I want to invite you to Bar Anna. It’s a one of a kind place in Lodz, Poland. This place didn’t change much since 1990s and hasn’t been commercialised. I came across it in the first year of my university in 2001 and I fell in love instantly. There are other places in Lodz worth visiting but this place is unique. If you want to experience authentic and disappearing Lodz and Poland, if you want to see a place with plenty of character that didn’t change much in decades and get a feel of fading communist Poland, you better stop by.
Bar Anna is located on Tuwima Street off Piotrkowska Street (a pedestrian street). It’s well camouflaged and it’s easy to miss it, especially if you are a tourist looking for flashy & modern pubs.
Meet Ms. Anna. She started working here in 1987 when Bar Anna was called Beza and offered pastries, sweets and coffee. She was appointed a manager by the Central Agency of Catering in Lodz. Anna took over the venue in 1990 after collapse of communism. She negotiated a new rent agreement with Mayor’s Office and transformed Beza cafe into a bar serving beer and bar food. She named it after herself. Why not? It’s a family business now. I met her grandson, Emil, at the bar while I was chatting with Ms. Anna. The place is buzzing and packed every Friday and Saturday. It’s quieter during the week. It attracts all sorts of customers: students from the art school & film school, locals, regulars, journalists, tourists and anyone who is looking for an authentic bar. Bar Anna was used several times as a filming location by students from film school*. Ms. Anna ensured me that she had customers from UK and Ireland and they were great fun. They even sang songs for her, tried almost every beer (that might be connected to singing…) and didn’t bother to sit down like regulars.
What to order?
You can get a pint here. The choice is good: Zywiec, Tyskie and other brands are available. You will find here loads of new beers from micro breweries (new trend in Poland). In addition to standard lagers you can get now even porter and ale. I don’t remember such a choice in my student’s years! The prices are the lowest in the area. 4-6PLN (€1-1.5) will get you a pint of something good. On Piotrkowska you will pay approx 8-12PLN. Then comes food. It’s bar food. Same food as served in early 1990s. I would recommend kielbasa (sausage), fasolka po bretonsku (large beans in tomato sauce and bacon), flaki (meat soup, for brave ones as it’s made from pigs intestines and stomach…), kapusniak (sour cabbage soup), pomidorowa (tomato soup) and anything else that you find on the menu. They are all classics of Polish cuisine!
The place opens at 11 am. You can watch here soccer game and anything else that is on TV. No soaps thou….
And here is a photo of me, my friend and Ms. Anna from last Saturday. I think it was just before closing time which is 10 pm. Selfie was a must!
All you need to know:
- Lodz means boat, but this Polish city couldn’t be further away from water
- Currency: Polish Zloty (PLN); €1= approx. 4 PLN (zlote)
- You can get to Lodz with Ryanair directly from London Stansted (Mon, Tue, Wed, Fri, Sat, Sun) and Dublin (Thu, Sat, Sun)- perfect for a weekend trip.
- If travelling to Warsaw, take a train to Lodz. It’s only 1 hour 40 min.
- Hotels: from €25 per night (double room and in city centre with breakfast), I usually book through http://www.bookings.com. I stayed several times in Ibis (good location and pleasant for low budget stays). If you prefer a luxury stay, check out Andel’s Hotel and Double Tree by Hilton.
- Places of interest: Karol Poznanski Palace, Manufaktura, Piotrkowska Street, Ksiezy Mlyn, Radegast Station – Independence Traditions Museum, Art Galleries, Saint Alexander Newski Cathedral and murals (next post will be on murals!)
- *Hollylodz – If you’re a aspiring future actor, director of photographer you should head to the Leon Schiller film school in Lodz. It’s the most notable academy in the country attended by many foreigners
- Most 20 and 30 something years old Poles speak English really well
More posts on Lodz coming soon!