Lively and metropolitan, with a large student population, it’s perhaps no surprise that Wrocław has emerged as one of Poland’s foremost destinations for live music. Its prime geographic location – poised between the cultural hotspots of Berlin, Warsaw and Prague – has placed it firmly on the touring map, attracting an impressive mix of musicians from Europe and further afield.
As the city gears up for its role as the 2016 European Capital of Culture, it will no doubt pull in an even more astonishing range of performers (not to mention huge numbers of visitors) – so consider planning your visit now. To help you get started, we’ve rounded up some of the city's best live music venues – most of which are within easy reach of the Radisson Blu Hotel, Wrocław.
With an eclectic roster of acts running the gamut from hardcore and alternative rock to punk, reggae and more, Alive is one of the most popular venues for live music in Wrocław. Consisting of just two rooms nestled into the vaulted space under a train trestle, it’s perfect for those who like their concert venues laid-back, authentic and a little raw – it’s all about the music here. Even better, many of the gigs are free, plus there are regular casual jam sessions for those who want to get involved.
One of Wrocław's hottest concert venues for scenesters in the know, Firlej tends to be packed during live shows, so get here early for a prime position. Known for introducing new artists dabbling in a range of experimental sounds, the programme here includes everything from rock and metal to jazz and electronica. It's also the home of the popular Asymmetry Festival, which celebrates genre mash-ups and all varieties of avant-garde sounds.
Collosseum Jazz Caffe
For smooth jazz in an atmosphere that's both classy and casual, the Collosseum Jazz Caffe is hard to beat. Tucked beneath the eerie medieval fortifications on Partisan Hill, this long, narrow bar and concert venue has a great selection of drinks and tasty food, but more importantly features several weekly performances by local and international jazz artists, which generally attract a large and appreciative crowd keen on first-rate tunes in an impressive historical setting.
Od Zmierzchu Do Świtu
Named after the Tarantino film (Od Zmierzchu Do Świtu is "From Dusk Till Dawn" in Polish) and adorned with motorcycles behind the bar, this wildly popular cellar venue offers a mixed bag of performances, from heavy metal to light pop and everything in between. Wednesdays are set aside to showcase up-and-coming local bands, while the rest of the week could bring anything from amateur jam sessions to international acts. The crowd is pleasingly diverse, from dedicated musicians to students attracted by the cool vibe.
Also meriting a mention is Wrocław’s venerable Centennial Hall, the UNESCO World Heritage-listed exhibition space that has provided a venue for large-scale concerts, opera and other events for over a hundred years. Worth a visit for its astonishing architecture and history alone (which you can explore through interactive exhibits in the Discovery Centre), this is also a prime venue for major musical performances ranging from orchestral classics to international pop acts.