It is a place with a rich history. The Praga Koneser Centre in Warsaw opened in 2018. Today, it is a multifunctional complex that allows you to work here, live here, spend time in the restaurants and cafes or contemplate art. The place is like a city within a city, so it is difficult to present all its attractions in a few sentences. What did we like best about the place? Take a look
The great value of the Koneser Praga Centre is its history. The complex was built on the site of the former Warsaw Vodka Factory, so a lot of the industrial architecture from before has been preserved here. The vodka factory began operations in 1897. The peak of its development can be dated to the interwar period, when 400 people worked here.The development of the place was interrupted by the Second World War, but already at the end of the 1940s production was resumed, which lasted until the first decade of the 21st century
The site of the closed down factory was taken over by investors – BBI Development and Liebrecht & wooD, who decided to bring Koneser back to Warsaw inhabitants. The entire area of the former factory has the status of a historical monument, so the renovation had to take place in cooperation with the conservator.
The new owner entrusted the preparation of a project for the revitalisation and expansion of the site to architects from the Juvenes Projekt studio. During the work, valuable facades were restored, damage repaired and details restored. Efforts were made to preserve as many of the old elements as possible – an example of this are the fragments of the floor on the ground floor of some rooms. Architects from ARE and Bulanda & Mucha Architekci studio also participated in the design work
The designers have not only breathed new life into the old fabric, but have also expanded it with modern buildings whose appearance is reminiscent of the factory’s industrial buildings. As a result, spaces with a variety of functions have been created here. The complex includes flats, shops, services, a medical centre, hotel and office space. There are also museums, including the Museum of Polish Vodka, several art galleries, and the American Google has its campus here
Koneser Square is a lively place – restaurants, cafés, bars… There are plenty of places to eat out! Examples? Bombaj Masala with Indian cuisine, AZIA Restaurants with dishes from all corners of Asia, the ORZO restaurant, or the L’Osteria restaurant specialising in Italian cuisine. The latter has recently opened; it is the first establishment of this chain in Poland. A full list of cafés and restaurants can be found at www.konesersmakuje.pl
Something for the body
Right next to the entrance from Ząbkowska Street isKoneser Grill. It is the only restaurant in the Praga district to have been featured in the Michelin guide. The restaurant has been in the guide for over three years and this year additionally received the Bib Gourmand distinction
Koneser Grill was created for lovers of quality ingredients and good wine. The heart of the restaurant is the grill, but not the gas or electric one. Dishes are grilled on wood or charcoal. The chef is Piotr Wójcik, whose cuisine is characterised by multidimensionality. What is worth eating here? You can successfully recommend all the dishes on the menu. The menu itself changes frequently. The chef bases his dishes on seasonal produce, so you can taste them when they are at their best. Whole grilled fish, steaks, home-made black pudding or salmon roe… the range of flavours is enormous. In addition, you can enjoy drinks prepared by experienced bartenders
The interior is decorated in dark, subdued colours. The central part is occupied by the bar, in front of which there is a row of hockers. To the left is the open kitchen, so while you are inside you can watch the chefs at work. Worth noting here is a large-format painting by Polish street artist Tempzey. The painting “Chef Patron” is inspired by the street art style and was made using a mixed technique: spray paint and poster markers. This colourful and full of positive energy work symbolises the element of cooking supported by the patron – the iconic Michelin Man.
On site, we spoke to Daniel Pawelek of Ferment Group, who owns the premises. We asked himto what extent Koneser Grill complements the fabric of the entire Koneser Praga Centre?
I opened the restaurant on this side of the Vistula because of the unique atmosphere of Praga. In Koneser I was able to open a restaurant with a grill at its heart. In other places I didn’t have that opportunity. The unit is the heart of the restaurant and allows you to grill over wood or charcoal. I decided to take the name itself from Koneser because it really is a place for connoisseurs, for those who want to come and eat well, drink good wine, feel good and be surrounded by good service
How did you make it into the Michelin guide?
We have been in the guide for over three years. This year, after quite a long absence of the guide in Poland, we got our dream decoration, the Bib Gourmand, which is awarded for good value for money. There are only seven restaurants with this distinction in Poland. Everyone is familiar with the Michelin stars, but the Bib Gourmand distinction is being promoted more and more. When I am abroad, I visit restaurants awarded this way more and more often. Stars are more associated with formal dining, whereas to a place awarded the ‘Bib’ mark you can just go, eat well and have fun. That is exactly what Koneser Grill is
A few steps away is the Moxy Warsaw Praga hotel, which is managed by the Dobry Hotel Group. It is not a standard hotel like many in the world. Stepping inside, you will look in vain for a traditional lobby with a counter set in the middle. Instead, the interior is filled with modern furniture, colourful decorative elements and art, and you can check in at the bar. On the one hand, there is a relaxed atmosphere here, while on the other, the experienced and qualified team is dedicated to ensuring guests’ comfort. How unique the concept is is evidenced by the nomenclature itself. There are no directors or managers at the Moxy, instead the place is commanded by… a lady captain!
The Moxy will fit perfectly into the Koneser concept because it offers a place to stay for everyone who comes here. They are not only tourists, but also employees of companies that have their headquarters in Koneser,” says Katalin Vajda, Moxy hotel captain
The architectural design of the building was prepared by the Juvenes Projekt studio, thanks to which the industrial brick edifice was thoroughly rebuilt and extended with a new part with an elegant black façade. The Manuttone studio is responsible for the energetic interior. Being my first time at a Moxy hotel, I was pleasantly surprised by the décor; it’s a bit like a restaurant, a bit like a café and a bit more like an art gallery
All Moxy hotels in the world are designed to be unique and diverse. Our signature feature is the large lobby, in the centre of which is the reception area connected to the bar. This area is open 24 hours a day. Among other things, visitors take note of the vats set up here and through them find out what used to be here. Bottles were stored in the area of the current hotel – they are still here today, but have a decorative function. In addition, elements such as colourful cushions, teddy bears, robots or fresh flowers make the place cosy, bold and very interesting, ” adds Katalin Vajda
I pointed out to the interviewee the products set up – Italian flour, cans of tomatoes and bottles of olive oil…
Yes, this is related to our gastronomic offer. We focus on quality, admittedly we don’t have a large menu, but we specialise in what we call flatbreads, the equivalent of Italian pizza. We have good quality dough and ingredients, which are prepared on site only after guests place their order,” explains Katalin Vajda
Ms Captain points out the most important value of the hotel is the people. Most of Moxy’s employees have worked here since the property opened in Prague. The team is united by a passion for hospitality and they also enjoy spending time together after work. The positive atmosphere translates into the kind of service guests experience.The very good ratings in this regard in Google comments and opinion aggregators are no coincidence
A total of 141 rooms have been prepared for guests here, 10 of which are of a higher standard. The latter have an additional single or double sofa bed and are larger than the standard rooms. Some of the rooms have two single beds each and some have a single large bed. The attraction is the different views – some of the hotel’s windows overlook Ząbkowska Street, while others overlook the lively Koneser Square.
Something for the spirit
Moving on. A few metres past the entrance to the Moxy Hotel is the Museum of Fantastic Art. Here you can view collections mostly from private collections and see works that have not been shown to the public before. Exhibitions of paintings by representatives of fantastic art have been held here. These include Wiesław Wałkuski, Dariusz Zawadzki and Zdzisław Beksiński. Currently, the exhibition “Remanents” with works by Jerzy Duda-Gracz is on until 8 October
There is a different atmosphere at the Museum of Polish Vodka, which is located in the 19th century Rectification building
The Museum of Polish Vodka is a unique place not only on the map of Warsaw, but also of Poland and the world. It is not only an interactive space where we learn about the history of alcohol production on the Vistula River, but also a tribute to the heritage of the place. Situated in the Koneser Praga Centre, created on the premises of the former Warsaw Vodka Factory “Koneser”, it is a natural continuation of a tradition dating back to the 19th century,” says Agnieszka Rynecka, General Director of the Museum of Polish Vodka .
The new interior design has been taken care of by the Nizio Design International studio. To visit the museum, you need to spend at least one hour. Inside, several thematic galleries have been created, through which we learn about the history of vodka production. Some of the exhibits are presented in the form of modern multimedia installations with which you can interact.There is also a cinema room inside, where during the tour we watch a short film about the history of the factory
The strength of the Museum of Polish Vodka, apart from the extremely interesting theme and the exhibition appreciated by visitors, is the people who create this place on a daily basis. They are passionate about both place and history. Each visiting group has its own guide who presents the history of Polish Vodka in a unique way. The Museum building also houses catering establishments: the Hundred Reasons restaurant with an art scene and the cocktail bar ¾ Koneser Bar, with the only terrace on the Square overlooking the panorama of Warsaw ,” adds Agnieszka Rynecka
We were impressed by the collection of old bottles of spirits collected here, which come from all corners of Poland. Many of them still have their original contents. You can finish your tour of the museum with a tasting and move on to the bar at the top, which offers a view of Koneser Square. About the latter in a moment!
On the way there, we also recommend checking out the ToTuart gallery, which collects contemporary art by selected artists.The gallery works like a showroom, so the paintings, sculptures, prints or ceramics presented here can be ordered straight away and enjoyed at home
Praga Koneser Centre is like a set of jigsaw puzzles put together. The wide range of shops or service outlets operating here makes it possible to do many things during one visit. It is worth stopping by Probiernia Urbanowicz. Its name refers to the inter-war period, when the name “probiernia” was used to describe shops where customers could taste alcohol before buying it. On the shelves of Probiernia Urbanowicz, you will find sophisticated spirits in visually appealing bottles, and their prices are not frightening
We end our visit at the Koneser Square, which is located in the central part of the entire complex. At the Square, you can feel an atmosphere similar to that of an old town square. The square is bustling with people walking around, sitting in café gardens or simply taking a shortcut between Ząbkowska and Białostocka streets. There are many streets here and we encourage you not to plan a specific route, but to let yourselfget lost
Koneser Square is filled with modern urban furniture with benches, bicycle stands and lanterns. There are also art elements that emphasise the atmosphere of the place including the characteristic sculptures of angels by artist Marek Sulka. In addition, large and colourful flower-shaped lanterns shine overhead at night
Praga Koneser Centre is a strong point not only on the tourist map of Warsaw. Whether you plan to visit the place in the middle of the week or at the weekend, there is always something going on here. Koneser hosts social and charity events as well as numerous events. One of them is Warsaw’s well-known “Koneser Summer” – i.e. countless exhibitions, theatres, stand-ups, dances and other, mostly free, attractions. And you can find out about the upcoming ones by visiting the official website koneser.eu
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