The House of the Rising Sun may or may not be in New Orleans, but the House of Beer is very definitely in Krakow. In the vanguard of concerted attempts to persuade Poles and visitors alike of the merits of brews other than those foisted on us almost everywhere by the major breweries, the House of Beer could almost be termed a library of beer, such is the seriousness of their endeavour.
Located on the ground floor (not underground!) of an elegant townhouse on the junction of Tomasza and Krzyza streets, just a couple of minutes from the Main Square, the House of Beer entices you into a high-ceilinged room dominated by a traditional bar and floor-to-ceiling cases displaying beer and beer-related materials. The predominant material is dark wood, and this, coupled with leather chairs and an overall lack of fussiness, as well as an absence of TV screens and loud music, is what prompts the resemblance to a library.
Open daily from 2 pm, they offer some 150 bottled beers and eight on draught. On a blackboard by the door is written the daily special, priced at 5 PLN for a half-litre (pint), which will cheaper by far than anything else you'll find in the Old Town, and considerably better tasting. Aside from the many fascinating and diverse beers from Poland's growing number of microbreweries, the House of Beer also offers choices from around the world, not least beers from the Czech Republic, considered by many the world's finest.
Given that Poland has a far livelier independent brewing sector than the majority of bars would have us believe, the House of Beer, with its cheerful and well-informed staff, is doing a grand job of spreading the good news to Krakow's beer connoisseurs in welcoming and understated style.