The city of Kyiv boasts a bevy of beautiful women, inexpensive alcohol, and some of the best house music for dancing you’ll find anywhere in the world. It may not officially be the city that never sleeps, but that’s only because it’s a hidden gem off the beaten path.
Experienced tourists that are used to Kyiv will likely already know the top spots to find, so I’ve put together a handy guide for the first-timers here. If you’re new to the Kyiv party scene but want to “do Kyiv proud” the first time, take this journey with me, and I’ll show you just how to do it. I’ll start you off with the best bars in Kyiv and move on to the best clubs in Kyiv from there.
Best Bars in Kyiv
Some people say that this bar, located at Velyka Vasylkivska Street at number 5, offers patrons the best views in all of Kyiv. While I agree that the scenery is impressive, it’s the decor inside the bar, coupled with the beautiful customers (women dress to the 9s here!) and bartenders that I think truly offers the best views.
This bar goes all out with flashy neon lighting and comfortable ambiance. Skybar has a little something for everyone and caters to both mature and young adults. I wouldn’t say that this is an exclusive bar since you don’t need any membership to get in, however, to guarantee your chances you’ll need to make a reservation in advance.
If you’re not on the list, as they say, chances of enjoying what Skybar has to offer are slim. To improve your chances, you should dress up. The ladies look amazing in beautiful dresses, and the men wear suits to standout. And it’s not surprising because the bar has what Kyiv calls “face control.”
If you don’t know what face control is, it’s a common practice in many countries, especially Eastern European ones. Essentially, it means the bouncer has the right to take one look at you and decide if you’re Skybar material. If he thinks you don’t have the right look to promote their public image, they aren’t going to let you inside the bar. This might seem unfair at first, but it does help to ensure that your night of debauchery will be in the company of some of Ukraine’s finest-looking barflies.
Skybar opens its doors at 6 p.m. and runs until 6 a.m.
I don’t know about you guys, but frankly, I love puns. I especially love puns that manage to combine things like pop culture and psychology in a clever, elegant way. So, of course, I also love Pink Freud. But the name isn’t the only reason that I love this bar.
Its location on Nyzhnii Val street in Podil is pretty prime, too. Podil is an area of Kyiv that is steeped in history and very popular with tourists, combining modern venues with an old-world atmosphere. The way Pink Freud, in particular, manages to do this, is quite stunning.
The interior design of the bar is dedicated to the theme of Freud’s theory of the unconscious mind, so of course, this bar’s motto is all about bringing desire to life. The bar is well-known by locals for its dedication to unique signature drink blends and specialty foods, and there’s always some great music playing in the background. From personal experience, I humbly recommend their Deadly Gentle cocktail.
Loggerhead is a somewhat newer place, but it’s already one of the best bars in Kyiv, having garnered a dedicated following thanks to a new yet experienced generation of top-notch bartenders. You don’t have to take my word for it, check out the results of their 2016 soft opening instead. It was a jam-packed event made all the more impressive by being so thanks entirely to just word-of-mouth advertising without any social media presence!
It’s one of the best bars to check out in Kyiv if you want to combine a night of signature drink blends with good company and some great music.
Every Friday, Loggerhead hosts a live jazz event for your listening pleasure. The bar sort of kept its understated themes and presence going after their soft opening, too. You won’t find any big neon signs that advertise the Loggerhead bar, and there aren’t any notices or flyers to point you in the direction of the place itself. There’s just a simple unmarked door with a lever on the left. Pull the lever down, and the doorman inside will decide whether to let you in or not.
Yes, it’s a kind of face control for sure, but this is a speakeasy bar just like the ones popularized by necessity decades ago, so that’s how it works. Once you’re inside Loggerhead, you’re sure to enjoy their nice variety of whiskey sours and light, fizzy cocktails, among other drinks. They have some classy and delicious cheese plates to go with your drinks, too, providing you with the perfect way to cleanse your palate in between drinks.
Loggerhead can be found on Tarasa Schevchenko Blvd 1 and is open from 7 p.m. to 1 a.m. Monday through Thursday, and from 7 p.m. to 2 a.m. on both Fridays and Saturdays. The atmosphere is fairly laid back being a speakeasy, so I’d say that semi-casual attire is a safe bet.
If this sounds like a place you’d be interested in going, check out my full article on Loggerhead here (pictures).
Parovaz has been around for a while in comparison to some of the other bars on this list. It was founded in 2002, and over the next decade, it managed to attract quite a large following. But sometimes a bar needs a second wind as it were, and Parovaz managed this nicely in 2013 when it updated its design and concepts and transformed itself into the pop-up bar that it is today.
If you want to tell your friends that you visited an award-winning speakeasy in Kyiv, all you have to do is spend a pleasant evening at Parovaz. This bar has won first place among cocktail bars ever since the speakeasy revamping of 2013.
Professional critics and patrons alike often cite the atmosphere and cuisine as some of the best in all Kyiv. The team is so great at what they do that they offer professional catering services upon request. Of course, you can enjoy their selection of dishes from the comfort of the bar itself.
Parovaz Bar is located on Krasnoarmejskaya Street number 19.
It’s hard to mention Parovaz without also giving a quick nod to the Alchemist bar. If you’re already planning on visiting the former, you should stop by the latter on your bar-hopping tour of Kyiv because it’s only a few minutes away from Parovaz. Their drink selection is nothing special, but everything is reasonably priced and tastes great in between dancing to the house music.
Alchemist is located at Shota Rosteveli Street, number 12, and is open from 12 p.m. to 3 a.m.
I enjoy the contrasts of Kosatka bar very much. It’s relaxed and laidback during the day, but it turns into an almost completely different place at night, with live DJs sporting turntables and a packed house on the weekends. The drinks here are tasty and reasonably priced.
Kosatka is located at Velyka Zhytomyrska Street, number 25/2, and is open from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. on weekdays and 9 a.m. to 3 a.m. on weekends.
Themed bars are fairly popular in many parts of Europe, and Kyiv is no exception to this rule. Palata 6 is a fun time because all of the waitresses dress up in cool nurse’s attire and provide you with shots aplenty straight from syringes or test tubes. They play their own version of a drinking game that utilizes a helmet as a prop, and it’s worth a visit just for that alone. Palata 6 is located on Bulvarno-Kudriavska Street, number 31A, and is open from 11 a.m. to 2 a.m.
“The Bar” is so-named perhaps because it’s iconic enough that really, no extra words are necessary to describe this place. I think that this is one of the best places to start your night in the city if you are a new expat or a tourist.
The Bar lives up to its simple yet effective name by offering some of the best drinks in the city at very reasonable prices. That’s their specialty and their sole function, but The Bar is connected to two other places, one selling food and the other confectionary, if you need a bite to eat or something sweet. Many tourists and foreigners describe The Bar as an excellent middle-of-the-road option that is particularly friendly to newcomers.
In short, I would say that if you want a quiet evening with good friends, this is the place for you. It’s great for anyone, really, but no one will hassle you about not looking the part, unlike some of the more upscale bars in the city. You should dress nicely, but it doesn’t need to be formal, and there isn’t anyone on face control duty at this place.
I should mention here that while many places in Ukraine and other parts of Europe have adopted clean air policies, The Bar hasn’t quite caught up yet. It still offers a smoking section inside for patrons who want to have a puff without going outside. While it’s a different section, anyone who has been to smoking bars in the past will know that smoke hangs heavily in the air and travels to your non-smoking section with ease. People who don’t like the smell of smoke or who are irritated by it should keep this in mind.
The Bar is on Basseinaya St, 2A and is open from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Dogs and Tails
A trendy place with a cozy and relaxing atmosphere. Also, good music and delicious American food. To get a table here isn’t easy; however, drinking at the bar isn’t bad either.
This place is open daily from 12pm until the last guest leaves. There are cool parties on Friday and Saturday. Address: Shota Rustaveli St., number 19.
Closer is a very popular place for Ukrainian hipsters. It has a friendly atmosphere with cool drink selections. It’s open from Tuesday to Sunday, from 4 pm to 10 pm. On Friday and Saturday nights from 11 pm on Closer becomes a club with techno music.
Located at number 31, Nizhnyurkovskaya street.
Top Clubs in Kyiv
The Caribbean Club
If you want to attend some of the best concerts in all Kyiv, but you feel like you don’t have time because you need to hit the club scene, there is a solution. The Caribbean Club is one of the best clubs in Kyiv, and it offers some great concerts as well. In fact, it has its own concert hall for just such events, and local and international celebrities alike book the place for parties frequently.
If The Bar at the Arena is a great bar to start the evening as a tourist, the Caribbean Club is probably one of the best club venues to do the same. It’s got some great drinks, but it’s also a popular spot for foreign visitors from all walks of life. If you’re looking to start the evening off by meeting some friendly international folks, this is the place to do it.
The Caribbean Club is on Simona Petliury Street, number 4. You will need to dress up to get into this club, and although you won’t have to pay any cover charges, you should be aware that face control policies will be in effect. The Caribbean Club’s hours of operation extend from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Hangover sounds at first blush like the name of a bar, and it depends on the time of evening that you pay a visit. Sometime between 8 pm-9 pm, the place seems to turn into a cross between a club and a dance hall. And I do mean dance hall with an emphasis on dance. The house DJ plays a lot of local and international hits that you’ll recognize, but the songs only go for about sixty seconds each. After that, a new one comes over the speakers with an entirely different beat. All the songs are fast-paced and high-energy in nature, and with the change in beats, you’re kept on your toes here, quite literally.
It’s an excellent place to lose yourself in the positive vibes and good music and will be one of your more memorable Ukrainian party experiences.
Hangover is on Mikhalia Grushevskogo St, number 3A, and is open from noon until 1 a.m. You’ll need to dress up, although there is no face control here. It’s also free for at least part of the day, though if you go in the late evening, especially on the weekend, you’ll likely be standing in line for some time.
Disco Radio Hall
Another place to dance all night—literally all night if you want to—is Disco Radio Hall. My favorite thing about this place is that they go all out. Disco Radio Hall often hosts cool thematic parties, and they put time and effort into making the themes mesh well. The waitstaff knows that this place is all about the party that never stops, so of course, you can order one of their signature cocktails like a nice Miss Cranberry without ever leaving the dance floor.
Disco Radio Hall is located at Stephana Bandery Avenue, number 32, and is open from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. You’ll need to dress classy if you’re planning a visit to Disco Radio Hall and keep in mind that you must make a reservation beforehand, too.
CHI is a Ukrainian nightclub but takes many cues from both Chinese culture and cuisine. I’ve heard from many fellow travelers that they particularly like the food, service, and the fact that no matter what night of the week you visit, there is always some good music playing in the background. It’s fairly relaxed for a club, especially if you’re going there earlier in the day for a nice, relaxing meal and to chill out for a bit.
Despite this rather relaxed atmosphere, the club is pretty upscale, and you’ll need to dress well as the outer bouncer is often quite particular about face control. There will be a cover charge too, and reserving a table, if necessary, can be somewhat pricey, so I recommend that you come prepared.
All that said, CHI is worth the money and time for the experience of the atmosphere, decor, food, and music, all of which blend very well together. Plus, they’re said to stay open until their last guest is ready to leave.
The Buddha Bar is the place to be if you want modern, upscale, luxurious, and glamorous all in one. The owners and developers seem to have spared no expense here as the interior is exquisitely crafted, and every part of the space is meant to catch the eye and enhance the overall aesthetic. Several well-known international celebrities have standing reservations at any Buddha Bar locations across the world, including the one in Kyiv.
Buddha Bar sports a full menu that includes various main courses, appetizers, and desserts, with a full alcohol list to match. Whether your drink is wine, vodka, rum, or anything else, I have no doubt that it will be on hand at the Buddha Bar. They have signature party cocktails too, but where the Buddha Bar shines is in their application of hookahs. They offer a variety of hookahs for their guests’ desires, from a simple social smoke with friends to something more elaborate if you wish.
The Buddha Bar is located at number 14, Kreschatik Street, and is open starting at 12 p.m. on weekdays. Their hours of operation begin at 1 p.m. on the weekends, but what is interesting about The Buddha Bar — aside from everything else — is that they claim to close only when the last guest leaves, just like CHI above. Although it is described as a “chill” place, I highly recommend reserving a table, especially at peak times. Also, you’ll need to look presentable and keep in mind that The Buddha Bar practices strict face control, so plan accordingly.
The Buddha Bar should be a priority on your Ukrainian club circuit if only to try a hookah in a relaxed yet fancy environment.
One of the things that struck me right away about D.Fleur is how its design comes together. Everything from the lighting to the decor and even the way the furniture is set up makes a powerful impression. Of course, that’s just the tip of the iceberg with D.Fleur as they also have a very high-tech, almost proprietary sound system unlike anything else you’re likely to experience in Kyiv. The club also has a restaurant component that is becoming famous for its special gastronomic creations that incorporate various international elements.
D.Fleur is located at Mikhaila Hrushevskoho Street, number 3, and is open from 6 p.m. to 6 a.m.
Indigo is another disco club that offers a great place to dance the night away. They also feature some great dishes prepared by top chefs in their signature restaurant. It’s upscale, but it’s also a place where you might take friends or traveling buddies to have a good time because you can all sing karaoke together at this place.
Indigo is located on Kydryashova Street number 3, near the city center. The restaurant operates from 10a.m. until 6p.m. The disco club is open from 11 p.m. to 6.am. Thursday through Saturday, but it’s closed Sunday through Wednesday. The karaoke bar is open all week from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m.
On the weekends, this place becomes one of the most fashionable parties with beautiful people and a luxury atmosphere. On weekdays it doubles as a restaurant and karaoke bar. The club is notorious for “face control” and has high standards for “dress code,” so you should look as classy as possible if you want to get in.
Serebro is located on 3 Mechnikova Street, which is in the downtown Kyiv area. It’s open every day from 11 am to 5 am, but because of so many private events, it’s best to call ahead.
The ladies dance all night on the bar here, just like the original “Coyote Ugly” from New York. And they do it to rock, and modern European music from 8 pm to 6 am. This place is (as you’d expect) generally full on Friday and Saturday nights.
Coyote Ugly is located on 9 Mechnikova Street.
Famous is my idea of a luxury place. I say this because of the feeling I get when I go inside. The drinks are exceptional, the staff are friendly and service-oriented, and the seating is comfortable for large parties.
Check out the karaoke room, the lounge, or the disco. In the lounge area, you can sit on the terrace and smoke a hookah, and by the way, there is an excellent list of songs. It’s located in the Arena City and is open from 4 pm to 6 am daily.
Shooters is one of my favorite places because it’s two clubs and a bar in one place. The downstairs is a swanky bar where you can chill with a cute girl. The first floor feels more like a club to me than a bar as there’s loads of dancing as the night gets long. And the 2nd floor is all about Karaoke. It’s open 24 hours (every day), and as many Ukrainian night-life venues go, this places doubles as a restaurant until the late evening.
Shooters is located on Moskovskayaya Street, at number 22.
A very popular place for students. Sorry Babushka is open from Tuesday to Sunday from 11 p.m. to 6 a.m., but doubles as a restaurant during the day. Located at 18/24 Dmitrovskaya Street.
Bionica is open daily from 12 pm to 6 am. Be careful, though, because during the day it’s a restaurant so come late or you’ll find yourself dining on carrots and cheesecake instead of a delicious cocktail. Located at Borshchagovska Street, number 128
This is a student’s party gone wild. This may be the biggest club in Kyiv with 3 floors of varying music. The club opens daily from 10pm to 6am and is located at 51a Harmatna Street.
Saxon is too big a place not to be on this list. It’s open from 10 pm to 6 am daily with the club-goers seemingly between the ages of 18 and 23. It’s a big place and a bit out of the way, which makes for a poor location. You certainly won’t find many tourists here. If you’re up for an adventure, check this place out … but only because you want something different. It’s located on Trutenko Onufriya Street, at number 4.
Boom Boom Room
The Boom Boom Room is open only on Fridays and Saturdays from 11pm to 6am. The music here is deep house and techno. Located at 33 Bulʹvar Shevchenka, which is 2 minutes away from Sorry Babushka.
Heaven is a cool place with beautiful people. It’s located downtown on Borysa Grinchenko Street, number 7. Heaven is open 24 hours (every day). Be advised that there’s face control late so dress appropriately. This place is best after the other clubs close so for the best times, go around 3am.
"Kyiv is a bilingual capital, something unusual in Europe and unthinkable in Russia and the United States."
-- Timothy Snyder, The Road to Unfreedom: Russia, Europe, America