaszewska put on at Kitsch attracted a lot of young people.There is a special promotion every day of the week.For example, Men?s Night, on Wednesdays, caters to the guys with a discount on beer. Women?s Night is Saturday.In addition to having regular promotions, Kitsch organizes theme parties. One of the most talked-about was Valentine?s Day, when bartenders dressed as barmaids.The club also organizes shows of drag queens and kings, events that actually seem to be more popular with straights than gays.The club?s quirkiness makes it an international favorite. ?There are people from all around the world, from Belgium, Denmark and even from the U.S.,? said manager Bartosz Trojnacki.Admission is free, except on concert nights. There is one dress-code no-no: People in tracksuits are not allowed in. The club staff screens customers at the door to try to weed out possible problems.
Lubu Dubu
Lubu Dubu, on Wielopole?s first floor, is the building?s oldest club, founded five years ago.Manager Jaroslaw Daniel maintains that anyone who comes to Krakow also comes to Lubu Dubu. There?s a lot of truth to that.Customers ranging from 18 to 40 ? and sometimes older ? boogie to Polish and foreign disco tunes from the 1970s and 1980s.The club wants its guests to get a feel for the old days of communism. To that end, it is crammed with posters and artifacts from those days. The club?s interior is bright in daytime and dark at night because some windows are not covered, as they are in other clubs in the building.Small tables look as if they were strewn around the rooms by accident.When the club was starting, the owners saved money by buying second-hand furniture. Customers got used it. Now items such as a 30-year-old counter are key attractions.Lubu Dubu?s service is excellent and the staff kind. It?s a great place for those who like to chat with bartenders. And it?s one of the few Krakow clubs with air conditioning. But the restrooms are dirty ? a problem with the whole building.On the club?s concert nights you can hear such top Polish bands as Coma or Kombajn do Zbierania Kur po Wioskach.On some holidays there are special events. For example, on May 1, the old Communist May Day, the club throws a party on a red bus that tours the old worker?s enclave of Nowa Huta. The idea is based on the famous song from the 1950s, ?Czerwony Autobus.?Besides music parties, Lubu Dubu used to organize movie screenings. This year it teamed up with the Alchemia Club to hold an Alternative Culture Festival.Admission is free except on concert nights. Lubu Dubu screens customers at the door.
Caryca When people first heard the name Caryca, some thought it was an escort service.The word ?caryca? in Polish means ?empress,? and in the club?s windows you can often see red lights.It does have a different ambience than the other clubs in the building, but not an escort-service ambience.Caryca is on the first floor opposite Lubu Dubu. When you enter, you must go through two rooms before reaching the bar.The club has a twilight cast to it, day or night, that fits the reggae music that is one of its mainstays.Caryca has soft sofas and small tables. None of the furniture matches.The club is full of corridors. One leads to the bar, another to the restroom, which is the smallest of all those in the building.The music is less commercial than that in Kitsch and Lubu Dubu. In addition to reggae, it includes electronic and drum and bass. The club?s top concert band is Electro Candy, a regular fixture.Most of the crowd is young; many are foreigners.Caryca often holds reggae or electronic parties. It co-organized with Kitsch this year?s Eight Days of Culture festival.In the club there are reminders of a Vlepka (Sticker) Festival. One wall is covered with small stickers made by artists themselves.Management says the Sticker Festival is an example of Caryca?s support for alternative art. As part of the festival fun, the club showed funny vides from YouTube and other Internet portals.The club achieved notoriety as the location of a Playboy photo shoot several months ago. If you are lucky, you can meet movers and shavers there, like the editor of the Polish edition of Playboy, Marcin Meller.Patrick Connors, a 34-year-old engineer from Sheffield, England, likes Caryca because it combines the ambience of an old inn with the newest trends in music. ?Anytime I come here to Krakow, I visit this place,? he said. ?I just love the drinks and the music.? Admission is free except for concert nights.
A footnote
When the clubs opened four and five years ago, neighbors complained about the people going in and out. Now they?re used to it.The club managers say there is no rivalry among the establishments.Customers often jump from one club to another. The clubs advertise together, and when one runs out of beer, it borrows some from another one.
 
 

One thought on “Wielopole 15: Clubbing in Krakow

  • June 4, 2013 at 3:22 am
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    One of the best clubs in Cracow street Dajwór 16. Opens at 1.00 p.m. and goes on till the last customer. Two bars, big dance floor, lots of young people having fun, and location – 10 minutes walk from the Main Market Square, on the way to another party hub – Kazimierz. The name suggests unsophisticated music and ambience, and some would say that?s the case. Many Cracow clubbers consider it a gay club, but Kitsch didn’t start that way four years ago and has a mix of customers today. Kitsch consists of several rooms, one with a dance floor and others with tables and chairs. Over-all, the establishment is cozy and comfortable.The music fits the club’s name. It’s mostly vintage or new disco hits from the likes of Michael Jackson, Madonna and Aqua that attract people of all ages. The club also organizes shows of drag queens and kings, events that actually seem to be more popular with straights than gays

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