One of the things you probably don’t know about the capital of Ukraine is that some of the best bars in Europe are located in Kiev. The city’s been slowly building its mixology culture and opening great venues, one by one. Full disclosure: the post is not about the cheap Kiev pubs or places to get questionable drinks and company.
On the contrary, the best bars recommended for Kiev are good for an evening meet up with friends, to go and listen to some great live music, and to catch up with what the city’s been up to. The best bars included in the post are also all about the positive atmosphere, meticulously put bar menus, and a great Kiev audience.
Say the right password at the bar Loggerhead
Kiev bar owners love the speakeasy format, and you’ll see that it is accepted in quite a few locations in this post. Loggerhead is the bar hidden in Kiev’s downtown, on Tarasa Shevchenko street, 1. This will be a small and unnoticeable metal door to your left, right after you pass the arch entrance into the courtyard. Knock and say the right password. The stairs will lead to the stylishly decorated bar in the basement of the historic building.
Why do I recommend it? This is definitely one of the best bars in Kiev where they take care of the reputation, safety, the crowd, and the vibes. If you are a traveller, you will find a lot of fellow travellers and expats to chat with, as well as a lot of friendly locals.
The best place to sit is by the bar to watch a true show that the Kiev bartenders and mixologists make of their work routine. Loggerhead also offers tables. Some of them are by the small stage where the bar hosts local bands and live music on Fridays and Saturdays.
Drinks and prices: On average, a price per drink starts at 7 USD. Be sure to try their Kabuki Cocktail, a mix of Soy Miso Gin, buckwheat tea, Choya yuzu, lime, and Shiso oil.
Address: Tarasa Shevchenko street, 1
Opening hours: 7 pm to 2 am
Enjoy Friday night live music sets at Barman Dictate
Barman Dictate definitely had some major shoes to fill in. It took over one of Kiev’s iconic locations on Khreshatyk, 44 as it settled in a basement formerly occupied by a massively successful cafe/bar 44. Luckily, Barman Dictate did not fail the address, introducing some of the most top-notch mixology, friendly bartenders, and a laid-back atmosphere combined with great ingredients and an awesome bar menu.
Why do I recommend it? This place has a one-of-a-kind friendly atmosphere and a great audience. You can always count on making acquaintances and spending some quality Friday-night-out time. The place also has a great kitchen, and you can easily stop by for an early dinner around 6 pm before the bar gets packed with visitors.
Drinks and prices: Count on spending from 7 USD per drink here. Be sure to try their sour cocktail Sidecar, which is based on Cointreau.
Address: Khreshatyk 44, look for a winged logo after you go through the arch and into the courtyard.
Opening hours: 6 pm till 3 am
Make new friends at Drunken Cherry
This one is a budget-friendly and a super-friendly place to hang out in Kiev. On a weekend, the Drunken Cherry is on a regular route of everyone heading for a night out in the city. The place is tiny, with just a few tables inside, and a couple outside, so most likely, you will need to find a place to sit on the nearest pavement…
…that is, of course, after you pass a huge line to get your drink. The line is sort of a signature item of the Drunken Cherry, but it moves quickly. The second signature item of the brand is its chandelier made out of the bottle bottoms.
Why do I recommend it? The Drunken Cherry is a brand that traveled to Kiev from Lviv, where it gained huge popularity. All due to its relaxed atmosphere, affordable prices, and delicious cherry liquor. This is the only drink you’ll be getting in this bar. Ask the bartender to drop a few preserved sour cherries into the glass, too.
The place is perfect to start the night or to stop by on your long evening walk across the downtown. I actually have it included in my walk around Kiev old town, if you haven’t checked it out yet.
Drinks and prices: The glass of cherry liquor costs around 3 USD. Try their cherry paste, too.
Address: There are currently 2 bars in Kiev. Podil: Borys Hrinchenko, ½. Center: Velyka Vasylkivska, 16.
Opening hours: 11 am till 2 am
Have drinks in a stylized train wagon of Parovoz Speak easy
As I have already mentioned at the beginning of this publication, Kiev loves the speakeasy bar format. You won’t need a secret password to enter the Parovoz bar, but finding the location is somewhat tricky.
Hidden in the basement of one of the capital’s oldest movie theaters, this is an elongated room designed to remind an old train wagon. The bar’s been around since 2011, and since its opening, always lands in all of the top-10 ratings for places to get great drinks in Kiev.
Why do I recommend it? Parovoz bar is a perfect combination of history, experience, great drinks, and one of the best menus for food in bars. This place also runs its own mixology school, so rest assured that you’ll be getting high-quality cocktails. Also, Parovoz gathers some of the friendliest crowds in the city.
Drinks and prices: Count on spending from 6 USD for a drink. Parovoz Bloody Mary is a highly recommended pick from the menu.
Address: Velyka Vasylkivska, 19 (turn left and head to the basement inside the movie theater Kyiv)
Opening hours: 12 pm till 2 am
Chill at the PR-Bar in Podil
Founded by the local PR-specialists, PR Bar has an unusual concept of drinking and networking. This cozy place is right at the beginning of Sagaidachnogo street, not far from the pedestrian bridge over the Dnipro River. If you are looking into Podil-based adventures, this is the place to start with.
Why do I recommend it? This venue combines a bar in the first room, and a small cafe in the second room, which makes it perfect for both wining and dining. The cafe serves Carpathian food. The highlight of the PR Bar is the long wooden table adjacent to the bar counter, where you can mingle with the rest of the visitors.
This place gets creative about everything on its menu and in services. For instance, during the uncertain quarantine times, it hosted online parties with great DJ sets.
Drinks and prices: Count on spending from 4 USD per drink. Be sure to try the Blue Celebrity cocktail.
Opening hours: 4 pm till 2 am
For some of the best wine selections in Kiev, head to the Win Bar
It is stylish and cozy. You can count on one of the best wine menus in the city. It is located in the best ever spot to meet and chat, which is the Podil area. The Win Bar is located in an old building that dates back to the 19th century. The owners managed to combine that awesome historic atmosphere with the modern vibes. Plus, they added some artwork from the local artists, which gives a unique touch to the whole concept.
Why do I recommend it? The atmosphere in wine-bars is very different from that of the bars listed above. It is a sophisticated, calm place perfect for chats, dates, birthdays, and meetups with friends. The place is equipped with a kitchen, so you can also order food. In the evening, you can spot the Win Bar from afar because it always has many guests and that inviting atmosphere to it.
Drinks and prices: Plan on spending from 3 USD per drink. No recommendations, however. Just chat with the sommelier and he/she will suggest which if tens of types of wine to choose.
Address: Khoryva street 16/7
Opening hours: From 1 pm till 11 pm
Explore Sky Bar in the central part of Kiev
More of a nightclub than a bar, this venue also deserves its place on the list of recommendations. It is conveniently located in the center, has been around for a while, and has become one of the go-to places among the city residents and visitors.
Why do I recommend it? Do not hope to have any sort of meaningful conversation as the music will be too loud. But if the intention is to dance, then this is definitely a good choice. Sky Bar is a sort of a one-stop-shop for food, drinks, and dancing.
Drinks and prices: Count on spending from 5 USD per drink. Don’t miss out on a glass of Honney Basil Smash, with a mix of whiskey, pineapple, and basil.
Address: Velyka Vasylkivska, 5, 7th floor
Opening hours: 11 pm till 6 am
Go big or go home with The Bar
You can’t think of a more simple and obvious name than The Bar. A place belongs to a big family of venues managed by the famous Kiev restaurant owner (you can also check out deserts at The Cake and great food at The Burger).
Why do I recommend it? The Bar has always taken care of its reputation and clientele. The place is not cheap. But it serves a good drink and delivers a very entertaining concept, design, and atmosphere. Plus, it is conveniently located in Kiev’s downtown, next to all the other popular venues, which makes it perfect for a Saturday night out.
Drinks and prices: Count on spending from 6 USD per drink, and don’t miss out on the New York Sour cocktail.
Address: Velyka Vasylkivska, 5
Opening hours: 6 pm till 11 pm
Discover true mixology at The Alchemist bar
Every city has a legendary place. For Kiev, it is definitely The Alchemist bar. It’s been around for as long as many can remember, serving great drinks and delicious food, as well as throwing great live mini-concerts on weekends.
Why do I recommend it? This is a cozy small bar preferred by many locals. This is why at around 8 pm you will hardly find a vacant table or a stool by the bar counter. Residents come here to talk, catch up, and listen to good music.
Drinks and prices: Count on spending from 4 USD for a drink. Definitely try The Alchemist’s Crimson Unicorn with Campari and blood orange puree.
Address: Shota Rustaveli, 12
Opening hours: 6 pm till 3 am.
Engage in long conversations at Pink Freud
Back to Podil, the locals’ all-time favorite place to hang out, Pink Freud definitely deserves attention. Located in an old building, it has three rooms. The first one is a pseudo-open-air with a high ceiling and great loft design, while the two other rooms are smaller and cozier. Speaking of the open-air, the walls that surround it are actually walls of the office buildings. You won’t miss this place. It has a pink portrait of uncle Freud drawn next to the entrance.
Why do I recommend it? This is probably one of the biggest bars on the list, size-wise. It is also very popular with the locals and has been around for ages. I’ve seen people proposing to one another right in front of the bar counter, friends supporting each other after surgeries and major events. What can I say, it is the city life at its best, concentrated in Pink Freud.
Drinks and prices: Count on spending from 4 USD per drink here. It is hard to recommend any specific drink since their menu has more than 70 options!
Address: Nyzhnii Val, 19
Opening hours: 6 pm till 12 am
Enjoy great sunsets at Mushlya
This place is nearly not as fancy as most of the locations on the list. But boy is it popular among the locals! A small place is jammed with people regardless of the time of the day. Mushlya owes its popularity to a 1-Euro-menu concept. Basically, everything that’s on the menu costs around 1 Euro or slightly more.
Why do I recommend it? There is hardly any other place in Kiev that allows enjoying the city vibes as much as Mushlya, which definitely became one of the reasons to visit Kiev. The lines are usually long, but they move fast, too. Grab your drinks and a plate of freshly cooked mussels and try to find a spot inside the cafe, or outside, on a terrace. No vacant spots? No worries. Climb up the old stone steps of the nearby terrace and check out the best sunsets in the city.
Drinks and prices: Basically, it won’t cost you more than 2 USD per drink. Ciders and prosecco are the specialties.
Address: The first and still the most authentic Mushlya spot is at Khreshatyk, 25, but there are also venues at Spasska, 5, and Velyka Vasylkivska, 43.
Opening hours: 10 am till 11 pm
Enjoy authentic vibes at Podil East India Company
A mind-blowing mix of colonial India heritage and Kiev’s exciting atmosphere of old Podil, Podil East India Company definitely deserves its spot on the list of the best bars in Kiev. The place is known for its low ceilings, crowded rooms, and cozy vibes. The idea was to create a space that would resemble a busy Asian quarter with Ukrainian colors added to it.
Why do I recommend it? I love this place for its three rooms in Indian, Malaysian, and Indonesian styles. It is always fun to be here. Plus, they have great food and weekly new cocktails on their menu. The place is perfect for both a date and a meetup with friends.
Drinks and prices: Count on spending from 4 USD per drink. The most popular item on the menu is the cocktail Foarth Regiment.
Address: Mezhygirska, 9.
Opening hours: 12 pm till 10 pm
Written by Inessa Rezanova
I am a Kyiv-based screenwriter with 10+ years of experience in producing scripts. I love my job, and no, I did not quit it to travel the world. I see different countries in my spare time. As a storyteller, I believe that it is the emotional journey that matters the most. This is why together with my sister I started this blog to encourage everyone to travel and to do so with a heart and mind opened to adventures.
Images by Natalie Rezanova
I am a photographer based in Kyiv, Ukraine. I am lucky to be able to do what I love the most for a living. Photography is an endless source of inspiration for me. My mission on this blog is to inspire by sharing some of the favorite captions from my journeys. I also provide professional photography tips to help the readers bring home some beautiful photo memories.