Gdansk – Underbeer

I’ve somehow managed to miss this craft beer bar located in the city centre of Gdansk and I only located it because I was looking for somewhere I hadn’t been that might sell decadent pizzas. Or indeed any pizzas.

I arrived just after 14:00 and I’m not entirely sure why so many places in Poland open at that time, which is too late for lunch and seemingly too early for most other people. I was the only person in the bar, which didn’t entirely surprise me. There was a friendly welcome from the staff member though and it felt an inviting environment to be in.

The concept here is of having cans and bottles in the fridges, with a staff member pro-actively offering assistance to help customers find something that they like. The staff member explained the fridges and their contents, all friendly and engaging. The fridges are also clearly laid out and are in a logical order.

It became apparent quickly that the choice of beers here was outstandingly good. This set-up frankly shames hundreds of British pubs who offer no craft beers, but yet could nearly all offer some set-up like this (assuming they’re not tied). Such a simple and easy way of offering a wide selection of beers across lots of different styles. I very much liked it, although it gave me a problem that there were too many good beers and I had to buy some to take away with me.

The bar had a wide selection of beers from the Warsaw based Funky Fluid, which can be a little difficult to source in the UK (I think I’ve only seen them in Brewdog and even then, only rarely), who are one of my favourite breweries.This pink guava, passion fruit and peach beer was a delight, packed with fruit flavour, easy to drink and with a suitable amount of sour kick to it. For me, it would be hard to make a sour much better than this, a glorious drink.

And then the Cooke Monster from Inne Beczki, a micro-brewery based in Blonie (I had to look that up, it’s a town not far to the west of Warsaw). This was the decadent delight that I was looking for, packed with coffee and chocolate flavours, as well as being smooth, despite being 7.8%. This wasn’t far from being like a chocolate milkshake, one of the better oatmeal stouts that I’ve had.

I gave thought to whether I should just spend the entire day in the bar, but I thought that might be pushing it a little too far as I didn’t want to stumble out. The snow and ice has nearly all gone, but I thought a long visit might be excessive, although I wouldn’t have taken much persuading to stay for longer.

I had found this bar because their pizzas were recommended, but I went instead for the chicken bagel with pickle, mozzarella, pickled red onion and white cabbage. I expected something much smaller than this if I’m being honest. Although I expected to enjoy the bagel (otherwise I wouldn’t have ordered it) this was far better than I had expected. A large portion, an entire chicken breast and a coating that was rich in flavour. The chicken was tender and moist, the pickle and red onion added a salty and sour taste, whilst the bagel was of a decent quality. Very enjoyable and even the white cabbage was delicious, so they’re clearly doing something right for me to be able to write that.

But back to the bar itself, which was clean and comfortable, with pro-active service from the staff. There were a number of customers who came in during my visit, often they just bought one beer to take out or sit in, some others lingered for longer. It’s rare that I’m so delighted by the beer options that I have to take some beers away with me, and it’s so rare I’m not sure that I’ve ever done it. There are also enough other beers here to keep me entertained on a future visit, with the prices are all being reasonable for the quality offered.

As I mentioned, this is what more pubs in the UK should be doing, not just micro-pubs and a few forward thinking bars. Too often the choice of beers in pubs and restaurants is bland and unappealing, but yet this lovely little bar in Gdansk has managed to outclass so many of them. This is one of the best bars that I’ve been to, such a simple concept but such excellent food and drink and a friendly and genuine service. This is very much all on-trend, but it isn’t formulaic, it’s just informal and forward thinking.

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