A typical old Podil facade, retro-style lamps hanging out into the street, and a heavy black door – looks intriguing enough to drop in. It’s Barcode bar and What’s On is here to check out if this is a code worth scanning.
From the first step in you understand Barcode is about drinking – a spacious bar welcomes every visitor, while the ceiling lights are decorated with glasses and bottles set into the wall elude to the theme. The menu proves this to be true also – the array of cocktails is impressive and split into “codes” – like “old fashioned”, “sour”, “Manhattan”, and in-house Barcode specials; each style is visually explained as to its taste and strength. I notice Barcode’s own cocktail recipes seem inspired and order a Jungle Beauty right away. It comes with a large block of ice and a slice of strawberry, and I enjoy the strength of the horilka it contains, along with sour notes of lemon and delicate basil.
The food list is not extensive, but makes sure you won’t go hungry no matter how many cocktails you might have. With burgers, smorrebrods, hummus, and steaks it looks eclectic at first glance. “The food menu offers different taste experiences, something people in Kyiv are looking for,” – says Hussam, the owner of the place. He originally comes from Syria, which is why the menu has some of the best-known Arab dishes like falafel (95 UAH), mutabel (eggplant salad – 85 UAH), labneh (cream-cheese balls in oil and spices – 95 UAH), and so on. Following his advice, we are ready for a gastronomic journey.
The Asian-origin starter muhammara comes in a jar with slices of toasted bread. It is a puree-like dish made of ground nuts, sweet pepper, onions, and spices drizzled with olive oil. Tender in texture and rich and pickle-like in taste, it’s an excellent companion to a drink and lazy talk. Next come smorrebrods – Danish-style open sandwiches. Served on slices of dark bread, one has salmon, avocado, and green salad with a touch of tartar sauce, another – beautifully set mounds of hummus and slices of cucumber. I note with satisfaction that Barcode’s hummus is as good as my own home-made.
Sitting by the window, we watch the evening descend slowly on the city and the lights go dim inside and outside. The music gets a little louder and tall candles with bleeding streams of wax are lit. The loft-style interior of the bar is simple yet distinctive: authentic brick arched walls are painted in dark gray, the wooden and metal furniture is oversized but comfy, the black plates and cutlery is stylish. So are – black and stylish – the gloves you receive with a burger, because burgers are meant to be eaten with your hands. My veganburger has a big soft falafel, with some tomatoes and pickles to accompany. By the crisp and texture of the bun I can bet they bake them on site! It’s about time for another cocktail – I mean to use the chance of kids being left with their granny, so I get an Herbal Essences with gin, white wine, and herbs mixed together into a delicate drink with a flower on top.
The place works until the last client on most days with DJ sets over and all glasses emptied. Every four months the bar changes the menu, so you might find some different burgers and salads when you visit next time. We leave the place with a jar of Asian starters to go and the feeling that it’s been a great middle-of-the-week escape.
(Nyzhniy Val 19)
Monday-Friday 11.00 – until last client
Saturday-Sunday 14.00 – until last client
+380 44 425 9580
|Jungle Beauty||135 UAH|
|Herbal Essences||135 UAH|
|Veggie salad||95 UAH|
|Smorrebrod with hummus||85 UAH|
|Smorrebrod with salmon||135 UAH|
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