“In Dublin’s fair city where the girls are so pretty, I first set my eyes on Sweet Molly Malone” – Irish Folk Song.
The British, Portuguese, French and Dutch all travelled the world invading other countries and cultures and trying to tell them how to run them, at times killing and enslaving locals. Truth hurts 🙁 Well the good old Irish, you see we had a different approach when visiting foreign lands. We’d visit a country, and then open up a room selling alcohol, cooking food, playing live music, showing sport and we’d invite people in to join our party. We conquered the world with our pubs and we didn’t enslave people or kill or invade those countries. We just put a wee pub there and welcomed the locals to try our hospitality and culture. This is why I love Irish Pubs. We had pubs long before my home island had a border separating Northern Ireland from the Republic of Ireland. Every Saint Patrick’s Day is a special day in the Irish and British calendar. Born in Wales and buried in Northern Ireland using the colour blue and being teetotal are some of the lesser known facts about my famous Patron Saint.
While alcohol might be seen as a ‘slow killer’, the Irish colonised the world with Irish Pubs without directly or intently killing anyone. On my travels, I have worked in Irish Pubs in three different continents and I love seeing them when I am abroad. I’m done with bar work for now, but I would love to return to the industry again, maybe when my Polish improves, I’ll serve up the Guinnesses in Donegal Pub, Gdynia? This is the past that’s mine…
“The Irish were born for leaving” – Belfast Film quote.
But now I live in Poland, where I ply my trade as a travel writer, teacher, blogger, editor and copywriter. Bar work for me now involves going into bars to check them out and write about them. Warszawa, for a city of 2 million people doesn’t have many Irish Pubs, nor does Poland really but there are some real hidden gems if you look deeply enough. As well as having written about Northern Irish things in Poland and Polish things in Northern Ireland, today’s it’s the turn of the Irish Pub. Here in my latest Piątkowe Picie, I present Top 5 Irish Pubs in Warszawa
1.Emerald Irish Pub, Śródmieście
On Aleja Jerozolimskie (Jerusalem Street) in central Warszawa, in a very very small basement tavern, you will find Emerald Irish Pub. What it lacks in size, it makes up in craic and in staff. Probably my favourite thing about Emerald Irish Pub is the fact that I can drink a Guinness while munching Pierogi Ruskie. It’s like a dream! My favourite drink and favourite Polish food all in one!
Plus the bar shows live football, has great staff (I was served by the lovely Ola) and has fast Wi-Fi for the discerning blogger. It gets really packed though as seating is limited so I prefer it as a “pop in for a quick Guinness” type of Irish bar.
Address: Aleja Jerozolimskie 4, 00-375 Warszawa, Poland
Pulling Point: This one has the best staff. Ola is my favourite.
Ulsterczyk Rating: 8/10
2.Molly Malone’s, Śródmieście
Located on Warszawa’s Royal Mile (Krakowskie Przedmieście), Molly Malone’s tries to be as Irish as it can, taking its name from famous large-boobied Irish fishmonger Molly Malone. The pub is location superb. It sits just minutes from Warsaw’s Old Town and the famous Zygmunt’s Column and is located on what many regard as the main street in the city, Krakowskie Przedmieście.
The downstairs section of Molly’s (where you will enter the pub) is just a narrow bar that serves good Murphy’s and Guinness. The upstairs is a bit of a hidden gem, not visible from the outside. It is here where the party really starts with big TV screens for sports and a makeshift dance floor when there is live music or an event on (for example St. Patrick’s Day). They showed two Northern Ireland matches for me in here (including the 1-0 defeat to Cheatzerland), though it seems there are no other GAWA in Warszawa – the only other guy I watched it with was Paul, who was just here visiting on business when the match was on.
The drinks menu at Molly’s has a decent selection of Irish whiskey, including Black Bush and Bushmills plus the curious “green beer” (zielone piwo) is available throughout the year, not just on Saint Patrick’s Day. But of course – it’s just Polish lager with green colouring, but the idea of drinking it in a wee slice of Ulstercyzk w Polsce certainly keeps you perky. Molly Malone’s is as Irish as a bar in Poland gets, but like most it also has no Irish owner or even staff.
Address: Krakowskie Przedmieście 41, 00-071 Warszawa, Poland
Pulling Point: Fantastic on Dzień Świętego Patryka
Ulsterczyk Rating: 7/10
3.Irlandzki Pub, Śródmieście
The first, the original, the most well known and the oldest Irish pub in Poland only opened its doors in 1994. I guess communism before that and the lack of importation of the likes of Guinness and Bushmills affected this. They serve the famous Belfast Beer on tap and this also so happens to be the first ever Irish pub in Poland I visited, way back in 2005.
With its basic Irish décor and traditional booths, it’s like stepping into a quaint part of Belfast. Indeed as well as Murphy’s and Guinness on tap, Belfast Ale is sold here (though it’s made in Poland). Get chatting to the regulars who are a lively mix of Irish and British expatriates combined with Polish businessmen popping in for their little taste of Ireland. There are live sports on TV, and the bar has live Irish music from time to time.
Address: Ulica Miodowa 3, 05-077 Warszawa, Poland
Pulling Point: Oldest Irish Pub in all of Poland
Ulsterczyk Rating: 6/10
4.Zielona Gęś, Mokotów
With the name Zielona Gęś (Green Goose), this is a green pub on a prominent corner near Pole Mokotowskie metro station. Oddly, it doesn’t actually advertise itself as an “Irish Pub” as such, which can be baffling giving that it is green, it serves Murphy’s Irish Stout on tap with Jameson posters adorning the walls and it has a wooden decor with many wall gimmicks of Irish related things.
Address: aleja Niepodległości 177, 02-555 Warszawa, Poland
Pulling Point: The Irish Pub that doesn’t call itself an Irish Pub; and good pizza.
Ulsterczyk Rating: 6/10
5.Green Pub, Bemowo
Probably the coolest unknown Irish pub in Warszawa, nay, Poland is Green Pub. Green Pub is an old student hang out for a few of my Polish mates, particularly Artur and Rafal. It’s miles out of the city centre, it is in the residential Bemowo district. In fact, you wouldn’t even know it was here or that it existed. It’s not even very Irish to be honest, but with its green name, shamrocks on the wall, green beer (Raciborskie bottles) and an Irish style-decor, it’s the Belfast you craved in wacaday Bemowo. Work is the curse of the drinking classes. My mate Artur had the first night of his stag do (kawalerski) here and it will be fondly remembered.
Address: Aleja Niepodległości 177, 02-555 Warszawa, Poland
Pulling Point: It’s in a local neighbourhood, so you won’t find any other tourists or foreigners here.
Ulsterczyk Rating: 7/10
And finally for a few red (ungreen) herrings:
1.Old Town Irish Pub
This is an odd one and feels like a fantasy, but in my first full month of living in Warszawa in January 2017, Rafał and I headed to an Irish pub in the Old Town. I even have photos of it, but the pub no longer exists!! There is also no proof it ever existed and maybe I dreamt it all up. Crazy.
Down in the basement on the Royal Mile at Krakowskie Przedmieście 20/22 is a wacaday and cool dark studenty bar. This has cheap beer, karaoke and live sports and is a cool spot to hang out. While it has the feel of an Irish Pub, and sells Belfast Beer, it has never advertised itself as such.
3. British Bulldog Pub
I also love the British Bulldog Pub in Warszawa but as it is British, I cannot include it in a list of Irish Pubs, it is one of a few British style pubs in the capital however. It does serve English beer, Irish beer and shows live sports including some Northern Ireland matches.
British Bulldog has great staff and they often show AFC Bournemouth matches for me.
If there are any Irish Pubs in Warszawa that I have missed, then please get in touch or invite me in for a Guinness or a Murphy’s. I will hopefully write about Poland’s other Irish Pubs in times to come, my favourite is the Carpenter in Olsztyn but I also like Donegal in Gdynia. This is a lengthy post as it is no no videos for once. Just order up a Genius Guinness and say: