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Bucharest Old City

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picture of cec palace and bucharest old city center at night

Every city has an ‘old center’. This is usually a part of the city itself where the architecture has been preserved as it was tens of years ago and which people are trying to advertise as the ‘heart and soul’ of it. The ‘old city’ in Bucharest is much more than that: it looks and feels like a mini version of Romania.

The Old City in Bucharest is a marvelous rather small place crammed up between buildings with ancient looking architecture where you can find anything in terms of pubs and bars. And I do mean, anything. There are pubs dedicated to Irish drinks, ones that focus on Dracula, who became like a trademark of Romania, ones that concentrate on offering their guests the typical East European atmosphere and many more. There is a pub for every taste in the old city and each one of them is unique.

When you first enter the old city, a totally different sight envelops you. On the outside, you have the typical Romanian capital: a mass of people in a concrete jungle with cars honking everywhere. It’s not that bad, but at the same time, you need to breathe once in a while. Once you enter the old city, you are welcomed by old buildings that sent you back hundreds of years in the past. A certain smell envelops you and draws you further in the Old City. As you walk in, hostesses smile at you and try to convince you to enter their restaurant or pub. You walk further in, more hostesses try to draw your in. However, choosing one restaurant is not easy. The selection is so wide, if this is your first time in the Old City, you will either have a very hard time choosing only one pub or you will go from pub to pub for the whole night!

The Old City in Bucharest is known more for the fun it provides and not for the architecture however. There are lots of things to do here, even if you are not the drinking type. There are restaurants, clubs for all types and many more. The Romanian people are very outgoing, so if you ever happen to find yourself in the Old City, you are guaranteed to have a good time!

In terms of prices, when compared to the prices of other major cities in Europe, Bucharest is actually pretty cheap and the Old City is no different. You can enjoy dinner and several drinks for much less than you would in, say, London, Paris, Berlin or any of the Scandinavian cities. This is a major advantage of the Old City and one which you will certainly enjoy.

In terms of pubs, restaurants or coffee shops that you can find in the Old Town, here are some examples:

  1. Grand Café Van Gogh

As the name suggests, this coffee shop focuses on style, elegance and on providing high quality service to all customers. If you want to amaze your friends and enjoy your coffee in a marvelous coffee shop, try Grand Café Van Gogh. You won’t be disappointed!

  1. Mojo

Mojo is the place to be when it comes to music or sport. The place is built on three stories, the top one focusing on karaoke and the ground one focusing on football and sports matches and packed with all the necessary equipment so you can enjoy a football match as if you were right there on the stadium!

  1. Rembrandt

This is another great place for those who want to be amazed by the architecture and the 1920s like interior. The Rembrandt hotel, coupled with the coffee shop across from it, was renovated with one thought in mind: to keep all the pieces and build on them, not demolish them. The hotel is truly a representation of the old times of Bucharest set in, not surprising, the Old Town.

  1. Corks Cozy Bar

Wine. This is exactly what you need to know about this bar. It offers a great range of wines for all tastes and the atmosphere is a nice and cozy one, as the name suggests. They also offer great snacks if you are feeling hungry. This is a great place to have a drink with a couple of friends before going out to visit the Romanian capital.

  1. Gilda

Transformed from an old theater into a new restaurant / club, Gilda seems to have reborn from its ashes, like a Phoenix bird. Years back, this was a theater known to many as Muse. Now, it is a place with great music, a live DJ and food worthy of a restaurant. It is advertised as a place where you can both spend the day, relaxing and tasting the most wonderful dishes of Romania, as well as the night, where you can enjoy great music and a spot to dance in.

The Old Town of Bucharest is a mix of places that offer everything you need to spend a great day or night. The pubs, restaurants and hotels are there to satisfy all tastes and you will definitely find the perfect spot to have fun, regardless whether you have refined tastes or whether you’re just out to have a good time in the Romanian capital.

Image Credit: Eu Aleg Romania

Absintherie Sixtina

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Sixtina Absintherie is one of the coolest bars for those who want to drink absinthe and want to have fun in an alternative environment. The bar is located in Bucharest’s historical centre in Piata Unirii. You will find it at the top floor of a beautiful old building on Covaci Street. If you want something truly special, this is where you should hang out during your trip to Bucharest.

The bar stands out among others in the area through its simple and tasteful decor; the rooms boast a very high ceiling along with expansive windows. The whole design is neo-classic with belle époque elements. It is a wonderfully designed place and offers quite a unique atmosphere.

Regularly the bar has various themed fairs where Romanian artists show off their talents through their wares and art. The fairs are held at night and usually have Goth, cyberpunk, Steampunk and alternative influences, so those who want a unique piece of art should check this bar out. There are other types of events that you can go to like book launching events, book exchange events or other meetings.

Inside you will find comfortable couches and vintage chairs to relax on.  There’s another section of the bar which consists in a little terrace. If the weather is fine, you can choose to be seated there, but make sure you make a reservation because there’s only one table available. This can make for a perfect spot if you are looking for an intimate place to bring your date.

You can drink a wide variety of drinks, but obviously, their speciality is absinthe. There are numerous types of absinthe cocktails as well as a great selection of beers, for those who want something milder.  If you are not an alcohol drinker you will certainly appreciate the plethora of aromatic teas and the selection of soft drinks that Sixtina Absintherie offers.

You will find a relaxed atmosphere and very friendly staff. The music is definitely for Goth, industrial, EBM lovers so if you are not part of the scene, you should skip this one. However, if you are a fan, this is definitely your place to hang out and meet a lot of interesting people such as musicians, artists, etc. The bar can be easily accessed either with public transport such as metro (Unirii Station) or with a cab. The surrounding area also has a lot of restaurants and clubs if you feel like exploring.

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