Kyiv is a party capital that is steadily gaining in popularity with foreign visitors. Nightlife in Kyiv is vivid and diverse: you can find a bunch of underground spots for ‘cool kids’ as well as spend lots of money at more sophisticated places. «Destinations» met with foreigners who'd visited Kyiv as tourists as well with those who have been living here for some time to ask them about their personal party venue preferences and their opinion on the nightlife scene in the capital of Ukraine.
Nelson (Cuban-born, lives in Kyiv for more than 10 years) is a fan of jazz. “Luckily, Kyiv doesn’t lack live music bars and talented musicians, for any kind of music, especially jazz”, Nelson says. However, he also admits that only a few can pass that line of "excellency in customer service”.
For daily portion of fine live music Nelson recommends to visit HABANA Club (24, Verkhnii Val St, Podil), which he runs for a half of year already. This restaurant is often referred to as Cuba in the Heart of Kyiv. The club features both local musicians along with touring acts for a night of authentic Cuban and Latin beats that anyone can enjoy. Most days of the week Habana offers light bossa nova and jazz tunes to complement its menu of martinis and handcrafted cocktails. This place doesn’t have a huge dance floor, but their menu is excellent, and so are many of the musicians that they book.
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We also asked Nelson about parties and various interesting events happening in Kyiv – where and how an expat can find some handy info on this topic, which ones he prefers to visit (business events and parties for fun). «Plenty of events and parties are happening almost every week in Kyiv», Nelson says. «It all depends on what you like or what you feel like doing. Usually it takes some time for newly arrived foreigners to learn about Kyiv’s venues; they learn about it from magazines and social media. There are some networking clubs and communities, like Frydays, which gathers together its members every Friday at some venue in Kyiv. I have attended some of those events and there you can find both: the chance to socialize and the chance to get a hand on some business opportunities».
Julie Ann (born in United State of America) shares her own thoughts on Kyiv nightclubs and bars. «As for the nightclubs, I have been to Shooters, Sorry Babushka and Caribbean Club. I liked them all», Julie Ann says. «They all had a nice atmosphere and vibe. However, I thought it was strange to have to pay a cover price to get into Sorry Babushka if you have also reserved and pre-paid for a table. However, Sorry Babushka was still affordable. Caribbean Club was way too much money to reserve a table and it didn't come with anything. I feel like you pay all this money for a table and get nothing at Caribbean Club. But Caribbean Club did have a wider variety of music comparing to other Kyiv venues, which mostly play electronic and house these days; and for me it gets annoying after a while».
Julie Ann also shares her impressions on one of the most posh and fancy Kyiv party venue «Avalon» Roof bar: «It turned out to be VERY expensive, but very cool atmosphere, nice view of the city and of St. Volodymyr's Cathedral. When I was there they charged my friend a MORE expensive price than was listed on the menu. Also water was UAH 300! They also use face control, which is another thing that surprised me much».
As it turned out, Julie Ann has never actually experienced night club face control before she came to Kyiv. «I find it strange that even if a restaurant is empty the door men won’t let in a rich paying customer because of their shoes, hair, etc... Even if they are dressed fancy, they just don't like the way they look. In America it's against the law to discriminate against people based on the way they look».
The bar scene in Kyiv is currently booming. Alchemist, Palata no. 6, Buena Vista and Hedrick’s bars are among Julie Ann’s favorite in Kyiv. For some unusual experience, Julie Ann recommends Lysa Gorda Witch Bar. «Very cool themed bar with the most bizarre drinks I've seen in Kyiv. There is also a really good tarot card reader there, how cool is that?»
Sean from Israel, our next interviewee, likes to explore and learn about the culture of the country he’s visiting. Sean had been to many various venues and events in Kyiv, some of them were beautiful and simple, others turned out fancier and more pretentious. «It gave me a clue about the complicity of the population and variety it contains, people here are very welcoming and try to assist even if they don’t know English and that made me smile. The minus is that everything here has a price tag, and it shows…».
We asked Sean about his impressions about Ukrainian men/women and his thoughts about dating a local. «Serious men often look very frustrated about the political and financial situation in the country and it affects their daily moods and strategy for life; it looks like they live from day to day without roadmap planning. Serious women that definitely have a plan, like to explore, seek to fulfill themselves, some of them even are looking for shortcuts using men as instruments to achieve what they want now. Most of them look representative, majority of them is extremely patriotic, others, on the contrary, just want to escape to Europe. As for the dating, you can meet women and men anywhere, there are no rules for that, you can identify a good girl if she likes to get to know you. I’ve learned from them that the culture of walking in the park talking and getting to know each other combining simplicity and transparency is charming and classic, I was very impressed! I wish girls in my origin country had such class».
It’s no secret that Kyiv is beautiful city attracting thousands of tourists each year. Joris from Holland tells that he loves Kyiv’s old downtown, especially Andriyivskyy Descent. «There's a long curly beautiful street with cafe's and little shops. It’s my favorite street in Kyiv. During the day it has a market including many amazing paintings. In the cold winter night I had a delightful tea there – it’s beautiful with a cathedral on the top».
As for the nightlife, Joris described it as more spread out than in other (Ukrainian) cities. « I was happy to have a local resident taking me around. Prices for food and drinks are great for a western tourist. Vodka and beer are sold everywhere. I noticed many upscale restaurants as well as normal ones - Kyiv gladly offers for a smaller group of rich».
We also asked Joris his opinion on dating a local. «Kyiv is a good place for dating in Ukraine. There is nightlife, the student population speaks good English, ladies look phenomenal and Tinder brings up matches. There's hardly any swiping left - they all manage to look like supermodels in photos».
Anna, Ukrainian-born who lived many years abroad has the possibility to compare the nightlife in Ukraine to the nightlife scene in other countries . She told us that Kyiv is booming with networking events at the moment. «Just go on Facebook and you will find a few happenings everyday. Depends on your interests, the popular ones are hosted by Frydays and Kyiv Expat Ladies Club communities».
We have also asked Anna to share her personal favorite party nightlife venues in the capital of Ukraine. «In terms of nightlife, bars and restaurants I would obviously recommend the central areas such as Kreshchatyk Street, Besarabsky Market, Pechersk, Podil. For new trendy and hipster places I highly recommend Besarabsky and Podil area. My favourites are SKLAD, AM bar, NB Cocktails, Barman Dictat, Parovoz, Alchemist, Pink Freud. The new one 'This is Пивбар' is also a good addition. Good restaurants are Okhota na Ovets, Under Wonder, Любчик, Спотыкач, Whisky Corner. As for the prices, food and drinks at fancy Kyiv restaurants and bars isn’t cheap, as many foreigners often think. However, average party destinations and dining spots offer much lower comparing to Western Europe prices on alcohol».
We asked Anna about her vision of local people, living and working in Kyiv.
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«Ukrainians are usually friendly and respective to foreigners. Curious to learn about their countries, improve their English. They do usually expect that most of foreigners are millionaires and are willing to spend more than an ordinary Ukrainian would».
Agata from Poland has been visiting Kyiv regularly for the past 6 months for business. «I like the fact that Kyiv is evolving and getting more and more of that European megapolis vibe. New venues keep popping up each and every month. I’m genuinely impressed with the array of themes and concepts locals venues choose». As Agata has told us, she’s not a big fan of parties, however she appreciates a good night out with friends. «We don’t usually go to these fancy and posh nightclubs Kyiv is known for. My friends and I opt for more hipster clubs. CLOSER is probably our favorite party destination in Kyiv».
And that is no surprise, as CLOSER nightclub in Kyiv was recently listed among 20 most unique night clubs you can find anywhere in Europe, Asia and the US by Resident Advisor magazine. CLOSER is a versatile multi-use venue housed in an old factory in the district of Podil. It curates parties and art exhibitions as well as live performances and festivals in the space. It is also an art center, where they hold art and music lectures, exhibitions, jazz concerts, and the Strichka festival.
Read: Most Popular Night Clubs in Kyiv Downtown
Capital of Ukraine is famous for its luxury nightclubs and posh lounge bars, but not only. Everyone is welcome to Kyiv to experience its nightlife and find new friends!
Image source: shutterstock.com, interviewed by Anna Vishtak, written down by Iya Stepanyuk.