Graciarnia, a classic Wroclaw pub well known for its riffraff clad interior, has sadly lost a degree of its charm after being subject to a rather bland makeover.
For years, the antique packed Graciarnia has been a mainstay for anyone looking to enjoy a quiet drink in comfortable surroundings. However, this cozy bar's seemingly unrelenting charm has unfortunately left the building following a renovation presumably intended to give the place a more modern & minimalist look.
In days gone by the bar was full to the brim with old furniture, sewing machines, radios and other unused objects you'd find hidden in the attic. Following the bar's facelift fair few of those old bits and pieces do remain. That said, the warmth and colour has been stripped out, which in turn has left the place feeling a tad empty, generic and soulless – at least in comparison to before.
So more specifically, what's changed? The red and green wallpaper is gone, replaced by a cream and black striped variety that gives the pub a much brighter, fresher feel. Sometimes that's a good thing of course, but the likeable intimacy the bar used to offer when it was dimly lit is now all but gone.
Another thing that's disappeared is the original bar, which still stands but is unused. The seating area that is tucked in behind it is genuinely bizarre as it is almost completely enclosed and offers no view whatsoever. The current bar has now moved to the other side of the pub, closer to the entrance. Presumably there are practical reasons for this change, but it does seem rather odd that they didn't just knock down the original bar to create a more sociable seating area.
On thing the new Graciarnia does have up its sleeve is is the fact they have more food and drink – there are a good few more beers on tap and they also do pizza. However, these additions, much like the new interior, pretty much show how much the people in charge are lacking in imagination.
The introduction of craft beer and pizza simply comes across as an attempt to snare customers from Marynka Piwo i Apertivo next door. Unfortunately for Graciarnia, their neighbour does pizza and craft beer much better than they do. The pizza at Graciarnia is certainly not the worst, but the equivalent from Happy Little Truck next door is both tastier and cheaper. Marynka also have a better selection of craft beer on tap and in bottle.
Up until the re-fit Graciarnia always presented itself as in interesting alternative to Marynka thanks to its old-school vintage vibe and relaxed atmosphere. Now the place just seems to look and feel the same as everywhere else, which is truly saddening.
That said, maybe I'm just simply too nostalgic about the old Graciarnia. Perhaps the era of Wroclaw pubs that I first discovered some ten years ago are coming to an end. Graciarnia could have been forced into changing things due to the city's competitive nightlife scene. Even so, the candle-lit wooden tables and old-furniture still proudly adorn classic haunts like Mleczarnia, Salvador and Kalambur. Therefore there does still seem to be room for these traditional bars and clubs in Wroclaw.
After its refit, Graciarnia seems lost between current hipster trends and it's old-fashioned image. As a result, it neither appeals to the city's obsessive narcissists nor to those looking to enjoy a beer in a quaint old pub.
I do hope I'm wrong, but fear that is classic bar may not be around for many years to come.
Graciarna, ul. Kazimierza Wielkiego 39
Tel: 71 795 66 88, website