Welcome to the first in our City Guide series, where we ask some of our favourite artists and producers to give us a tour round the favourite spots of their hometown.
First up is mysterious duo Ptaki (which means ‘birds’ in Polish), whose Balaeric house grooves are given a Polish twist through the samples that play an important part in their productions. Shamefully, before hearing Ptaki we didn’t hold the most positive stereotype of Polish music, but they’ve really opened our eyes to the talent coming out of Poland at the moment. We’ve asked them to pick out their favourite spots in their hometown, Warsaw, which we’ve then plotted on a handy Google Maps to use if you ever visit the city. They’ve also put together a 100% Polish mix (tracklist on Soundcloud) that really shows off the wealth of musical talent in the country. Read their selections below, alongside some of our favourite tracks of theirs. We also featured the brilliant and unreleased Warsaw in our first monthly mix, which you can download below.
Favourite place to buy records
Side One, Chmielna Street 21
A small, but really tight store that’s been here for a decade. Wojtek, the owner and main man behind the counter, opened his first record store catering quality electronic music on vinyl back in the 90s. Later on, he split with his business partners and opened Side One. He is a really knowledgeable, open-minded and friendly dude. When you add plenty of obscure, limited and rare releases he imports every week from the whole musical spectrum and a family atmosphere that can’t be underrated, you’ll get an idea of our favourite record store in Warsaw.
If you’re after some rare Polish jazz and prefer a sure thing instead of getting your hands dusty at local flea markets, head over to Hey Joe ( Złota Street 8 ) or Muzant ( Warecka Street 4/6 ), pricey but worth it.
Favourite place to listen to live music
Powiekszenie (Blow-Up), Nowy Świat Street 27
Powiekszenie and BarKa’s (summer only) line-ups are worth checking out. They’re usually filled with lots of great indie, jazz and folk gigs, including some local talents.
Favourite place to get inspired to make music
No particular places, just wandering around the city streets. Usually around Powisle and Mokotow.
Place you go when you need to take your mind off music?
We often travel to our hometowns in opposite corners of Poland. They’re the best places to rest your mind and gather fresh thoughts and inspiration.
Best sound system in Warsaw
If you need to, you may easily rent Funktion-One for your party from a local distributor. That would be probably the best soundsystem in the city right now. Otherwise – they are more or less on the same level. Don’t expect too much, sorry.
Favourite place to party
1500m2, Solec 18
We really enjoy smaller clubs, but 1500m2 is a lot bigger than an average club in Warsaw. The bookings are often a weird mix of underground and commercial, but it’s the most solid place in the city when it comes to line-ups.
Best restaurant for a traditional Warsaw/Polish meal?
Bar Bambino, Krucza Street 21
Our long time favourite is Bar Bambino. It’s extremely cheap, usually filled with a social mix of some regular folk, students, yuppies, pensioners or, well…weirdos! The food is served very fast but still, very tasty. If you prefer something more fancy, try U Kucharzy, which serves traditional Polish meals – try their lunches and tartare.
Place to experience something uniquely Warsaw?
It’s very fresh, not a tradition at all, but we’d say all the venues opening during summer on the banks of Vistula river. The banks are more or less wild, so it feels a bit like a rave in the middle of the city every weekend.
Best view in Warsaw?
Go to the top of Warsaw Uprising Mound in Sielce to get an amazing panorama of the modern city center and forests around its southern part. The mound is an artificial hill built from the rubble of Warsaw, completely destroyed during the 1944 Uprising.
And finally, the best up-and-coming talent in Warsaw?
DJ Dook from Risky & Dook collective is an amazing digger and a seriously great DJ when it comes to organic 70s vibes mixed with electronic dance music from the 80s and a bit of contemporary stuff. From euro disco, through afro, boogie, cosmic, obscure italo instrumentals to early electro & house records – that guy knows his stuff. Recently he started making his own edits, soon to be released on vinyl.