Cocktails are wildly popular in Ukraine, but finding the places that actually sells good cocktails can be a daunting task. Ukraine Nu gives you a guide to two places to go for cocktails for different budgets and tastes.
Drinking is one of the top hobbies for many tourists and locals visiting or living in Kyiv. But should you ever get tired of the never ending stream of horlivka and beer flooding the nightlife in Kyiv, and should you want something that might be a little more refined, here are three places to go for cocktails that do not just look fancy but also taste good.
The budget option
Granted, none of the bars on the list are expensive by any Western European standards, but one place, where the prices are extremely fair, is Wood You Like in the historical Podil district that has a menu of signatures and classical cocktails ranging from 160 to 200 UAH (roughly 5-6 euros per drink).
The bar has a small seating area on street level, but do not be alarmed if you can not find a place to sit. There is an underground bar there which is much larger with the same selection of cocktails on the menu. There is even a smoking lounge downstairs for people, who do not want to return to the street.
In terms of cocktails, the Old Fashioned and the Whiskey Sour are both good options on this place. There is a pear sour as well, which is quite nice. The quality can fluctuate a bit, but in general this place is good, especially for the price. They have signatures as well. Avoid the Mushroom Paris Sour, unless you are feeling especially adventurous, but try the Rose Mary or the Pear Sour. For the bitter people, the Negroni is also good.
There are plenty of good restaurants in the area. Hutor at the Dnepr serves Ukrainian food, East India Podil further down the street from Wood You Like serves Indian food and has a decent Dark’n’Stormy too. Check out Italian from Beirut for Middle Eastern food or Avtostantsia in the old Podil bus station for pizzas. Be adviced, that the pizzas are a bit eccentric. One of them, for instance, has dill oil and chicken Kyiv as a topping.
Another place to recommend is Parovoz, a speak-easy bar close to Lva Tolstoho. To get there, which is a bit tricky as there is no sign on the door, look for the Kyiv Cinema at 02000, Velyka Vasylkivska St, 19. Go up to the stairs, and looking at the entrance, turn left and take the small side door. From there you go through what looks like a normal hallway, that leads to a flight of stairs taking you down to one of the most trendy places in Kyiv.
It is a bit more pricey to get your cocktails at Parovoz, but the quality is impeccable. When in Parovoz, you feel like you should be wearing a suit and see everything in black-and-white. The speak-easy prohibition theme is underlined with 1920’ies swing, which gives the atmosphere a touch unique in Kyiv.
Of course Parovoz does the classics well. The Old Fashioned, the Whiskey Sour, the Sazerac and so on are all extremely well-made. The White Russian, however, is one of the best served in Kyiv. It is clearly layered with the distinct coffee liquor at the bottom and a thick layer of cream on top. Also, the Grasshoper is quite well made, and the bar has it’s own Kyiv Sour topped with beetroot, which is also worth trying. When in Kyiv, et cetera.
The bar has table service and a menu of snacks and food items that go along great with cocktails. Make sure to order the olives at the very least. Cocktails generally go from 250 to 300 UAH (8-10 euros).
A bit flamboyant
If these two places did not live up to your taste, we apologize. There are of course many other options. Another speak-easy type place is Loggerhead. The interior is nicer than at Parovoz, but the menu is a bit more to the flamboyant side. Case in point: