Wrocław: Poland’s Hipster Heartland

The largest city in Western Poland, 2016’s European Capital of Culture Wrocław (VRAHTS-wahv) is a struggle to pronounce without sounding like a Polski toddler slurring their first syllables and has recently been labelled the”heartland of Poland’s hipster revolution“.

Whilst this may sound like a dubious accolade, immediately conjuring images of middle-class suburbanites trying to recreate the American dream out of an ex-council flat in Hounslow … in the context of provincial Poland you get a city center flowing with a fresh and eclectic range of independent businesses.

Chowmein

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Wrocław’s diverse cultural history is reflected in the Old Town’s architectural composition, with the visible legacies of the communist-era towering alongside the restored pre-war gabled Germanic buildings. In this iconic district it’s a struggle to walk down the street without being drawn in like a degenerate, salivating moth by the allure of some seriously peng fusion food or locally brewed beer.

Prewar restored

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Provincial Poland in January isn’t exactly a trip to the Bahamas and the cold really clamps down as soon as the sun sets, here’s my selection of where to keep warm after dark on a winter weekend.

Przedwojenna Bistro

Как в старые добрые… 😋☺️🙌🏼#przedwojenna#wrocław#wroclove

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Spread over three nostalgia strewn floors, less than 100m from the main square and open 24/7, Przedwojenna’s vibe sways somewhere between an inter-war continental bistro and a BYOB student restaurant. Beer and Soplica shots a morally corrupting 4zl and it’s an extravagant 8zl for dense plates of local food, visual depictions of the menu and prices painted on the walls framing the bar. With such humblingly hospitable prices, by early evening it’s crammed with a crowd mainly composed of local Polski’s, alongside a handful of deviant Erasmus students and gringo tourists

4Hops

Focusing on craft beer and mexican fusion food, it was a good day when I realised this place was a couple of minutes walk from where I was staying. There’s always a range of at least 16 craft beers available on tap, both local brews and international. Despite the spacious interior, any chance of finding a seat after dark on the weekend is laughable, as it appears the good citizens of Wrocław like nothing more than to drown themselves in craft beer, with a chicken and pomegranate taco thrust into each hand.
A thoroughly agreeable city.

Das Lokal

Over the river from the Old Town, this seriously sexy little basement club has some innovative lighting that’ll happily hold you hostage long past the dawn chorus breaks in the disconnect street outside. You get the feel the place was formed for Techno, but there’s the odd DnB night as well. With opaque event names like K-Hole Trax’s there’s no suppression of intentions, though most people are kicking it on the 8 zl pints than anything synthesised.

It’s got a good vibe and there’s an interestingly eclectic mob fracturing and weaving round the different spaces. Das Lokal’s homegrown resident’s have a solid reputation and can regularly be found in Berlin, the club is also frequently host to international names, night’s to look out for include SLAP and the aforementioned K-Hole Trax’s.

Karavan

Current study spot #neverendingstory

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Chilled and steady music keeping apace to the bars aesthetic means Karavan is a great spot to enjoy some slow drinks, before exploring some of the city’s late night offerings. There’s further visual stimulation projected onto a far wall for those settling in and a healthily ranged menu to fill any gaps in your appetite. With its slower vibe Karavan is favoured by an older crowd, you don’t expect trays of shots to fly round or spontaneous table top dancing.

AleBrowar Wrocław

Polecam serdecznie 😁

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Next door to Karavan, Alebrowar is a Polish craft beer chain pub and you can find one in major cities. I rate their Wrocław branch, you can’t go wrong with a decent selection of beer and the presentation of their taps is what ties the place together, forming the focal point behind the bar. There’s plenty of spots to cotch, with sofas and armchairs throughout the place. Again like Karavan the punters are a bit older, with the atmosphere imbued with their sensibilities.

Doctor’s Bar

Big shout for the complimentary drink Doctor’s Bar ! I’d just slogged it up the church tower of St Elizabeth’s next door and was in dire need of refreshment, when after settling in here I was offered the opportunity to sample their drinks menu as they had opened the bar for its first day 10 minutes before. Just off the main square in the Old Town, it’s got a fresh, spacious aesthetic and when I headed back later on the Friday night it was rammed … though that’s to be expected on an opening night. Best of luck to Wrocław‘s newest bar !

Here’s a sample of some of the sounds you’ll find in Wrocław over a winter weekend

Wroclaw in the afternoon

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Making The Most of those Juicy January Flights

Officially the most depressing time of year, those in a flexible situation have the option to travel all over Europe for a fraction of the price you’d find yourself subjected to for the rest of the year. With all airlines dropping their prices to fill seats, you can find some incredible last-minute deals.

Escaping the bitter English January

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In January last year I was based out of London and with a £100 flight budget I had the opportunity to spend my Friday night in Athenian Techno basement club Senza , the next night Techno again till midday Sunday in Berlin’s Chalet and be in Madrid for the Spanish capital’s student night Fucking Monday the day after … overall that was 3 key European capitals, 4 flights and over 4,500 miles in less than a week. If I’d gone for a similar style of multi-city trip any other time of the year there’s no doubt flight expenses would have at least doubled.

Some flights are more scenic than others #LondontoAthens #somewhereoverthebalkans

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London is definitely the best city to find some juicy last-minute departures, but you’d be surprised which other cities have regular flight connections whose prices are slashed for the January off-season. To make the most of these flight deals have a trawl through flight search engine sites like Momondo and Sky-Scanner. With the ability to search all departures from a city, you can link up a multi-city itinerary based off the best deals and keep it tailored to your own taste in destination and budget. Also when using these sites keep a check on the cookie situation … sometimes the live pricing can cause a surge and drive up prices horrendously.

All over Europe the affordable January prices extend beyond airfares and you can find enticing accommodation deals that fit any budget. Visiting a city out of season can also provide you with a whole new perspective on the city and its nightlife. For example in Athens the locals that work out on the islands during the summer all return home for the winter, so clubs and bars that are full of tourists during the long summer months are filled with hedonistic young Athenians in the depth of winter.

The more environmentally conscious can keep tabs on their carbon footprint by reducing their air miles and go for the straight up single destination city-break. Those hectic major European destinations that are rammed the rest of the year regain their charm in the off-season, creating a fresh and authentic experience. Overall flights for under a tenner can’t be beaten and whilst Luxembourg might not be the home of the sesh, you’d still consider flying there for 7 quid. Imagine going somewhere decent for that price.

Juicy January flight deals out of London

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Happy New Year people, best of luck in everything you set out to accomplish in 2017 !

5 of the best NYD nightlife destinations across Europe

With New Year’s Eve nights sold out across the continent, last-minute travellers taking advantage of some juicy flight deals still have the option to indulge in some fresh hedonism on the 1/01. Here’s my pick of five NYD nightlife destinations that standout across Europe.

BristolMotion

One of the top 20 clubs in the world according to a recent DJ mag poll,  In:Motion’s NYD line-up for the South Bristol indoor skatepark is an eclectic mix and appears endless.  Amongst the 33 artists featured, the names of Berghain/Panorama Bar residents Ben Klock and Steffi alongside artists such as Tale Of Us, Jackmaster, KiNK, Nastia and Jeremy Underground should be enough to get the adrenal gland of any electronic music aficionado pre-emptively quivering.

MadridWan Festival

Following its successful launch last year, the 01/01 in the Spanish capital see’s another installment of the electronic music festival Wan. Held inside the colossal 10,000 capacity  La Cubiteria bullring, the Tech House orientated line up includes Ibiza stalwarts Martinez Brothers, Luciano, Marco Carola and Richie Hawtin and continues long past sun-rise.

Brilliant few days away for ADE. Awakenings at the Gashouder was something else! what a venue 👏🏽

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AmsterdamGashouder

2017 marks two decades since the establishment of Dutch techno events brand Awakenings, with the first event of the year a NYD special at their regular Amsterdam haunt, Gashouder. With its huge capacity and innovative lighting, the former gas storage plant is the perfect space for a line up that includes big names like Nina Kraviz and Berghain residents Ben Klock (again??) and Len Faki.

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BerlinBerghain/ Panorama bar

With affiliated DJ’s all over this list, the recently designated high culture institution is a logical feature. Regarded by many as the apex of global nightlife, the Berghain’s Silversternacht celebrations run throughout NYD and into the 2nd. The conditional entry policy pursued here means you can still get a ticket upon entry after presale have evaporated. You’re potentially free to enjoy a NYD line up that includes Techno premiers such as Ben Klock (busy man), DVS1 and Efdemin.

24hour party people ✨✨✨ #partypeople #belgradeclubbing #waitingforsven #svenvath

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BelgradeHangar, Luka Beograd

NYD in the Serbian capital see’s the third night of Central Dance Event a four night series of events, held in various venues throughout Belgrade, running from the 30/12 through till the morning of 03/01. Hangar Luka Beograd, a former warehouse in a docklands area by the Danube, is host for the third night with a Techno focused line-up that includes international names like Magda and Pig & Dan alongside local homegrown Serbian artists.

Good luck to you all in 2017 !

Trudging

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