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Cocktails and the City

Cocktails and the City

The abundance of new сoncept bars in Kyiv has led to patrons being spoiled for choice. The predominance of social media has led to new ways of promoting the scene that are less main-stream – more insider; more intimate. Added to this are bartenders that display talent and pride in their work and innovative twists to the traditional cocktail staples as well as original concoctions. The result is a booming industry with high turnover – some bars attain popular and trendy status, others close their doors before the first bottle of gin is poured. How not to get lost in the proliferation of bars in the city? Read on and take it along on your next Friday bar crawl.

Every Friday evening my friends and I start the same way. Before leaving our office near Zoloti Vorota metro station we decide where we will hang out and celebrate the end of the working week. Usually, our plan includes five or more bars, and if all goes to plan we manage to have a drink in each. Sometimes we add new places to the list, and if they make an impression, we return the following Friday.

The last two years have been marked by the opening of a significant amount of bars in Kyiv. This situation influences Kyiv’s culture, fashion, and citizen’s way of life. Also, it has led to a shift in the idea of a bar as a place to quickly get drunk on strong beverages and continue the evening somewhere else. Now a bar is a space where you drink slowly, enjoy beverages and incessantly talk into the morning. I like to call our generation the “bar boomers” because we live in an era of unprecedented choices of venues to enjoy downtime.

More niche bars have caught on in our city because people have wearied of generic clubs, with their “vodka & Red Bull” combos and remixes of old songs. It coincided with the rise of nonconformist hipster culture that started to set trends, and the more significant role in city life young workers from IT-companies began to play. At first my friends and I just wanted to be a part of this new bar subculture, but we got used to a higher quality of service, not to mention the extraordinary cocktails with high content of alcohol on offer. Today bars are not only about drinks, they are also about atmosphere, stories and people.

Hendrick’s Bar

The concept of Hendrick’s is a ‘bar-in-a-bar’: it is situated in a secret space beneath  another popular place, True Burger Bar. I prefer to start my Friday bar crawl here for two reasons. First, a luscious burger with medium-rare meat in True Burger gives me enough energy to be able to hang out until dawn. Secondly, Hendrick’s gorgeous bartender Yulia makes a mind-blowing Peas & Mint concoction. It might seem hard to get your head around an alcoholic beverage made with gin and peas. It was for me, but it is worth it. Speaking of Yulia, when she is working her magic, the men tend to take seats near the bar counter while girls enjoy cocktails in an atmosphere akin to 1920s America.

Amount spent: 148 UAH


(Bohdana Khmelnytskoho 42)

Open: Wednesday – Thursday 18:00-01:00, Friday-Saturday 18:00-03:00

Table reserve: yes

Admission/deposit: FREE/NO

Tel: +38 099 010 9993

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Barman Dictat

The first time I found myself in Barman Dictat was when my friend’s ex-boyfriend played a concert with his band there. While she listened to him playing trumpet, I took a seat behind the long steel bar counter. As I took in the ambience of Barman Dictat, I asked the barman to serve me a cocktail I wouldn’t forget. He was happy to oblige, and after about five minutes served me Tickle Balls. The cocktail turned out to be the perfect addition to jazz music and romantic nostalgia for a broken relationship. Barman Dictat is a bar where live music plays every evening seven days a week.

Amount spent: 165 UAH

Barman Dictat

(Khreschatyk 44)

Open: 18.00 – 06.00

Admission/deposit: FREE/NO

Table reserve: yes

Tel: +38 050 346 1636

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Parovoz Speak Easy

After watching the horror movie It based on Stephen King’s novel, I definitely needed a strong cocktail and a sincere talk. Luckily, the Parovoz Speak Easy bar is located in the same building occupied by Kyiv Cinema, which has been there since 1952. As I prefer to enjoy horror films in the company of cheesy popcorn, I went to the bar alone and took a seat behind the bar counter. The best thing about Parovoz is that the barstaff are always open to small talk. Tell them more about yourself and your flavour preferences and you will get a cocktail tailor-made for you. That night, Oriental Jin Fizz saved me from nightmares dominated by clowns and bloodshed.

Amount spent: 210 UAH

Parovoz Speak Easy

(V Vasylkivska 19)

Open: 12:00-02:00

Admission/deposit: FREE/NO

Table reserve: yes

Tel: +38 044 235 2413

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Alfred Hitchcook once said: “A glimpse into the world proves horror is nothing other than reality”. Sometimes I agree with the ‘Master of Suspense’, especially after an exhausting work day. Going to HITCHCOOK might be compared with an escape from true-life drama in order to delve into the universe of Hitchcook’s movies. This bar excels on the Kyiv bar scene because of original drinks made with special in-house ingredients like watermelon cocktail foam or bacon-infused tequila. Only at HITCHCOOK can you sample Winston Churchill’s cocktail of choice or emulate Audrey Hepburn while enjoying the cocktail she drank in Breakfast at Tiffany’s. I often order Joker, which holds the 50th position in the HITCHCOOK cocktail menu made in the form of a pack of cards. Joker is something different each time, and ensures you get an extra special cocktail made with seasonal viands or invented in an experimental way. Every time I drink it, Joker turns out to be as unpredictable and intriguing as any of Hitchcook’s films.

Amount spent: 150 UAH


(Sportyvna Square 1A, 7th floor – Gulliver Business Centre)

Open: 14:00-02:00

Admission/deposit: FREE/NO

Table reserve: yes

Tel: +38 044 364 0619

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Cocktail “Sixth sense” at HITCHCOOK bar

Alchemist Bar Kyiv

Spending an evening in Alchemist Bar means you have a chance to hang out at three different parties in one night. Last Friday, my love and I took a table in a secret Alchemist room and discussed the new Ukrainian Erotic Photography book. We then shifted to a room with a stage and listened to live jazz music, and after 23.00 started to move slowly to the bar counter where we ordered our favourite Negroni cocktail prior to the beginning of a groovy DJ performance. After midnight, this place throngs with people, the DJ set is at full blast, and is the perfect antidote to freezing nights in the big city. When I think about Alchemist Bar the first word that comes to my mind is chemistry. It is all about the chemistry of cocktails, atmosphere, and sounds.

Amount spent: 160 UAH


(Shota Rustaveli 12)

Open: 12:00-03:00

Table reserve: yes

Admission/deposit: FREE/NO

Tel: +38 096 008 7070

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Visit all recommended places in one night, or pick one bar per day throughout the week? I prefer the first option when I am in the company of my fabulous friends and the second one when there is only two of us. In any case, all these bars deserve to rank high on your ‘get drunk points’ on the city map, as well as venues to become a different person even if just for the night.





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