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Warsaw Insider Magazine: Girls On Top
The Warsaw Insider: Girls on Top
With everything to see and do in Warsaw, it's typical to find yourself frequenting the same restaurants, bars and clubs each weekend. If you're anything like me, you wake up Sunday mornings vowing to stop this monotonously repetitive habit. That is, until the usual suspects drag you out next weekend and you find yourself, once again, in the hip-hop room at Platinum.
This summer the girls and I have made a solid commitment to explore the nooks and crannies of Warsaw to find out what the city has to offer its more adventurous fun seekers. Noc Muzeów (Night of Museums) was the perfect start to our quest for under-the-radar nightlife.
For one night of the year all of Warsaw's museums, art galleries and exhibitions open their doors to the public for a free night of artistic entertainment that lasts until sunrise. For many years on this particular evening I had seen droves of people congregate and shuffle from one museum to the next. I always envied their cultural dedication, despite the thumping techno music audible in the distance summoning devout party-goers like a call to Mosque. The all too familiar nocturnal sounds of Warsaw would tempt me no longer. I would not envy their educative initiative this time. Renouncing my usual club-hopping ways I would eagerly join them, and the girls were coming with me!
Starting on the other side of the river we hit hot-spot Porto Praga for a feast and cocktail extravaganza graciously hosted by the owner and our friend, Richard. After duck, salmon tartar, drinks and shots of every berry flavor under the rainbow, we were anxious to get out and explore. The streets were clearly filled with an artistic, quirky nouveau-hippie crowd. The more neglected, yet charming, side of the river felt as if it were a different city altogether, Prague rather than Praga.
With little bottles of Zołądkowa stuffed in our purse (Polish style), we took a quick sip and visited our first location Other Side of the Looking Glass on Damska street. The walls were adorned with vibrantly textured wallpaper and art, lit by lamp accented corners in a maze of multi-themed rooms. With a thrown together Bohemian meets art deco vibe, it was the perfect spot for an evening like this. Smoke filled the air and each piece of quirky colored furniture was inhabited by a couple or group sharing their own unique evening.
Standing room only prompted us to dodge traffic and cross the street to a red lit, two story lounge blaring live music and appropriately named, The Spiders Lair. Indistinguishably loud and packed to the brim, a band played almost on top of tables of people. Immediately I noticed the communist, rustic vibe. It was someplace out of a Russian spy novel fulfilling all stereotypes of Eastern Europe. The statuesque women dancing on their seats, the bulked up men taking vodka shots all while moving to the beat. We observed the scene and quickly moved on.
Taking our dancing and singing to the streets we hopped from gallery to shop, exhibition to art show. After watching a modern dance, light spectacle at the Trzeczynski Factory we sat on the steps, called a taxi and secretly took turns sipping the toxic contents of the purse. Feeling a buzz we turned on some music and danced right on the steps with no inhibitions, completely oblivious to the crowds coming and going.
Suddenly flashes began glinting from what seemed to be every direction. With that, our little street side dance quickly became a spontaneous photo shoot as we realized three photographers covering the evening’s events had eagerly discovered us. Mid-song our taxi arrived, we jumped in and off we drove feeling like rock stars running from adoring paparazzi.
Along the way we made the driver stop at a thrift shop where we quickly bought hippie spunk dresses and changed in a frenzy as we rolled up to the grunge hangout Obiekt Znaleziony. This was the ultimate Noc Muzeów local. A discrete gem appropriately tucked in the basement of the Zachęta Art Gallery. An underground cellar turned live music night-spot. With new short skirts and plenty of spunk we danced and observed Warsaw's trendy crowd. It was completely packed of people who had just finished perusing the art hanging a few floors above and were putting a noisy night cap on the evening.
As I ordered the next round at the bar I noticed above the countless bottles of Vodka hung an icon of the Virgin Mary. Her religious presence in such a place was another reminder of what a fantastically foreign night it had been. Mary's disapproving stares didn't stop anyone from enjoying themselves and the party went on. Although we had seen much less of Noc Muzeów’s intended purpose of art appreciation and more of the nightlife itself, we came to realize the unusual is usually more fun and never knew ‘culture’ could be so frivolous.