As the legendary BioBazar prepares to temporarily move to pastures new, we take a parting look at this local hero…
I wouldn’t normally drink under a tarpaulin, but there’s something magical about seeing in dusk at Alterwina. Redolent of one of Budapest’s ‘ruin bars’, there’s an ad hoc, accidental charm to it all; with the evening sky streaked with crimson slashes, and the last sunlight sloping weakly down, there’s no better time to enjoy a crisp Chardonnay. But where to find this diamond in the rough? BioBazar, of course.
Created in 2010, the BioBazar preempted Warsaw’s love of farmers’ markets and sparked a citywide trend that shows no sign of slowing. Though the copycats that have followed have been copious in number, none match the original in either size or scope. From humble beginnings when 30 traders were persuaded to set up stalls within its confines, BB has grown to house over 110 vendors and a number of assorted distractions: a shipping container converted into a cult photo gallery, culinary workshops, a vegan bistro and a pungent pop-up coffee store that crowds with yummy mummys. “Good coffee,” asserts the sign on the door, “is a human right.” Quite. All dust and wobbles and easy conversation, you could linger for hours, and indeed, many choose to do that.
But let’s not muck about here: as welcome as all the extras are, the chief inducement is a market, that, as the name might suggest, shines a light on ecologically certified goods and produce. Fresh fish, cheese, eggs, bread, cured sausages, honey… on it goes. Comprehensive in its pitch, everything you need to pursue a bright, happy life is here on this spot. Adding a pinch of fairy dust to the experience is a location in the skeletal carcass of the 19th century Norblin factory. Left abandoned in the 80s, the drafty halls and potholed surfaces add to the raw, gritty atmosphere: muddy crates of farm fresh veg and brightly colored jams and preserves rub shoulders next to random bits of leftover machinery. Eccentric and highly personal, it’s a lively tangle of sights and sounds and olfactory sensations. Rightly hailed as a local institution, it’s a place that celebrates the right way to live.
“… the chief inducement is a market, that, as the name might suggest,
shines a light on ecologically certified goods and produce”
Now though, you’re in the last chance saloon to enjoy it in its current format. With Norblin earmarked for a substantial redevelopment, the BioBazar will function at its current address till mid-November, after which it’ll temporarily move to ul. Wołoska 3 (official launch: Nov 25th). While it’ll return to its spiritual home in approximately three years time, the chance to catch it in its existing framework should not to be missed. (AW)
For more photos of BioBazar click here