The first milk bar, "Pionier" opened in 1946 in Krakow. In Socialist times they developed into public canteens for workers and were to be found on every corner. The description "Bar mleczny" – milk bar – comes from the floury and milky dishes on offer, which are typical for Polish cuisine.
After the breakdown of Socialism, a large number of the milk bars had to close due to economic pressures. Now the rest of the bars can only survive with help of state subsidies: the food is subsidized up to 48 percent, with the exception of the meat dishes.
The milk bars therefore represent an essential, hidden, social service – especially for the elderly. Businessmen are also fond of the milk bars, since you almost never need to wait long for your order. In this way, the milk bars have become a meeting point for people from very different social strata.