Originally opened in 1895 by Jan Michalik, this cave (also known as Jama Michalik) is one of the most famous cafes in Poland. Referred to as a cave because of the lack of windows, it has looked very much the same for the last hundred years and is one of Krakow’s best examples of art nouveau décor. The eclectic interior is a result of Michalik’s policy prior to World War I to accept payment in kind from his customers, many of whom were artists who chose to pay with their art work. The café is also known as the birthplace of the Young Poland artistic movement and the Zielony Balonik (Green Balloon) cabaret, which became a model for other literary cabarets throughout Poland.
For decades a popular haunt of Polish artists, politicians and professors from the nearby Jagiellion University, Michalik’s Cave continues to be frequented by popular writers, artists and academics today. It is also quite popular with tourists, many of whom come in groups for dinner and a folklore show. In addition to serving traditional Polish cuisine, the café is known for its excellent selection of cakes, ice cream, and traditional Polish alcoholic drinks made from honey.