When traveling to Cluj Napoca I tried desperately to find out more information on local places with little success. One big thing that I wanted to know was, which bars deserved my precious time on such a short trip; to make the most of every hour.
Today I’m going to write a review for you, rating the best bars that, in my opinion, were worth a visit.
So, here we go.
My list of places I deemed the best in Cluj.
My hands down favorite bar in the whole of this city had to be Sax; and would you really expect anything else?
A mysterious location, an entry approval via password, a fantastic prohibition themed speakeasy, fantastic local wine, great cheeses, and a luxury that will make you feel like you really are the cream of the crop. I cannot tell you enough times how good this place is to really make you understand without a visit yourself; this establishment will forever hold a special place in my heart, and if you’re into a mini scavenger hunt to find it then this is the place for you. Put your best clothing on and get yourself down to Sax, but don’t forget to email them for the password and directions or you’ll maybe never have the pleasure of finding it. Go to my main page to read a full review and see more pictures of the marvelous location that is Sax.
Next up we have Charlie’s; a modern, classy, cocktail bar that will leave you wanting more. Decorated appropriately throughout with Charlie Chaplin decor it feels like you’re taking a small dance back in time with its jazzy music, mahogany bar, and a selection of alcohol that will have you pushed to make a decision without a little help from the incredibly knowledgeable and skilled bartenders.
From beer, to gin, to whiskey, to rum, to wine, to basically anything you can think of; Charlie’s has it all. Including their own specialized cocktails, and a few favorites you’ll recognize from times gone by. This place is worth a look, and a nightcap if you’re in the area. I also loved the quote from ‘Charlie’ at the beginning of the menu; take a look and see for yourself.
3. The Soviet
Just a short hop around the corner from Charlie’s will have you upon the steps of a bar called The Soviet. Like Charlie’s it boasts an excellent selection of cocktails with a Russian twist; that twist being alcohol, and lots of it. There are so many to choose from, and the names are quirky if you’d like to find yourself sipping on a ‘Chernobyl’ or maybe a little ‘sex on the Tundra’ is more your style. It’s unique, and decorated in a way that I can only describe by telling you the same thing that the bartender told me ‘welcome to Mother Russia, take a seat’. However, make sure you’ve had a meal if you plan to drink at this fun establishment; the people are great and the cocktails are anything but weak. After one each my husband and I felt on the merry side to say the least, but why stop there? Why not try the Stalingrad; a cocktail that the bar staff warned would ‘get you fu#*ed up’ as I believe they said the Stalingrad held 7 different types of alcohol, which can only be a liver fracture coming your way. All in all I’d highly recommend this place for a good time. The service is everything you could want and more as they cater to your needs in a friendly and timely manner. There’s also a sign on the wall that quotes ‘I hear voices in my head, but they speak Russian’ and I’m sure after a Stalingrad, or a couple of their fine cocktails, that may well be true, but I’ll leave you to find out for yourself…
4. Klausen Pub.
If cocktails are not for you then step outside, and right across from the Soviet you will find the Klausen pub. A cozy traditional style pub with beer glasses as big as your head. This place is pretty big, and you can find yourself a table, a hightop, or even a comfy sofa next to a beautiful fireplace. On a nighttime it gets pretty busy but in no way is it overwhelming; id say that if you’d like to feel like part of the local community and meet some good people for a chat, in a not too loud environment, then this is the place for you. They also have a food menu, and although I didn’t eat there I did see some of the dishes, and they looked delicious. If you’d prefer to not sit inside then why not try their beer garden? There’s something for everyone at the Klausen, and as one of the cheapest places we went for local beer I’d say that it’s most definitely a win. Lovely staff, lovely service, and you won’t be waiting long for your next drink. Unfortunately I had so much fun here that I didn’t even get a picture as it was too dark every time.
Another recommendation for a good time is Jaxx. Don’t be put off by its American style, because you won’t want to miss out on this great little place. If you find yourself here, stood at the counter looking at that car above the bar cut in half, I’d recommend asking for Silvio (forgive me if I spelt the name wrong, as I never did get the spelling) a fantastic waiter who served us during our visit. He was friendly, funny, and knew all about the local scene. They sell beer brewed by a local microbrewery just out of the city, and Silvio did a great job at recommending them all to us. I particularly enjoyed the IPA, but of course I’m always an IPA girl when the time is right. The food is also great; fried and delicious like any bar food you’d ever want to line the stomach for a good time. I can’t tell you how they cooked their fries, but I can tell you that they are like something you’d find at a traditional fish and chip shop back in England, or even like your Mother would make. Whilst they may not boast cocktails or fancy drinks, they do have everything you could need for a great night; including good music and a quirky American atmosphere that somehow feels homely. Did I mention great fried bar food?
6. The Joben bistro
If you’re into steampunk and didn’t read my review on Engima then head on over to Joben. While I only tried an Irish coffee here, I did enjoy their quirky style. Take a trip just to see the inside if nothing else, and if you go to eat then make sure it’s after 5pm, which is when their kitchen starts serving. I wish I had more to tell you about this place, but my time was short and the Irish coffee over too soon on my quick trip. I think this place deserves a visit just for sheer amazement; the steampunk is alive, and it is real. Plus it’s a nice pit stop to enjoy a cocktail or drink along the way. Believe me when I say it’s a great time accompanied by great service, which is really all you need!
And with that I end my review on my favorite recommendations for the city that is Cluj Napoca.
I hope you liked my top 6, and I’d love to hear if you visit any of them in the near future.
Until next time,