Did you even visit Poland if you didn’t try some Vodka at one of the best vodka bars in Krakow? Well, maybe, but you are missing out and something amazing if you don’t try some. 

Poland is known for making excellent vodkas. Vodka has a long and sometimes strange history and connection with Polish people, and it’s part of almost every Poosh holiday and tradition. So it should be #1 on your list when visiting Krakow. Lucky for you, we have made this guide to the best vodka bars in Krakow. 

In this guide, we will also go over the following:

1. The best vodka bars in Krakow: Old Town.
2. The best vodka bars in Krakow: Kazimierz
3. Some unique vodka shops.
4. A quick history of Polish Vodka.
5. How to taste vodka.
6. The best vodka tours in Krakow

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History of Vodka in Poland

In the 15th century, Poland made the bulk of its money from exploring grain to different European countries. However, when these countries increased their food production technology, they could harvest their own grains and didn’t need Poland. The affluent families in Poland ended up with stockpiles of grains they couldn’t sell, so they made vodka instead. This is why most vodkas are named after rich nobility family names. Farmers who worked the land even got paid in bottles of vodka. (not sure how hard they worked after payday)

The oldest continuously produced vodka in the world that you can buy in bottles is Żubrówka, which dates back to the late 1500s in Białystok. However, there is an even older one if you ignore that it’s not bottled. Wierzynek, a restaurant in Kraków, was founded in 1369 as a dining hall for visiting dignitaries – it has been open ever since, making it one of the oldest restaurants on earth. Their precise vodka recipe dates back to the mid-1400s, and it’s still the same taste and recipe as it was over 550 years ago!

Polish farmers then started making vodka from potatoes instead of grains. This was because farmers could get more potatoes from their fields than grains. Farmers could get 12 tonnes of potatoes from an average field, or only 1 tonne of rye. Nowadays, potato vodka is only 13% of the whole production. The prices of potatoes and grain are similar on the market. But from 100 kg of rye can be distilled 35 L of alcohol, and from 100 kg of potatoes- only 11 L.

In Poland, vodka became more common in the 17 century when the distilling technology increased, and vodka became much cheaper. Poland was too far north to produce grapes for wine. So vodka became the cheap drink of choice.

Vodka is part of Polish life; at a Polish wedding, you don’t get a wine glass, but a vodka shot glass and you are expected to drink straight vodka all night long. And, of course, you can expect to drink vodka when it comes to going out with Poles. Today you can find every flavour of vodka, from word worm and lemon to coffee or chupa chup.

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The best Vodka Bars in Krakow: The Old Town 

Krakow has two main districts worth checking out, with their unique and distinctly different characteristics and both have great vodka bars. You can find great Polish Vodka at nearly every bar in Krakow. Still, these are our favourite vodka bars in the Old Town and Kazimierz.

#1 Wodka Cafe

Wodka cafe is one of the smallest bars in Krakow, but that doesn’t stop it from being one of the best vodka bars in Krakow. Furthermore, it’s popular with locals and tourists alike. This cozy little bar is located in the Old Town just off the main square on Mikołajska street. They offer a wide range of flavoured and traditional polish vodkas served on cute vodka-sipping glasses in sets of 6 on a wooden tray. The vodka trays are intended to be shared and perfect for a small vodka tasting, but we think you can keep them all just for yourself.

#2 Ambasada Sledzia

Ambasada Śledzia is a vodka and sledz bar, there are many of these all over Krakow but Ambasada Śledzia was the original and possibly still the best (at least it’s our favourite). If you are wondering what sledz is, its pickled hearing is served cold and generally served with a shot of vodka. Most foreigners can’t bare the taste of it, but Poles love it. They have a wide range of vodka shots for as little as 5zl and an even better range of cocktails.

#3 Miedzymiastowa

Although Miedzymiastowa is more of a restaurant than a bar, it is one of the top spots in Krakow to go for a drink. The modern and industrial-style restaurant and bar has only just opened. Still, it has already become a massive hit with locals. They stock over 100 vodkas, arguably the most extensive vodka collection of any restaurant in Krakow. Located in the centre of Old Town, its unique decor has a modern but warm and funky design which is great for relaxing over a cocktail made by one of their experienced bartenders. They also have a diverse and well-thought menu. Moreover, its a great place to have dinner and drink of vodka if you’re a planning an event like a stag party or a hen party.

#4 Wisniewski

Wiśniewski serves one drink only, and although it’s not technically vodka, we had to include it. It’s actually brandy, but it’s known as “Cherry Vodka”, and most importantly, it tastes great and hits the spot. This bar is an excellent place for a quick shot before heading out for the night out in Krakow. The decor is cheery-themed and as delightful as their award-winning cheery vodka. You can also buy a take-home bottle of Wisniewski from this bar or their website.

#5 Banialuka

Banialunka is as Polish as it comes. This bar is a chain of Polish shot bars and can be found around every street corner in Krakow. They serve a range of standard vodkas as well as vodka cocktails shots which are there especially. These are vodka shots mixed with different ingredients to make unique flavours. It’s a great place to make your own vodka tasting in Krakow. They also serve some great snacks like ham & cheese toasties, dumplings and beer tarter. For more great Polish places, check out a Polish Milkbar or The best Polish restaurants in Krakow.

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The best Vodka Bars in Krakow: Jewish Quarter 

#1 Klub Wodki

Klub Wodki is located on the corner of the famous shopping street Jozefa. They offer great vodka tastings and have a cool retro theme. Make sure you get here early as they are always full, and it can take a lot of work to get a seat in the evening.

#2 Pijalnia Wódki i Piwa

Pijalnia Wódki i Piwa is a traditional Polish shot bar found all over Poland. Although it is a chain, it still has a great local feel to it and rightly deserves to be called one of the best vodka bars in Krakow. The decor makes it seem like you are drinking back in communist Poland with its distinct green stools, old newspapers for wallpaper and retro appliances. Additionally, the drinks here are as cheap as you can find in Krakow. They have a menu of 13 speciality made shots that are only 1euro each, from Chupa Chupp flavour to monte chocolate. One of our favourites is “The Mad Dog”, a Polish special consisting of Vodka, Rasberry syrup and a few drops of Tabasco sauce.

#3 Entropia

Entropia is located in the heart of the Jewish Quarter at Plac Nowy. This colourful bar has a wide range of homemade infused vodkas, and they update their selection regularly. It has a chilled-out atmosphere and is a great place to spend the evening.

#4 The Trust 

The trust is a relaxing cocktail bar serving a wide range of creative cocktails and the classics. The bartenders are also the owners, which shows in every little detail, from the service to the drinks. 

#5 Absent Cafe & Bar

Although this isn’t a vodka bar, we had to add it to the best vodka bars in Krakow as it serves excellent drinks, and if you’re in Kazimierz, it shouldn’t be missed. As the name states, they serve Absynt but with their own unique style.

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The best shops to buy vodka 

The best souvenir you can bring home (besides some amazing memories and a hangover) is a good bottle of Polish Vodka. You can get some good vodka at prominent shopping centres, markets and the airport, but these can be overpriced. So if you’re looking for something special, check out some of these shops to buy Vodka in Krakow. 

Szambelan store & Staropolskie Trunki

Both are in the old town and have a wide range of home vodkas with flavours such as coffee, cinnamon, or elderberry. You can also taste them before purchasing. 

Szambelan Store Address: Bracka 9, 30-005 Kraków

Staropolskie Trunki Address: 20, Floriańska 32, 33-332 Kraków

Regionalne Alkohole

Located in the Jewish Quarter and has a wide range of vodkas, assorted beers, and spirits.

Address: Miodowa 28, 31-055 Kraków

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How to taste vodka?

The rule is simple- the worse the vodka, the lower the temperature. The best vodkas should be tasted at basement temperature of 10-15C. Furthermore, it is worth tasting vodka in a sniffer glass (glass in tulip shape)- it helps capture the aroma. A great way to fully enjoy vodka is to try some on one of the various Krakow Vodka Tours or Krakow Vodka Tastings.

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The best Vodka Tours in Krakow

Poland is renowned for its high-quality vodka, so Krakow is the perfect place to enjoy a vodka tasting. The city offers a variety of vodka tours, each offering a unique look at Polish history and vodka. Additionally, a vodka tasting also gives you a chance to try some traditional Polish cuisine and have it paired with the correct drink. The great thing about Polish food as it’s perfect to have with vodka. Finally, the price of vodka is also quite reasonable, making it a great gift to take home after the vodka tour.

Why take a vodka tour?

If you’re going to drink Vodka in Poland, you should do it right. And there are few better places to do that than on a Vodka Tour. By joining a vodka tour or tasting, you can try some of the best Polish vodkas while visiting the best vodka bars in Krakow. Similarly, learn about the history of Polish Vodka and try some tasty Polish snacks.

The Krakow Vodka Expienrece 

The Krakow Vodka Experience takes you to a cozy vodka bar in the Old Town where you’ll learn about Polish vodka making and properly taste each type. You will try 7 different flavoured and clear vodkas, while trying some typical Polish snacks. It’s a great way to learn more about Polish culture while enjoying a few drinks! We highly recommend this vodka tour as it is the best vodka tasting in Krakow.

The Full Polish Vodka Tour 

The Full Polish Tour is an excellent way to spend your time in Krakow. The tour takes you around town, where you will learn about the history behind vodka and how it’s made. You’ll also learn about Poland’s early distilling traditions. You’ll get free shots at each bar on the tour and taste some polish cuisine.

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So which is the best Vodka bar in Krakow? With so many great options, each offering a different take on vodka and polish liquors, it takes time to pick a winner. So you’ll just have to have a shot of vodka at each of them to see which vodka bar in Krakow is the best.  Krakow also has some great wine bars for those not wanting vodka or some English Pubs, Underground Clubs or Techno Clubs. if your looking for a great club then Four Music club is the best option.