Nightfall in Krakow’s Old Town – of Drunk Tourists and Pub Pushers

The sun had set on a warm day, and we needed a drink to refresh ourselves on the way back to the hotel. We walked to a bar at the heart of Krakow’s Old Town to grab the cold pint of beer. A group of English weekenders sat outside the bar in Krakow’s Old Town.

“Oi, you ponce, why’d you let him sit there?” Shouted a half drunk Englishmen to a companion.

“Don’t you dare touch me,” said another to the the homeless Polish man who had turned to him making sign languages.

The group of English weekenders had previously made the homeless Polish man dance and perform for them, making him make a fool of himself in public in the hope of a few coin.

The homeless man had asked for some payment, which he was then refused and chased away by the Englishmen.

Another person separate from the group ran after him to give him some money, he was also on a weekend trip from England, which prompted much thanks from the homeless man.

One from the group got up and left prompting his group of friends to taunt if he had an “itch to scratch” (read: slang for seeking prostitutes). He turned to a young girl holding fliers and tried to get fresh with her, although this young girl seemed experienced dealing with him and pointed him to another direction.

“What’s wrong with these people, do they really need to behave like fools and make themselves and their people look bad?” Fumed a European who was part of our group.

“They are an absolute disgrace,” I seethed in reply, angry also at our helplessness being outnumbered and ineffecutal to do anything meaningful.

We finished our drink and began to walk back to the hotel.

“Hey guys, where are you all going tonight?” Said a beautiful young Polish girl in a tight fitting shirt, her left hand holding a bunch of flyers, she was club/bar promoter.

“Nah, on our way back to rest, its been a tiring day,”

“Come on, anything with a few beers will make it good, its only 10pm, he night is still so young, theres so much fun…”

“Maybe tomorrow…”

“No, come tonight,” she pouted. We refused again and walked back to rest.

The streets of Krakow Old Town are enlivened with many club and bar promoters who try to get young revelers to spend money. Many travelers from the wealthier parts of Europe (e.g. UK, Germany, Sweden) go to the poorer countries (Poland, Hungary, Greece, Spain) to spend their stronger currency and do things they would not typically do in their own countries. Most tourists go for harmless fun, drink/get manageably drunk and contribute to the local economy, a small minority go overboard.

While some tourist are curious about the people and culture, a sizable number of revelers are more interested in cheap drinks -sleeping away the morning and coming alive at night, many of these cities therefore have a thriving and competitive nightlife scene dominated by joints targeting the tourist market.

Krakow is likewise one of these cities, whole industries targeting all segments of the nightlife crowd have emerged – bars, pubs, clubs, nightclubs, pub crawls you name it.

There is also something called bar scams that tourist should be watchful off.

Krakow’s old town therefore welcomes a very different type of guest in the evening. People coming for stag or hen parties or just to drink themselves drunk for the weekend, some come to try and get a good night (read drunk and try to get a one night stand).

The transition of Krakow’s old town from World Heritage Site to alcoholic amusement park happens everyday. I know which one I liked more.

And its significantly brighter.


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