Going to the pub is a fairly simple challenge, which may go some way to explaining it’s popularity. All you really have to do is turn up at roughly the same time as other people you know and drink beer. Embellishments are possible of course, such as conversation and drinking things other than beer, but nobody can really accuse you of having failed to spend an evening in a bar if you simply sit there and get most of your drinks into your mouth.
When compared to the classic, no-frills pub experience, visiting a sports bar begins to look like rocket science. Suddenly there are all kinds of additional factors to take into account – you have to be there at a specific time, ensure that nobody tips you off to the result, find a place to sit that allows you to see a screen and, most challenging of all, find a decent sports bar in the first place. Relax – generous to a fault as always, the Krakow Post’s Bar of the Month team has done the heavy lifting by rating every sports bar we could find and winnowing out these top tips.
The blatantly named English Football Club (ul. Mikołajska 5) wins the award for the most transparent attempt to attract footie fans through its doors – though this may prove a disadvantage during an international tournament. Despite its unique moniker, the EFC is typical of the kind of subterranean bars you will find all over the city. There are cavernous rooms, classic Polish beers on tap, a projection screen and – its stand-out feature – a huge beer garden out back.
Albo Tak (Mały Rynek 4) seems to go out of its way to remain obscure. This is a shame, because it’s one of the best old-style, spit-and-sawdust drinking dens in Krakow. There is a sign outside, but you’d be forgiven for missing it, and walking through the door can be a confusing experience because it takes you directly into a book shop rather than the bar you might have been expecting. Simply turn left and head up the stairs to regain a grip on reality.
Nic Nowego (ul. Św. Krzyża 15) is a long-established watering hole on expat migration trails through Krakow. It’s a near-perfect blend of Western standards of service and amenities, the hospitable feel of an Irish bar (which it is), and a big dollop of Polishness. It’s one of the few places treated as a local by both Poles and expats, and it has a massive TV projection screen.
The Irish Mbassy (ul. Stolarska 3) is the fully-pimped ride of Krakow sports bars. There are 10 plasma screens on three floors (one floor for smokers), international and local beers, a menu featuring curries, nachos and fish and chips and, almost uniquely in this city, a reasonable number of toilets. If you want all the comforts of home, this is the place to go. On the other hand, if what you wanted were all the comforts of home, why come to Krakow?