Our Like a local series conquers Eastern Europe! In our latest special episode, our resident Marika Majorova takes us on a tour of Bratislava’s city center to show us the most exciting little spots.
Welcome to Bratislava. Ahoj! If you’ve just arrived to Bratislava via the recently opened main bus station Nivy, you stepped foot into the city’s new downtown. Before you dive into the historical old town, which is a walking distance away, there are places worth stopping by at Nivy and the popular residental area called “500 flats“ (the oldest housing estate in Bratislava, built in the 1950s). Come walk with us.
Pán Králiček Priestor
Budovateľská 2, 82108 Bratislava-Nivy
But first: coffee. Monday or Sunday, locals flock for coffee or two to Pán Králiček (meaning Mister Rabbit, named after the founder’s surname), a well-loved coffee institution that started off in 2012 as the first mobile coffee cart in town. Known for its friendly baristas and locally roasted specialty coffees, there were soon, (and still are) four coffee carts around the center of the town, rain or shine.
The natural next step for Mr. Králiček was opening an own café space (Priestor). It is located in the popular area of “500 flats“, where old residents, young families, artists and hipsters mix and match. Designed by architect Martin Skoček, the space is emphasizing the raw building elements typical for the architecture of the area. Králiček is serving locally roasted coffee, craft beer and wines from the Carpathian region and small snacks like sandwiches, cakes and traditional Dutch style “Stroopwafels” that are highly addictive. You can also buy their specialty coffees and home barista equipments, or start a discussion with the baristas about all the little coffee making details.
Jurkovič Heating Plant, Bottova 1, Bratislava
If first impressions count, you‘ll be forever amazed, when walking into the recently carefully renovated industrial building of the Jurkovič Heating Plant (Jurkovičova Tepláreň). The building was designed in the early 40s, by the iconic figure of modern Slovak architecture, Dušan Jurkovič. Although it was bombed during World War II, it was later renovated, but without any real purpose, the building was slowly dying. In 2008, Jurkovičova Tepláreň was declared a National Cultural Monument for its architectural value. Extensive reconstruction began ten years later with a focus on preserving as much as possible of the original features and unique signature of Dušan Jurkovič. Today, this historic monument is hosting offices, a co-working space, a contemporary art gallery/café and the restaurant/bar WERK.
The Werk open space changes in mood depending when you walk in. And so does the menu. The bistro-style part of the space gets busy in the morning, serving a generous breakfast menu with farm-fresh eggs, their own baked pastries and coffee. Lunch time is more peaceful, with business meetings over a cosmopolitan daily menu and young professionals on their laptops with craft beverages and warm daylight streaming in throught the large windows… just before the sunset, when Werk turns into a socially vibrant and highly instagrammable Manhattan-style dinner place with dimmed lights, an evening à la carte menu, a wide range of coctails on the bar and DJ from Thursday through the weekend. Coming with a celebrational party of 10 or a date for two, evening reservations are highly recommended!
Budovateľská 1, Bratislava-Nivy
It’s all in the name: After is a simplified, purely minimalist after-work bar concept. Situated on the crossroads of the city’s new business center, the residential “500 flats“ area and the main bus station slash shopping mall, and opening from 5 pm, it is your afterwork, aftertravel, afterbike, aftershopping place.
Almost neighbouring with Pán Králiček café and designed by the same architect, a former dodgy casino space was completely stripped down and almost symbolically purified with concrete walls, concrete floors and a massive polished concrete bar with stainless steel fittings. A dark grey padded sitting bench and bar stools create a cozy space for lounging or standing around. But the main star of After is the wine list that was put together from small, young wineries of the Carpathian region. It’s carefully selected and contemporary and worth tasting through, under the watchful eye of the bartenders. The wine selection is complemented by local tap beer, a few coctails and simple snacks on the menu: tasty gourmet spreads on sourdough bread, olives, meat and cheese platters. A complementary bowl of the local legendary socialist era snack, Chrumky (corn chrunchy crisps covered in salted roasted peanuts), comes handy.
The minimalistic grey space attracts a colorful crowd. Right after opening at 5 pm, you’ll bump into cyclists stopping by for a beer, parents walking home with their kids from the nearby playground, young business folks winding down with a glass of wine, neighbors with dogs, and an artsy crowd showing up later on. Here drinks and stories are shared and evenings have finished or just started.
About the author:
Marika “Tonbo” Majorova – Brand consultant, photographer, beauty hunter. Bratislava/Pozsony/Pressburg born & raised, speaking Slovak/Hungarian/German (with a dose of English and a little bit of French). Supporting local design, art and fashion, mom of Mia.
Photos: Marika Majorova