The beginning of cooperation of the Restaurant Bar Przystań owners is associated with the year 1991, when they met and began running a shared business activity. It was a year of great changes in Poland, both political and economic.
In the spring of 1992, they rented a modest economic building of the former Fish Centre, with a purpose of running a small catering pub, which was to run only in the summer.
Both men had no idea how to name the place, and since in the previous summer season the building was called Wirus, they changed one of the letters, and thus the name WIBUS was formed.
Preparation of the building took a lot of work. However, youth and will overcame all obstacles and this is how the premises were prepared with their own hands. At first, sales included only soft drinks, candies and pizza. The homemade pizza on thick, yeast dough was baked in a furnace of their own design and production. Customers really liked its taste; however more and more people suggested that they would like to eat freshly prepared FISH, bought from fishermen “next door”.
The first fish were fried on a regular frying pan taken from their home, on a gas cylinder, such as people usually take on a camp. Soon, however, the capacity of this pan became insufficient and a used fryer, in which six flounders were fried at one time, was bought. From the very beginning, the owners have paid much attention to freshness of fish and oil in which they were fried. They worked out their own blend of spices and herbs, which was used to richly season fish to make its flavour was unique.
After several weeks, the owners noted that customers preferred to buy fish, rather than pizza. This is how they decided to change the leading assortment of dishes. Fish became a specialty of the bar on the fishing harbor.
This place was amazing. However, it was only associated with the favourite place of local drunks and an unpleasant smell, and seemed to be forgotten by Sopot.
Nevertheless, the location was so unique – on the beach, on the banks of the waters of the Gulf of Gdansk, next to the Sopot “fishing harbour” – it gave… hope for the company’s development, the future Restaurant Bar Przystań.
Season ’92 was successful for both partners and they decided to continue their activity in the following year. They even had greater enthusiasm for work, new ideas which they implemented in the summer season of ’93. The former logo of the Fish Centre was substituted with the logo of the Restaurant BAR PRZYSTAŃ with a characteristic light blue passing wave.
This season contributed to further development of fish processing methods and new machines were bought. The Bar’s specialties were simple, but very tasty, because they were fresh, served nicely and simple. Many customers remember a delicious salad made from fresh cabbage to this day.
The Restaurant Bar Przystań began gaining more and more enthusiasts and fish lovers. It became a haven for locals and tourists. The “Garden for Clients” with newly planted flowers was already bustling and cheerful. Favorite music of customers were the hits of A-HA and Depeche Mode.
When sitting in that garden and enjoying the taste of fish and the view of the sea, it was easy to notice the ugly public chalet building, which was next door. It irritated both clients and the owners of the Restaurant Bar Przystań. It had been closed for many years, not renovated, smelly. Once it served sunbathers, but after that its design was scary. Then, one of the owners came up with an… idea. The idea seemed crazy, but he wanted to take advantage of that building.
When in the summer of 1993, a well-known Sopot architect Bruno Wandtke entered the Restaurant Bar Przystań, the owners showed him their plan. From the very beginning, Mr. Bruno was full of admiration for the perseverance and the consequences of both men’s actions. Because they were stubborn, an idea was formed from their dreams – an idea to change the building into a fish bar with panoramic terraces facing the sea. The architect made a design of an unusual bar, reflecting the already known historical buildings of Sopot, such as the Southern Baths in Sopot.
When in November 1993, the Municipality announced a tender to get rid of the unwanted building – the public chalet – the tender bid made by the partners and the previously prepared project by Mr. Bruno, became a fact of winning.
What happened after winning the tender!?
The business environment made fun of the two men who bought ,,a pig in a poke”. Everybody said they could not cope with the building because they did not have enough imagination to adapt it in any possible way!
But the great strength of will, desperation, fortitude and a dream contributed to the fact that immediately after winning the tender, the gentlemen started working on the place. There was a very cold winter, and inside the unheated building, the partners started hard, physical work. At first, they made everything themselves. It was not until spring, when they started masonry and carpentry works and began to hire subcontractors. Bricklayers, steel engineers, carpenters, and roofers had to hurry, because the goal of both men was to open the new bar in the season of ’94. Someone would say that it was not possible, but… After seven months of hard and intensive work, a new Restaurant Bar Przystań was opened. This was precisely on the 22 July 1994.
According to a traditional style, the new facility was equipped with a tall, “red” roof with a turret and a large veranda facing the sea. The old chalet has ceased to haunt with its appearance. It was completely rebuilt and served as a base of the Restaurant Bar Przystań to which new cubic capacity was added. The building success was so great that the aforementioned mockers – businesspersons began to envy the two men.
The appearance of the Restaurant Bar Przystań on the gastronomic map of Sopot became a real event in the years 1994 -1995. A brief season of ’94 compensated for the incurred costs to build the place to a small extent, but it gave great satisfaction that impossible is possible!
The Restaurant Bar Przystań became a year-round restaurant, much to the delight of the residents and guests of the Tri-City. Pizza baking lasted until the end of ’94, then, due to a long time of pizza preparation and little interest it was no longer served. The Restaurant completely changed over to fish frying and baking. A special oven, in which they were fried, was bought. Thanks to the oven, fish were not burned anymore; they were golden, brown and well done. Even then, vegetable oil used to fry fish was filtered. The first long queues for fish were not evidence of a lack of preparation of the staff, but of great interest of customers in tasty fish. Limited processing capacities of fish, as well as employment of staff are due to an insufficient (as necessary) capacity of a building, with which the two men have been struggling to this day. As a rule, they do not to fry fish “for storing”. Fish cannot wait for a customer – a customer must wait for fish. The time of waiting for food will be definitely compensated by the taste of a hot, crispy fish taken straight from the oven.
Over the years, the Restaurant Bar Przystań has been constantly expanding. There is always something new being created. There are extensive terraces with windows to protect from the wind. The Bar Przystań Cafe has been opened (which is located exactly in the same place where they started their activity – the Bar Wibus). The Cafe is connected to the Bar Przystań with a so-called connector, joining these two buildings together. In the summer period, to speed up customer service, sale of baked fish and delicatessen are run on the lower terrace. What is more, drinks and ice cream are sold there. The upper terrace has a small Bar Przystań WIDOK. Customers can also buy there soft drinks and ice cream, and enjoy the view of the sea, which cannot be forgotten.
A hit in 2001 was baking of fish in the oven using a completely fat-free method. This is possible thanks to a special pressure oven, which dispenses moisture and air temperature on its own. Fish baked in such a way do not lose their nutritional values, and since they do not “float” in fat, they are not soaked in extra calories. This is a dietetic hit!
Works on the attractiveness of the interior are still being conducted to make customers feel better. The area around the bar has been developed, the sand dunes. The fountain of Neptune – the king of the seas – has been built and a new entrance to the upper consumption terrace has been added. It offers a unique view on the Gulf of Gdansk.
In the immediate vicinity of the restaurant, a fishing shrine “Oh happy return” was founded in 1999 on the initiative of the architect Bruno Wandtke, who was its designer. According to Priest Archbishop Tadeusz Gocłowski, it is the most beautiful shrine on the Polish coast. The appearance of the fishing pier has also changed which was rebuilt and modernized in 2007.
Despite the relatively distant location – the Restaurant Bar Przystań is ”bursting at the seams”. A relative ease of access by car, many residents and vacationers walking outside, perfection of fish dishes with the Bar’s specialty – Fisherman’s soup – makes the Restaurant a great place for customers, whose number is rising. The kitchen facilities and the cooling system have been recently modernized. The system for receiving orders and their implementation has been changed as well. New meals and a new management system have been introduced.
Numerous newspaper articles about the Restaurant Bar Przystań written in a rather positive context are a reward for the effort and hard work. The local authorities have also noticed the Restaurant; this is why the jubilee celebrations of the 100th anniversary of the city of Sopot were started on 9 March 2001 with a live broadcast of “Kawa czy Herbata” TV program from the Restaurant Bar Przystań.
Clients can enjoy an amazing panoramic view from the Orłowski Cliff, through the Sopot pier with the marina to the pier of Gdańsk and further to the Port of Gdańsk. When the visibility is good, you can see Hel and the Hel Peninsula. In the evening, you can admire unique and romantic sunrises and the sky flowered with stars. The stars are even more apparent at the seaside.
White fleet ships, passenger ferries, merchant ships, numerous sailboats and windsurfing boats entering the port, and performances of winter swimming enthusiasts – all this is visible from the windows and terraces of the Bar Przystań.
Moreover, a great attraction is to observe the work of Sopot fishermen, the moment of their return from fisheries and drying of nets. Standing with our back towards the Bar Przystań, on the left side we can see the Sopot pier and on the right side the Gdańsk – Zaspa pier.
When you are in the Bar Przystań, be sure to see the 300-gallon aquarium with aquarium fish. Observation of life in the water makes us relax and rest, and it is an interesting lesson for the youngest ones.
For those, who wish to return to the achievements of civilization, there is a TV corner, where you can watch TV on a huge 60-inch screen. We offer a package of CYFRA + (information, sports and entertainment programs).
The interiors of the property have a sea-fishing atmosphere. The leading elements of design are fishing nets and sailing paintings hung on the walls and the ceiling. Original navigation lights: red and green, which are a part of the design, pointed out the direction and path of return to many fishermen. Fishing exhibits, such as floats – glass balls, nets, ropes, anchors, oil lamps from the early 20th century, an original lifebelt, shells, dried fish, and teeth of a sawfish – they all have their own history. They provide the interiors of the restaurant with a unique atmosphere.
The restored consumption hall is characterized by homogeneity with the Bar Przystań Cafe, and the lighthouse, which is a part of the decor, may be a signpost for all guests visiting the Bar Przystań.
Who was the architect of the Bar Przystań?
MSc, Eng., Arch. Bruno WANDTKE
ARCHITECT – CREATOR entitled by the Ministry of Culture and Art, No. 827 dated 16/01/86
EXPERT of the Polish Society of Town Planners No. 315/86
He was born on the 22nd of April 1936 in Sopot, in a family of a Polish railway worker. In 1962, he graduated from the Faculty of Architecture at the University of Technology in Gdańsk. The thesis of his paper was a study of the downtown area of Sopot with ideas to restore historical buildings. After graduation, he went to the Municipal, and then Regional Urban Office in Gdańsk. He specialized in planning tourist and recreation functions and restoration of historical structures. He won numerous first prizes in national architectural and urban contests and high ministerial awards for outstanding professional work.
When designing plans for the complex of Raduńskie Lakes and Wdzydzkie Lakes, he made a plan of the open-air ethnographic museum in Poland – the Kashubian Ethnographic Park in Wdzydze Kiszewskie – which was being created at that time.
He was the principal architect of the Seaside Landscape Park. The Ministry of Environmental Protection gave him a gold medal for caring for the environment and coastal landscape.
He loved Sopoćkowo (as he called his hometown) so much that he abandoned his career as an architect “in the West”. He always returned from his trips and foreign orders (among others in Vietnam and Algeria) to his hometown to defend its character against temptations of power and human oblivion.
His passion was – among others – collecting old postcards and documents about Sopot. He thought that the beautiful architecture of the city was perfectly presented on them. People of Sopot knew him due to his numerous publications on the history of the city, mainly in Dziennik Bałtycki and Gazeta Wyborcza. He was also the author of several books and albums about the old Sopot.
In 1993, he designed the Restaurant Bar Przystań on a site of a former public chalet. It was opened in July 1994. Over the next years, the Restaurant Bar Przystań developed in collaboration with the architect and valuable tips and advice of the architect were considered very important.
The architect always dealt with creative work. His biggest dream was to rebuild the pier Spa House to make it the way he remembered it before it was burned by the Soviet Army during the liberation of Sopot in 1945. He waited for the realization of interesting buildings and development of the promontory of Sopot pier, because in 1996 he won a national competition for this investment. One of his dreams came true as in February 2001, the Museum of the City of Sopot was opened, where relics and documents of the region are exhibited. Some of them are gifts of Mr. Bruno.
Bruno Wandtke was the first one to suggest the idea of building a tunnel under Monte Cassino Street. Unfortunately, the authorities of the city realized the project contrary to his idea. He believed that the current tunnel was too small and would hinder drive of high buses.
Unfortunately, the fight for the Cistercian Mill ended up in its demolition. Nevertheless, he never gave up, constantly creating new projects. He had dozens of ideas. Another dream of the architect was a construction of a marina – a yacht port with a breakwater and a cutting leading to the swampy areas of the North Park – on the coastal area of the city. It was a very different project than the ones implemented at that time at the pier.
When a ranking was announced on the initiative of Gazeta Morska, the City of Sopot and Radio Trefl – and the prize was an honourable title of “The Sopot Citizen of the Century” – Bruno Wandtke came up second after Jan Jerzy Haffner – known as the Father of Sopot.
The readers of Gazeta Morska awarded Bruno Wandtke with a title of ”The most popular Living Citizen of Sopot of the Century “. The city authorities gave him a diploma and a medal on the 100th anniversary of Sopot.
He never forgot about fisherman in Sopot. He believed that they are an integral part of the city, and therefore he continued his struggle to bring them humane working conditions. Mr. Bruno designed the fountain of Johnny the Fisherman, located in Monte Cassino Street. Unfortunately, by the decision of the city authorities, the fountain was removed when Plac Przyjaciół Sopotu was reconstructed. The architect never came to terms with this decision!
The unique chapel “Oh Happy Return” at the fishermen’s harbour is a reminder of the stay of Pope John Paul II in Sopot in 1999. Bruno Wandtke is the author of the project. After the implementation of the project in 2000, the chapel was a place, which he visited particularly often. He said that there was some secret power in that chapel that allowed him to find answers to questions about his life.
After many years of active work as an architect, he retired, but still designed in the comfort of his home studio. He always said that he could not live without drawing. It is important that he always found great satisfaction and joy in it.
Unfortunately, his health limited his creativity more and more. He struggled with serious diseases for many years. He endured his suffering with dignity and did not complain about anything. He was always smiled and he had confidence and faith in people.
Architect Bruno Wandtke died in Sopot Hospice of St. Joseph on 21 December 2010. The urn containing his ashes was entombed on 29 December 2010, in the family grave at the Municipal Cemetery in Sopot.
For all those years of cooperation, we were close friends. Bruno was not only an architect for us. He was a man who was extremely good and humble. He had a great talent and sensitivity, great architectural talent. He was always honest and sincere. And for Sopot? As people say – “he had a large and good heart” for his city and its inhabitants.
Thank you, Friend, Teacher… for everything.
You understood the world with your heart, thank you, that we could be your friends.
MAY YOU REST IN PEACE.
The Chapel ”Oh Happy Return”
June, warm dusk falls over the marina,
Far above the horizon the aurora is still glowing,
Colours purple water, catches the eyes of people,
The screaming of an occasionally awakened gull cuts through the silence.
Fishermen are getting ready, it’s time to go to the sea
They push the boats, engines can be heard
The weather is in their favour, no leaf dares tremble
Empty boxes in the cargo are waiting for some fish.
In the middle of the harbour, where hard work is done
There is a small chapel with flowers all around
Next to it there is a maple, which bends its trunk in storms
Among the different flowers there is a flower of rose.
Long is the anchor chain, which was stuck in different sands
Which still has salt on it, which covers it everywhere
It used to beat with its iron, as it was a kind of a drum
Today its situated near the chapel as it was a needles one.
Mighty pine logs buried in the beach sands
Are covered with some wood, which is very dry
They are tied in a clever manner – creating a beautiful roof
Who is often home to birds that sit on it in a row.
Under the roof, in a small niche, there is a sweet scent of flowers
A modest figure hides his face with his hand
It is Christ as the Man of Sorrows, who sweeps the depths with his sight
The Son of God among the fishermen, the fisherman, he is ours.
He watches day and night, if silence is, if wind
If the heat of the sun beats down and sweat pours into eyes
If freezes from the north, if blows the wind from the Tatras
What Baltic sways and a threatening wave creates.
He watches too, when a viscous fog covers the sea
What the world squeezes with its veil, obscures the vision
He watches too when the breeze weeps in ropes
And in the time of the morning dawn, and in time when dusk approaches.
O Jesus the Indefatigable, you count the row of boats
So each is still there, no helm will burst no more
So each of these fishermen could return to the land
You watch the elements of nature, they will not eat these men
Warm, June twilight rises above the harbour
A line of boats is returning from the horizon,
In the calm water surface the splendour of the dawn is reflected
And a new day gets up with the crowing of the cock.
These boats are already here, the decks are full of fish
The Christ full of Sorrows is looking far away,
The winches are working hard, the gears are very loud
Sweat sticks the hair of fishermen, so Christ fells little grief.
The rays of the sun are heating, the roof of the shrine is shining
The last engine is silent, when it played some music not long ago
All the boats are home, people fear no more
Because Jesus provided “Oh Happy Return to all”
Fisherman from Sopot
The fishermen at the fishing harbor in Sopot are neighbours of The Restaurant Bar Przystań. We buy fish from them, admire their hard work and great courage. Therefore, we decided to write a few words about them…
The first mention of the fact that Sopot was a fishing village dates back to the 13th century. Archaeological discoveries in the early medieval settlement, situated north of the city in Haffner Street, are also a piece of evidence. Numerous animal bones and a large quantity of fish remains indicate that fishery and cattle breed played an important role in the economy of the inhabitants of the town. It is interesting that apart from numerous fish bones, people encountered bones of seals that lived in the waters of the Gulf of Gdańsk long time ago.
In the 18th century, there was a fishing village at the exit of today’s Monte Cassino Street (now – Plac Przyjaciół Sopotu). It was connected with the Upper Sopot with a narrow path crossing wet meadows. In 1734, the fishing cottages and stately residencies in the upper part of the city were burned down. After reconstruction, the old planning system was not brought back. Appreciating the coastal areas and their attractiveness it was decided that fishermen had to be moved in the direction of the current Ogrodowa and Parkowa Streets. This happened in the 30’s of the 18th century. After 1914, Sopot fishermen were pushed even further, to the mouth of the Karlikowski Stream.
Thus, throughout the history of Sopot, there were several fishing harbours in the city, but the one on the Karlikowski shore, though the youngest; it is a continuation of the earlier ones.
It is a phenomenon, a marina, which has “lived” continuously since the 13th century to the present day! A small number of fishermen in Sopot, against all odds, have survived to this day living at the seaside. There are few of them – five crews. They are silent and nearly invisible, because they sail out very early in the morning, often under the cover of the night. Then, at the harbour, you can see some bustling characters, which are rather like ghosts from nowhere. They never know when they come back so they quickly take what can be useful at sea. They push the boats nestled in the sand on the seashore into the water. A roar of engines interrupts the silence and after a while, the “noise” and the boats disappear.
Fishermen are back in the morning, sometimes at noon. They jump out of their boats like juveniles; their faces indicate that the fishing was successful. Another time, their whole-day fishing does not bring them anything. They sail on small wooden boats, similar to those from the 14th century. These are “pomeranki” or traditional Kashubian boats. Against all odds, a small number of Sopot fishermen have survived to this day. Fate, as harsh conditions in which they work, has never spoiled them.
They are taciturn, as if lost. You can see that they have their souls and dignity. Due to non-economic conditions, they are less in numbers. Many of them did not return from the sea, as it is a dangerous profession. They have also saved lives of many careless holidaymakers.
The small chapel “Oh happy return” next to the fishing harbour is devoted to those who have not returned from the sea. A chapel in the form of a stockade built of poles, straight out of the water (from the repaired pier) in which they have stayed for 80 years. All kinds of shells, barnacles and seaweed were left on them.
The figure of Christ as the Man of Sorrows sitting in the chapel has his hand raised over his forehead, watching fishermen who return from fishing grounds providing them – happy returns!
Fishermen say they need to learn respect for the sea and to their profession. You have to follow a few sacred rules. You cannot steal fish from you colleagues. It is prohibited to throw dirt in the water, because the sea is a living creature.
The last fishermen must be helped to survive the current crisis, for when the yellow – green – black boats and picturesque fishing equipment disappear from the beaches – emptiness and sadness will prevail at the Sopot seaside.
Until recently – September 2010 – there was yet another place in Sopot that worshiped fishermen and their hard work. In a historic place, where once was a fishing village, and now there is Plac Przyjaciół Sopotu, there was a fountain of Johnny the Fisherman. Three octagonal swimming pools with fountains were perforated with a high column on which Johnny the Fisherman stood. He had a basket full of fish on his head. This fountain became a symbol of Sopot, nevertheless it was dismantled later because … people did not like it anymore. When on 5 April 1998, the fountain of Johnny the Fisherman was shown – after a win in a design contest – no one expected that it would be there for such a short period. The authors of the project are Bruno Wandtke, an architect, and Stanisław Szwechowicz, a sculptor. The creators of the project, and many residents of the Tri-City, tried to defend the fountain, its location and idea. This is why we hope that the city authorities will find a place worthy of Johnny the Fisherman!
Below, there is a poem written by one of the Sopot fishermen – Jerzy Piątek. He is a unique fisherman. Now, as he says of himself, he no longer fishes. He is passionate about fishing gear and any memorabilia related to this subject. He runs the INFORMAL FISHERMAN MUSEUM in one of the box rooms at the harbour, where he tells stories about the great harbour and curiosities related to it, about his extraordinary fishing travels, etc. It is worth listening to these marine tales.