Bars in Kiev have been generating a lot of buzz this year, and with good reason. Kiev is a vibrant metropolis which barflies need to keep on their radar. Here are the top five bars you should definitely visit in the Ukranian capital.
Kiev has a tumultuous modern history, but its nightlife is truly unique. It’s a 24/7 – and extra affordable – capital city with a bar scene that’s going from strength to strength. There’s the success of the Barometer Bar Show, Eastern Europe’s premier bar show, and then there’s the surfeit of awards picked up by bars in Kiev at the Barproof Awards to boot. Here are our top five bars in Kiev.
Bars in Kiev – Parovoz Speak Easy: the international smash-hit
Cocktail culture in Kiev is almost synonymous with the Parovoz Speak Easy. Winner of three awards at the Barproof Awards in September, this is one of the trickier bars in Kiev to find. But once you’ve found Parovoz Speak Easy, expect to be welcomed with open arms. Guests need to locate a door at a closed movie theater and head through the cellar to find this decidedly retro spot, which is named after the Ukrainian word for “locomotive.”
Mad Dog Social Club bartender Matteo Rabuffo praises their modern cocktail program, one “based on simplicity, high-quality ingredients, and strong hospitality.” The white-liveried bartenders, jazz, and black and white movies screening on the wall produce what Mixology author and Kupfer owner Robert Schroeter calls a “Great Gatsby vibe.” And many bartenders in Kiev have taken the venue’s esteemed bartending course, meaning Parovoz has an influence far beyond its own walls.
Barman Dictat: a speakeasy with wings
Kiev loves speakeasies and Barman Dictat is one that aims to fly. Its logo is a glass with wings, and its drinks list could be described as heaven-sent. At its seemingly unending steel bar, Barman Dictat has a strong selection of spirits and a formidable cocktail list. Robert Schroeter praises their selection of spirits, which he calls “impressive, and not only by Ukrainian standards.” And he’s not the only one – Barman Dictat was yet another of the bars in Kiev recognised at the Barproof Awards this year, netting the prize for Best Spirits Selection.
With a corridor illuminated only with tealights, leading to a big room covered in exposed brick and pipes, it’s a trendy destination popular with expats in the Ukrainian capital.
Ostannya Barykada: the three revolutions
Matteo Rabuffo describes Ostannya Barykada (which translates as The Last Barricade) as having “crazy, crazy decor.” And there’s a good reason for it. One of the more political of the bars in Kiev, Ostannya Barykada is inspired by the last three Ukrainian revolutions – the Revolution on the Granite in 1990, the Orange Revolution of 2004, and the Revolution of Dignity in 2014 – it’s a colorful, vibrant space adorned with vintage furniture and Ukrainian signatures. The bar also only serves Ukrainian food and wines, with the cocktails utilizing lots of Ukrainian products.
Try the dramatically named Glory of the Winner, made with Cotnar Rose wine, L’chaim vodka, Renuage brandy, Shabo sherry, Lviv cherry tincture, aromatic bitters, chocolate bitters, and lemon juice. Many other drinks – including hot variation on the Old Fashioned – are inventive takes on classics using local Ukrainian spirits.
Loggerhead: where history and innovation intertwine
Run by bartender Artem Skapenko, Robert Schroeter describes Loggerhead as “truly new territory” and “definitely worth a visit.” In an historic factory venue from 1886, which is named after the merchant and philanthropist Jacob Berner, Loggerhead is a stylish drinking den. With a nod to its history – Loggerhead has maintained its vaulted ceiling – and contemporary taste, it’s a relaxing venue with the bar at the center of it all.
The drinks focus on using the loggerhead, a two-foot long metal tool with a ball on one end – a bar instrument long consigned to the history books. In the past, the loggerhead would be heated up in the fire, before being plunged into a drunk – heating the cocktail and caramelizing it at the same time. Expect this technique, and many more, to be used on Loggerhead’s endlessly innovative menu, one which has been attracting up national acclaim, winning the Best Bar award at the 2016 Salt Awards.
S34: the new kid on the block
The neighborhood of Podil is one of Kiev’s oldest – and arguably the most culturally and gastronomically relevant. So it’s no surprise then that the subtly cool S34 just opened in the district. Founded by Alexey Kostenyuk, a former Diageo brand ambassador, S34 comes highly recommend by Matteo Rabuffo, who praises its “strong design, stunning menu layout and interesting, complex cocktails.” This is a bar with a clear concept and a bright future ahead of it.
And it’s more than just a bar. If your hair is looking a little scrappy, S34 even offers a barber service – final proof that bars in Kiev can still surprise locals and tourists alike!
Bildquelle: Photo via Pixabay.