On my previous backpacker blog, I did a good old Thirsty Thursdays on a town I enjoyed, when I whackpacked to the remote town of Starogard Gdański in northern Poland – Pomerania Region. But I didn’t quite capture the full picture (and even this post won’t) so today finally, on Piątkowe Picie, I bring you my top 10 bars from this town. However, I was later invited back for a wedding and ended up by some coincidence on dates with two girls from this town, so I got to know the bars quite well. I may have left some of my heart here as my bus rolled out of it in December 2016…
“I’ll sell my soul, what is it worth?” – Tim Wheeler.
I’m growing to love towns like this more on more with each visit. There is a sense of freedom, progressiveness with open people with intelligent minds. My Polish was improving, but actually the locals could speak English here especially in the bars and pubs.
When you visit a town like Starogard Gdański, you become a bit of a novelty if you are not local. Basically there is only one backpacker hostel here (where I stayed on my later visit, as it only opened in 2018), and there were no other tourists on my first visit but I found a cool place to stay inside the football stadium, Noclegi Rekord. What this means is that people are very interested to talk to you and in my first three days in the town, I made over 10 new friends, all locals, all very open minded people interested to speak to a stranger in their town. It was an odd time of my life though – I must admit I had depression at times, I didn’t shy away from it.
For three days here, this was my glory, this was my town and I embraced it, spending time touring the sights, getting some work done in the Wi-Fi cafes and meeting locals in the bars at night. On my 14 year journey through 136 countries or territories, I also had a friend from this town, Aleksandra ‘Ola’ Mueller, so I was here to visit her and for her to show me the sights as well as the bars and cafes.
I think Aleksandra was surprised by how much I loved her town and how cool I thought the bars were. I knew I’d be back here. These are my favourite bars.
Browar ended up being my favourite bar in Starogard Gdański. They brew their own beer, the interior décor is everything you’d expect from a local brew pub, the food is good and the staff were so polite and talkative.
The above is one of my favourite photos from my travels. Incidentally, I liked the pretty Ola on the right. A girl with some panache and style. I think she took this one of this culture struck Northern Irishman.
“I won’t be back here again” I presumed…I was wrong…
I met Gregorgz, the manager and spent my time chatting to the happy, pretty bar ladies – Paulina, Ola and Marta. I still love the way every Polish girl’s name has to end in the letter “a.”
For beers on tap, my favourite was Starogdanskie, they brew it locally and I love bars like this. I was here at Christmas too, with Monika.
With the meaning, “Small Beer”, (an oxymoron in Poland!) this bar, Małe Piwko actually has a huge range of beers for people with special tastes. The vodka and cocktail menu is also good. I met manager Sebastian and he is a top guy – knows how to organise a party! I had some good nights in here!
I got talking to Aneta on the bar and I was drinking the really sour local brew, called Pszeniczne z Kociewia Starogard. It is brewed locally in Starogard Gdanski and remains my favourite beer from this trip. I met two girls in here, Ada and Patricja and we had some really deep, detailed discussions. http://www.malepiwko.pl/?age-verified=f790a843c1.
I returned to this bar a few times and ended up being “recognised” due to my travel story in the local paper. Nights on the rip in Starogard would never be the same again! They do good pizza as well as sometimes homemade shots by Sebastian the boss.
3.Projekt PRL (now sadly shut)
This quirky socialist themed bar is a great hang out and a cool place to meet locals. I hung out with Jacek here before heading to his home in Rywald village. Beer on tap starts at 5 Zlotys (£1), staff also speak English and the walls have nik naks from a bygone era. Expect radios, gramophones and nik naks from the 1960s right through to the fall of communism. https://www.facebook.com/Prlprojekt/
Projekt PRL was also frequented by Starogard girl Ola Mueller who played a big part in my journey to this town, she invited me in for a beer. But later I learned this pub is now shut and re-opened called the Mona Lisa.
4.Rynek Beer Garden
The main square (the Rynek) in Starogard Gdanski had a temporary beer garden on my visit. I think this may be a summer only thing. But with beers in the pretty square from dawn until dusk, this is a great place to chill out.
Again, I met lots of locals and relaxed on the temporary beach here. There are films on sometimes on the big screen (including a porn movie on the Friday night!) and live music too.
I still find it odd that foreign countries use English sometimes with the names of venues. “Basement Club” is a popular nightclub right in the town centre – it’s in a basement in the Rynek!!
I’m not a big fan of nightclubs any more but this place provided me with some good memories and I got to see how open and passionate Polish people are about kissing, cuddling and dancing. I was caught on camera in here by the photographer and then found myself on Facebook!
If you followed my Piątkowe Picie from the start, you will know one of the first places I reviewed was Browar Kociewski, which is the local brewery bar and in essence the pick of Starogard’s bars. However it is situated out of town and is inside a posh hotel (Hotel Ren), so it does lose some marks for that.
It’s also not far from the remote village of Kokoszkowy which I toured in blossoming spring and loved.
7.”Kazimierz Deyna Bar”
OK so there isn’t really a “Kazimierz Deyna Bar” as such but since I stayed at the football stadium, the Stadion Miejski Kazimierz Deyna Stadium, the hotel there sells beer so you can enjoy a Piwo while admiring the memorabilia in the upstairs room which basically doubles up as a museum. I also did the Kazik Deyna pilgrimage and was there for his incredible 70th Birthday Bash (sadly he died in 1989).
You can read about my Deyna pilgrimage here. And yes, officially my Polish team is Klub Pilkarski Starogard! They play in green, as you can see from the recent club photo below and I’ve been to five matches so far including the final in Malbork and a Polish Cup last 16 match.
8.Whiskey Pub/Dance Club
The Whiskey Pub is a bit of a crazy place to meet locals and dance and is south of the town centre, not too far from Galeria Neptun.
9.Hotel Ren Bar
As well as the Browar Kociewski, there is a separate bar inside the Hotel Ren, you can also play ten pin bowling here.
I reviewed my stay at this hotel separately.
10. Kula Bowling Bar / Kręgelnia Kula / Piętro – Centrum Rozrywki
When I heard about Kula Bowling Bar, I didn’t go in at first. My friend Aleksandra Mueller didn’t recommend it and I then assumed it was merely a bar to have a drink while playing bowling! But this is Poland – you can come in here for a beer without needing to play ten pin bowling. Plus – there are two bars – lower bowling bar and the upper first floor bar.
I also got to meet and chat to one of the lovely bar ladies here, Karolina, who is pretty prominent on Instagram. I’ve only been in twice, and both times alone but I loved it. The bar is also based at a place called Piętro – Centrum Rozrywki – Kula Bowling Bar. Just in case you get confused.
11.Pub Chillout (now also shut)
For a karaoke treat, Monika and I headed into the cool corner bar which is cosy and small and known as Chill Out Pub. Sadly this is now ALSO shut and is now the trendy cool coffee shop Dzienna Dawka Kawiarnia.
Pub Chill out is a cool spot near the Rynek. Here it triples up as a cafe and a shisha bar. I spent two nights in here and found that the locals are very welcoming and friendly.
When I sipped the last sip of my beer here in Starogard Gdanski, I knew it had been a special few days in my life and I pondered on whether I’d ever be back to places like this again. But now I have local friends and like the football team, yes I know I’ll be back.
I’m sure I have missed some good bars off this list and when I searched online I found
1.Błękitny Anioł – https://www.facebook.com/B%C5%82%C4%99kitny-Anio%C5%82-1568031416796324/
2.Club Monalisa (which I believe is now where Projekt PRL used to be)
3.The New Club – Seems to be somewhere near the Rynek.
4.Rodos – Seems to be more a restaurant than a bar.
5.Just Club – Another Club in SG apparently.
6.Pub and Pizzeria Gusto – A pizza joint which doubles up as a pub, again I didn’t make it here yet.
7.T and T Pub – Another reason to return and re-jig my list, thanks to a reader who alerted me of this bar.
If I have, I will try and visit them next time. I also featured in the local newspaper, Gazeta Kociewska thanks to my visit to this town, a poem to come as well, entitled “Starogard Girl” and no shortage of passion from this Northern Irish heart. I also toured Pelplin, Kokoszkowy and Rywald.
“Dziękuję bardzo, Starogard Gdański”.
Here are some videos from my visits to the bars in this city: