After a week spent in a couple of smaller cities, arriving in Katowice was like entering a metropolis. The capital of Poland’s Upper Silesia region, it’s a former mining city with a definite industrial ambience. While this does mean it’s not the most touristy place in the world, there’s definitely enough to keep visitors occupied for a few days.
There’s also plenty of choice for craft beer lovers in Katowice. The main street, ul. Mariacka, is lined with pubs and bars catering to all tastes. Venture a few minutes off the strip, however, and you’ll be rewarded with a great variety of venues serving excellent beer from Poland and beyond. We spent a Saturday afternoon trying out all the most highly-recommended places (I know, it’s a hard life!). After careful consideration, we’ve come up with this top-5 list of the best craft bars in Katowice:
This small but trendy bar is just off the main market square on the ground floor of a tenement. Dim lighting, solid wooden tables and metal chairs all give a nod to Katowice’s industrial vibe. If the decor inside isn’t doing it for you, there’s a small terrace (a sort of indoor beer garden) you can sit on instead. There’s 14 craft beers on tap, mostly from around Poland, but with a bit more variety than the slew of IPAs offered in many places. If none of these are to your taste, there are more bottles and cans in the fridges too. The food menu looked interesting too, although we didn’t get to try it, and the kitchen specialises in food and beer pairings.
Beer of choice: Browar Łańcut Das Is Kwass (3.4% Berliner Weisse)
4. Biała Małpa
Translated as “White Monkey”, this self-described dive bar just outside the railway station has one of the biggest beer selections in Katowice. You’ll find around 20 beers on tap, plus hundreds more in bottles – there should definitely be something for everyone. We found it wasn’t the cheapest in town, but the tasting flights offered good value for money, plus the chance to try some very interesting beers. The beer garden is the closest thing Katowice has to a beach, with deckchairs, palm trees and even a sandpit for good measure. If all those beers have left you peckish, the bar has its own Mexican restaurant next door too.
Beer of choice: Fourpure Key West (5.5% Key Lime Pie sour)
The “absurd” in Absurdalna evidently refers to this bar’s amazingly eclectic decor. Mannequins, quirky paintings and random furniture (think iron bedframes and repurposed barbers’ chairs) create a unique atmosphere that I personally loved. This doesn’t mean it’s style over substance though, as the beer is pretty excellent too. The 12 (all Polish) keg taps were decent enough, but the CAMRA member in me was instantly drawn to the two hand-pumps. It probably wasn’t cask beer, but after a few months on the road, close enough! The food was well worth a try too, especially the excellent handcut Belgian-style frites.
Beer of choice: Browar Hajer Farorz (5.5% American stout)
2. Kontynuacja Katowice
We had lofty expectations for this one, the younger sibling of the highly regarded Kontynuacja in Wrocław. Excellent local beers, friendly staff and comfy seating made it the ideal place for some Saturday afternoon sampling; the tasting flights were great value at 20zł (just over £4) for five tasters. There’s 17 beers on tap to choose from, plus plenty more in bottles. We made the most of the air-conditioning indoors, but there was also a quiet courtyard out the back too. Apparently this place gets busy in the evenings, but we managed to find a table pretty easily and even fit in a few games of dominoes!
Beer of choice: Cześć Brat Dobre Owocowe (3.7% fruit sour)
The bars so far on this list have all been good, but if it’s international craft beer you’re after then this is the only place in town you need to visit. We found out about Browariat from their pop-up bar at an event in the main square; the selection was excellent, including plenty of representation from some of our favourite Bermondsey breweries. You have to venture to the other side of the railway tracks to get there, but it’s well worth the walk.
The building’s spray-painted exterior is nothing like the inside; head down the stairs and you find yourself in a rabbit warren of tiny cellar rooms filled with brewery souvenirs and barrels for tables. As excellent as the 10 draught beers are, it’s Browariat’s bottle list that really shines. All the best craft breweries from the UK, Europe and beyond can be enjoyed here, all at pretty reasonable prices. A true must-visit pub.
Beer of choice: Het Uiltje Mosaic Mammoth (8% DDH DIPA)