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Comparing London and Warsaw? Does anyone know both cities who could help?

Cat 1 | 2
17 Jun 2013 #1
Hi, I just came across this forum while researching a trip to Warsaw for an article I'm writing.

I am trying to compare areas of Warsaw to London and wonder if anyone can help. I am comparing the "feel" of the areas rather than the aesthetics. For instance the Soho comparison would be the most touristy area with lots of clubs and restaurants etc - Śródmieście perhaps. And Shoreditch would be somewhere that used to be gritty but now trendy with good nightlife - Praga perhaps (found online)?

I know there are not going to be direct comparisons and it might sometimes be only a few streets that are relevant but if anyone can help this is the list I am trying to compare for the areas I'd like to visit in Warsaw

Mayfair (posh, expensive)
Notting Hill (cafe culture, quaint, arty)
Shoreditch (trendy, nightlife)
Soho / West End (touristy, restaurants, clubs, gay area)
Camden (grungy, life music, markes)
Hackney (gritty, alternative, arty)
Hampstead (beautiful, sleepy, historic)
Islington (cafe culture, bars, buzzy)
Chelsea (posh, cultural, high end restaurants)

Many thanks in advance,

jon357 74 | 21,980
17 Jun 2013 #2
Śródmieście is the term for the whole of downtown - rather like Westminster and the City together. Praga is the name for most of the eastern side of town - it covers a lot of different districts.

It isn't easy to make comparisons - Warsaw is a fraction of the size of London and many of the commuter areas aren't considered Warsaw. There's certainly no Soho.

I would say though that Stary Zoliborz has a bit of Hampstead about it, the good bit of Saska Kępa is a little Holland Park/Notting Hill. Stara Ochota (the Kolonia Staszica bit) is South Ken, Ursynów is wherever bourgeois and liberal graduate couples on their second job live nowadays - perhaps Canonbury, Bemowo is pure Romford, Wola is Lewisham or Brixton with a bit of Streatham thrown in, Tarchomin is a bit of Croydon or Hounslow, and the part of town where the old ghetto meets Wola is turning into a bit of a small-scale Clerkenwell or Shoreditch.

Comparisons can never be exact though - huge post-war housing schemes (and not that much there before the war - very large swathes of Warsaw were farmland until the 60s or 70s and have a New Town feel) low apartment prices, disproportionately high prices for whole houses and far fewer people wanting to live here make any comparison between Warsaw and a more established city quite hard.
OP Cat 1 | 2
18 Jun 2013 #3
Hi Jon,

Thanks so much for your help. I know it's not easy to compare when the cities are so different in size but you've given me some really useful starting points.

Would you say there are any streets in particular with the Camden grungy feel where pubs play life music? Maybe where heavy metal types hang out?

All the best,
jon357 74 | 21,980
19 Jun 2013 #4
There are biker bars (an especially hardcore one at the back of Zachodnia (Western) station and one (maybe gone now) under a bridge pier by Saska Kępa though neither of those reflects the area they're in. One part of Stara Praga has some trendy clubs but I wouldn't call them grungy, and most of the music is from DJs.

There used to be a complex of fairly grungy bars (aimed at students but not only) in Powisle (again not reflecting the area) but that was closed down a while ago. There was plenty of live music. The bars in the old fort of ul. Raclawicka (in an area of nice houses and office parks) are a good bet, plus the pop up summer bar at Powisle Station (DJ music) is worth looking at. As is China Town (the pavilions behind Nowy Swiat 20) in the main shopping/entertainment district. Some of those very small bars, all packed into the remains of a 60s shopping precinct have a grungy feel. Not heavy metal though - such bands tend to play at more established venues like Stodola or Park.

One issue in Warsaw is that the nature of the built environment means that most bars etc are never more than a few yards from someone's bedroom window - hence most of the places I just mentioned being under bridge piers, behind stations or in old forts etc - to avoid noise complaints. This discourages a street of loud and late bars from emerging.

Worth mentioning that here in Warsaw, the rich are richer, the poor are poorer (grungy people drink at home) and the people in the middle are tight with money. A bit of a generalisation, but a lot of truth in it and this affects people's expenditure on entertainment.
OP Cat 1 | 2
19 Jun 2013 #5
Hi Jon, thanks so much for the extra pointers. Incredibly useful to have your inside knowledge. Seems like I've opened a bit of a can of worms here, interesting to hear the social commentary though :)
pawian 222 | 24,343
22 Dec 2020 #6
Hm, I have an impression British cities are too grey and depressing. On the other hand, Polish cities can be too colourful and dazzling.
Yet, if I had to choose, I would opt for vivid colours.
rtfm 1 | 62
23 Dec 2020 #7
London is a f*king expensive dirty crime ridden shthole (all of it). I just don't get why people bother to visit, there's much nicer places in Uk to see where you won't get blown up/run over/stabbed/robbed/shot/over charged for everything.

Warsaw doesn't actually feel Polish to me but that's because of the architecture, shops etc. rather than lack of polish people. To me its more like Western Europe and has lost some of its Polish feel.

Warsaw is miles nicer than London (cleaner, less people) imo but then I'm not a fan of cities anyway so i wouldn't live in either.
Novichok 4 | 7,807
23 Dec 2020 #8
Warsaw is miles nicer than London (cleaner, less people)

Dancing....It's not the headcount. It's that London has too many useless non-white foreigners the Brits were never asked by their ruling mafia if it's OK for said foreign waste to come and never leave.
rtfm 1 | 62
23 Dec 2020 #9
Yes, waste isn't far off. People that contribute nothing and take everything and don't want to integrate

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