Tel: 48 22 829 87 65
On a side street off Foksal, a spoiled-looking university-age crowd flocks to an unusually spare setting. There are no plush couches here, unlike the hybrid-lounge theme favored by many Warsaw nightspots. Drinks are a tad cheaper at $4, but there's a private "Hennessy Artistry" lounge where mysterious VIPs sit and chat behind a frosted-glass door. On the sound system, DJs spin the usual Eurodisco while the TV on the wall blares out the ubiquitous "Fashion TV." It feels young and fun, but beauty has its price: The lines outside the women's bathrooms are ridiculously long.
12 Ul. Mazowiecka
Tel: 48 22 827 3151
Perhaps the perfect combination of the elements that define Warsaw nightlife, Enklawa currently has the longest lines outside and the toughest door policy. Inside, mirrored pillars with backlit fuchsia marble accents and a bamboo-lined balcony blur the distinction between disco palace and tiki bar. The dance floor is full of young women in Warsaw's nightclub uniform of tank top, tight jeans, and high heels, dancing ecstatically. The men, as everywhere in Warsaw, tend to be older, if not necessarily wiser.
19 Ul. Foksal
Tel: 48 60 276 2764
Typical of the watering holes where Warsaw's new rich go to drink and dance, Foksal 19 is designed within an inch of its life. A translucent marble bar and lamps covered in stitched black leather set the visual tone; loud, anonymous Central European dance music fills the ears. But the building itself still has some elegance, with its high ceilings and original moldings—it feels like an old bank that's been converted to nighttime use. The crowd leans heavily toward blondes in their late 30s, unlike the younger crowd that tends to frequent the Nowy Swiat/Foksal strip. Upstairs is a nightclub where the pretense of conversation disappears and the typical Warsaw hip-wagging dance is practiced by all.
Open Mondays through Saturdays from 6 pm.
4/6 Ul. Krakowskie Przedmiescie
Tel: 48 22 828 08 52
A basement club that feels like a speakeasy, with a smoky, R&B vibe. The crowd, like the music, is less frenetic (and less done-up), dancing on a tile floor under a low ceiling quilted in gold lamé, just one of the odd post-Soviet touches that give this club a sense of place. There's a wall of celebrity photos (local celebrities, it seems, to this untrained eye), and a general feeling of not quite having caught up to Warsaw's new-money celebration of itself.
1 Pl. Teatralny
Tel: 48 22 828 7075
The basement of the city's hallowed opera house has been converted, at what looks to be great expense, to a vaguely Asian-themed den of excess. Long candlelit stone passageways with teak floors lead past alcoves where discrete groups sit in private lounges. The club's central area is a dance floor (music is a combination of World Music and Eurodisco) surrounded by several levels of couches on risers, as well as a water-pipe lounge at the back. There are Buddha heads scattered about and Eastern-style scrolls on the walls and pillars, but it's hard to tell exactly what the intended effect is, other than a general sense of exoticism and decadence. At this the place succeeds, with Warsaw's aging beautiful people relaxing on elegant sofas, looking like a picture of 19th-century debauchery. Entrance is $11 which includes a drink: Try the house's signature cocktail, the Green Frog, a refreshing mix of vodka, curaçao, and orange juice.
Open Fridays and Saturdays from 10 pm.
22/28 Nowy Swiat
Tel: 48 22 826 5481
Housed in what feels like a concrete bunker in a maze of courtyards off Nowy Swiat is another speed of nightlife. Named after the tourist shops of the Soviet era that accepted only foreign culture, Pewex feels like a trip back through the '70s and '80s behind the Iron Curtain. The setting is a low-slung pair of rooms with murky porthole windows and dark brown 1970s graphic wallpaper as well as yellow globular lamps and plastic furniture. It's dark and intimate, with a relaxed crowd enjoying the DJ's choice of obscure electroclash. This place is a worthy alternative to the frantic strutting and fronting of Warsaw's main clubs.