Après-Ski in Zakopane
Located at the southern end of Poland in the Tatra mountain range lies the fairytale-esque village of Zakopane. Curved brick streets are lined with twinkly lights and small town eateries and pubs, boutiques selling amber jewelry and furs, the local smoked cheese oscypek and travelers from Slovakia, Hungary, the cities of Poland and these days, all 'round the world. Known as the "winter capital" of Poland, Zakopane is quickly becoming a plot on the map for ski and culture lovers. Smaller and cozier than some of Europe's other winter capitals, this village has a healthy mix of old world charm and new world luxury.
After a long, full day on the glimmering slopes of the Tatra mountains, you'll need to relax your muscles with a drink or two and soak in that great local culture. Here's where to do it.
Lobby Bar is located in the beautiful Belvedere hotel and will entice you to ditch your ski wear for something a little nicer to fit in with the beautiful crowd. A little out of the way from the main walkway through the center of Zakopane, the swanky atmosphere here makes the jaunt worth it. Take in the view of the hotel's pool and aquarium full of turtles as well as an extra strong vodka cocktail; soon enough relaxation is yours and you're ready to take on the night.
Ampstrong is half bar half club and has seen all the big names in Polish DJs and even many international superstars as well. The après-ski crowd here is gorgeous and the vibe is lively. Try some honey or cherry liquor cocktails and start to get your groove on.
Paparazzi is the place to end up once you're starting to feel the music and have long since forgotten about your sore legs from taking on the Tatra. Although this club has a great dancefloor and scrumptious house music beats, this is truly a cocktail lovers dream club. Here the main focus is on mixology and you can find yourself holding a drink with a full fig inside of it, a bushel of mint leaves, olives straight off a tree in Italy or exotic fruits from Thailand. They take their drink menu extremely seriously and are constantly changing things up. Alas get friendly with the gorgeous bartenders and ask them what their favorite cocktail is as of late and order that. You won't be diappointed.
Va Va Voom is a notch down on the intensity level from Paparazzi so head here to get your head straight from those mind bending cocktails you indulged upon chez Paparazzi. Red tinted lighting, brick and stone walls, more house music but a bit more chill, this is a great place to dance with room to spare. The crowd? Yep, still more beautiful people and no you're not seeing things, nearly everyone is blonde. Such is the case in southern Poland.
Legenda Nietoperza is where to wind down. By day and early evening this is a local's joint and your arrival may cause a few heads to turn. Your accent will get you noticed and you won't be able to relax. By evening however it's another story; the night belongs to all and now you can befriend the locals and make yourself at home here to slowly sip a beer and come to... because the following day, the Tatra moutains will be waiting for you again.