Przedwojenna Bistro, the first bar to truly embrace the Polish tapas concept in Wroclaw, is still attracting plenty of revellers several years on.
Many of you may have first spotted the bistro on casual stroll around the old town, as the popular bar is located just across from St. Elizabeth church. If the weather is good there are always people sitting outside drinking beer while the voices of Frank Sinatra or Louis Armstrong emanate from the bistro's speakers, attracting the attention of passers by.
The name of the place – Przedwojenna – means “Pre-war”, and if you want to hide from 21st century reality for a bit and experience a pre-war atmosphere – just go inside, turn off your phone and enjoy.
If you step into the bar on a busy evening you really will feel as though you have entered another reality. Provided you can make it through the masses to get near the bar, the smell of the booze and the traditional food will go right up your nose.
Bistro Przedwojenna is known as being one of the first Polish tapas venues in town, and the place has very much set the tone for others to follow. Przedwojenna's long opening hours, menu of Polish classics and low prices (all food there is priced at 8 zl) has proved popular over the years, with the likes of Setka, Bistro Nowy Targ and Pijalnia Wódki i Piwa just a few of the venues replicating the format.
The list of old-school Polish dishes at Przedwojenna includes the likes of śledzik (pickled herring). You'll also find gzik – a traditional Polish appetizer that consists of potatoes served with cottage cheese that's mixed with sour cream, radish and chives. Another classic dish at Przedwojenna is the tatar – raw pork mince meat with a raw egg on top served with side salad and bread. The food is hardly the best in town, indeed it is far from it, however these simple snacks do go down great with a few drinks. Perhaps the best example of that is a serving of Przedwojenna's pickled vegetables, which compliment vodka very well in particular.
As for the drinks, they also follow the regular bistro policy of having a set price. In the case of Przedwojenna, a glass or shot of everything from coffee to beer, vodka or whisky will cost you a mere 4zl.
For those low prices you can't expect table service of course, but that doesn't matter a jot as your wait is often seconds rather than minutes. You can't pay by card either, but hey nobody did that in pre-war times did they? : )
Despite many other bars copying its concept, Przedwojenna bistro has managed to maintain its popularity. This has not been down to its cheap drinks and snacks, but rather the atmosphere generated by its old fashioned interior.
The bar has a high ceiling and an upstairs and downstairs floor. The furniture is wooden, while chairs and the tables are all different sizes and types. On the walls you'll also see a host of random items reminding us of a time long before our own. These range from black and white posters to vintage cameras and old-school biplane models as well as swords, hats and even a banjo! A vintage menu in Polish, photographs of Krakow and Warsaw in the 20’s and even a page from the New York Times from the day Titanic sank help to foster the 1920's vibe. The music – mostly jazz and some old popular Polish tunes, adds to the atmosphere too.
If you make your way to Przedwojenna in the evening you'll struggle to find a free seat, but if you don't mind standing you're bound to bump into a new friend or two. At other times you can sit down and find a table – at noon the place is almost empty and it can make for a quite cozy spot to enjoy some tea while listening to the quiet murmur of people looking out onto St. Elizabeth church from the windows.
So if you like classic decor, proper old-school music and the atmosphere that comes with a packed-out bar, Przedwojenna may just be the place for you.
P.S. Look around for the drunken dwarfs!
Przedwojenna Bistro, ul. św. Mikołaja 81
Tel: 783518680, Website