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As a music venue, Stodola is rather interesting in a number of ways. Its origins date back to the fifties when students at the Warsaw Polytechnic started up a music and cabaret club in the wooden hut that housed workers building the Palace of Culture and Science. In early years the focus was on jazz and theatre.
Stodola (whose name comes from the Polish for ‘barn’) changed location several times before ending up at its current site in 1972. Built by students, the large establishment is a centrally located and exceptionally well-designed facility for live music, and one of the most popular venues in Warsaw.
The cheerfully painted blue and orange exterior yields to a spacious hallway whose steps are often used for staging performances. Beyond is a large, very reasonably priced bar, and then there is the main auditorium with a full-sized stage and a maximum capacity of 1200 people. Above, on the first floor is another bar that mirrors the design of its counterpart below and which gives a bird’s-eye view of the entrance hall and patio below. Between the first floor bar and the banqueting hall available for private functions is another large space that operates as a secondary disco area. In summer, the substantial and leafy patio is a popular spot to sit outside and chill.
For cynics, one of the wonders of Stodola is how well-run, clean and just all-round pleasant an establishment run by students can be. Its place in post-war Polish music history is guaranteed by virtue of all the greats of Polish jazz who have made their spiritual home there, and today it continues that role in showcasing the very best in Polish and international music.