Remember the psychedelic black-and-white Milk Bar from A Clockwork Orange? The one that serves several varieties of milk, and nothing else?
Well, it's real. Sort of.
The milk bar (bar mleczny) does exist, but I've never seen any actual glasses of milk at one, let alone a table in the shape of a woman. The milk bar is essentially a cafeteria selling really decent polish food at really decent prices. They're usually poorly decorated and there is always, without fail, an aproned woman behind the counter, holding a soup ladle.
My personal favorite items are the most basic things on the menu: pierogi ruskie, or "russian" pirogi, which are filled with delicious potato and cheese; naleśniki z serem, or cheese-filled crepes, which can be sweet or savory; and placki ziemniaczane, potato pancakes. I also love the barszcz z krokietem (borscht with a croquette), in particular because it's usually considered an appetizer, not a full meal, and thus rarely costs more than about a dollar fifty. Beautiful.
The milk bar pictured above is located in the Nowa Huta district of Krakow, a city built as a "worker's paradise" in 1949/50 for the workers at the new steel mill outside town. This milk bar sits in Plac Centralny, or Central Square, which, in 1984, was renamed in honor of Ronald Reagan.
This infatuation with Ronald Reagan is not going to make it into this series of posts on things I love about Poland, I think. Sorry, Ron.