Whether wandering the cobbled streets of the Old Town or the historical roads of Kazimierz, you can rest assured that you’ll never be too far away from jazz bars in Krakow. They range from famous music dives on the Main Square to more modern and quirky boho options and restaurants with opulent grands. Here, we’ve put together a list of the best…
Harris Piano Jazz Bar
Rarely has a Slavic subterrane been as quintessentially jazz as this. Yes sir, Harris is nothing short of legendary on the Krakow – nay Polish – scene, having been one of the leaders of live music here since first opening its cellar doors in the late 1990s. Since then, this one’s tight-knit stage and intimate underground interior have hosted big names like the late Art Farmer, sax master Gary Bartz and percussion maestro Idris Muhammad to name just a few. Poland’s own jazz greats have been regulars too, from violinist Michal Urbaniak to Scorpions-bassist Pawel Maciwoda. Patrons can expect a dimly-lit interior and a prime location on the edge of the Market Square, not to mention a line-up of cocktails that’s perfectly suited to the occasion.
Rynek Główny 28, +48 12 421 57 41
Piec Art Acoustic Jazz Club
Offering something of a respite from the wilder clubs and chart tunes that dominate Szewska Street in the middle of the Old Town, the Piec Art Acoustic Jazz Club is a narrow, corridor of a venue with a swish and stylish bar and seating that spills out onto the pavements during the jazz-friendly summer evenings. The calendar of acts focuses – as the name suggests – primarily on acoustic gigs, most of which set up and play in the small cellar underground. Expect the usual exposed brick walls, plenty of Polish beers and great cocktails to boot. A truly fine option on the line-up of jazz bars in Krakow to say the least!
Szewska 12, +48 12 429 16 02
Forever vying with Harris Jazz for the title of Krakow’s most prestigious underground venue, this no-frills spot makes its home below the much-trodden strips of Florianska Street, just a short walk from the Market Square. It’s been going since way back in 1991, which might be why there’s a palpable air of nostalgia bouncing between the apses of the medieval cellar where the music acts kick off any time in the evenings after eight. Be warned: service is infamously curt, but who cares when the line-up of shows comes littered with big name jazz figures and some of Poland’s best?
Floriańska 3, +48 12 423 12 05
Old Jazz Café
Not underground, though it may as well be on account of its uber-intimate vibe and shadowy, subterranean mystique, the Old Jazz Café in the heart of Kazimierz is one of the more off-the-beaten-track jazz bars in Krakow. Live music is ad hoc but still excellent, with semi-acoustic and acoustic bands occupying a small corner between the forest-green walls inside. The aromas of coffee twist and turn throughout the joint, while thick Belgian beers are also available. In summer, an outdoor terrace area makes for great inter-song breaks, while the sandwiches and cereal bowls are perfect if you’re after a nibble.
Dajwór 20, +48 12 422 17 25
The Piano Rouge
Taking us back to the very heart of the Krakow Old Town is this perennial favourite on the city’s jazz scene. Doused in a Moulin-esque glow, the interior is opulently done out with regal red carpets and flowing velvet curtains; nostalgically echoing the character of the building’s 16th-century origins. The prized Bechstein grand dominates the playing room, while diners (this one doubles as a fine-dining restaurant too) cluster around, between the real-stone walls and the arches of the stony cellar. Music wise, you can expect an eclectic array of piano covers, classical and vocals, all mixed in with the occasional out-and-out jazz duet for the real aficionados.
Rynek Główny 46, +48 12 431 03 33
Think we’ve missed something? Let us know your thoughts on the best Jazz bars in Krakow in the comments below…