WARSAW — If you ever find yourself in Warsaw, chances are it is for reasons other than sampling the night life.
To be fair about it, Warsaw offers a selection of small, Old World cafes ( kawiarnie ) where the visitor can sip an espresso or a brandy, enjoy a pastry and glimpse the ferment of intellectual Poland. Try the Nowy Swiat, at Nowy Swiat 61, or the Bombonierka on New Market Square.
Drinking is another matter. As in the Soviet Union, the purpose is general anesthesia, the means is vodka and the place, for the most part, is at home. Outside the standard tourist hotels, bars are few and seedy.
For the dedicated nocturnal tourist, there are the nightclubs of Warsaw. The biggest and poshest, by socialist standards, is the Kongresowa in the Palace of Culture, that unloved gift from the Soviet people that dominates the center of town.