September 17, 2021

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Boots on the ground: Kiev nightlife during COVID-19

Boots on the ground: Kiev nightlife during COVID-19


Things are returning to normal in Ukraine. The lockdown is, for the most part, over, and while there are still new cases of COVID-19 reported every day in Ukraine, the environment appears to be more or less safe at this point. Unfortunately, one area that hasn’t fully recovered is our coveted nights out on the town. Today we present a report on “boots on the ground”, discussing the nightlife options that are available to those living in Kiev at the moment.

The nightlife of the state of Kiev in 2020

2020 started like any other year in Kiev. The feeble New Year celebrations have left us excited for another year of success and prosperity in our favorite city on earth.

Unfortunately, in March, it was extremely clear that 2020 was going to be very different from what we were used to. A block that was supposed to last a week turned into a month, which then turned into 3 of the quietest and darkest months we’ve ever experienced.

But hey, it was great to get some work done, at least.

At the start of the year, the local nightlife institutions CHI, Shooters, Forsage and the Arena City area were all bustling.

Now, their future is far less certain.

Even if the nightclubs have permission to open in the next couple of months (which we don’t hope), we wonder how many of these places will close due to exorbitant expenses and absolutely no one will enter.

We have already seen this with more than some of our favorite bars, which will go unnamed out of respect and in case they manage to reopen. Even though most of the bars in Kiev are open at this point, some of our favorites still don’t seem to have opened their doors to the public yet. Such a pity.

One of our favorite parts of living in Ukraine as expats is the fact that Kiev is perhaps one of the most underrated nightlife cities on the planet. Whether you like the most underground rhythms imaginable, or you like to pop bottles in the Top 40, you will find something to do here.

Below you will find what we have been doing in Kiev in recent times.

Are the night clubs open?

In shorts, no.

However, it is worth noting that in Ukraine we are famous, for example, for not respecting the rules.

There is a club I have really enjoyed going to lately which is a regular bar, but instead they moved all their tables, started booking DJs and turned off the lights so that the atmosphere is much more “clubby” ” before.

Is it legal? Probably not. But do we really care? Absolutely not.

I can’t reveal the exact name of this venue, but I will give you a hint that if you stay close to Derybasivska Ultisa and move around enough, you will find it.

Another option, however, are terrace parties and standard bars.

Victory terrace parties

One particularly exciting development we have seen in Ukraine is the increase in outdoor parties over clubbing nights.

Our prediction is that this will also be the move during the fall. Outdoor parties are generally harder to regulate and much safer than being crammed into a sweaty club where one person can infect hundreds of them.

Our favorite terrace party we stumbled upon was the one they threw at CLOSER. We’ll be the first to admit that we don’t like House or Techno music at all, but the vibe is still pretty good here.

Even DJs don’t take requests, which is a blow. Oh good.

As such, the nightclub appears to have a third floor pier that no one knew about until recently, and there have been a few party nights lately.

Check their Facebook page for the latest details, as their schedule appears to be changing from week to week.

Bars

Bars in Kiev are fully functional, but with capacity limitations and the insistence that you have to have the temperature checked when you enter. Some will ask you to wear a mask, while others won’t. Again, it’s really a matter of location, just like our makeshift nightclub above which has found a way to completely bypass the rules.

Below are our top picks for now.

hangover

Hangover is open to the public! Perhaps the largest “meat market”, university place in the whole city, I usually stay away from this place. But, as they say, “absence makes the heart grow fonder” and I was happy to make my return when it reopened in June. There are fewer students in Kiev than before, but still many people come here every weekend.

The bar

Usually a great place to hit before the club, The Bar has seen some pretty lively crowds with no larger venues to move to. Striking the sweet spot between pretentious and casual, we’re proud to say we’re frequent visitors here. Great for dates and for booking a table with friends.

Pink freud

I really missed drinking weird imitations of Hawaiian drinks in this Ukrainian favorite during the block. Luckily for you, it’s open to the public again! More eclectic and casual as ever, Pink Freud is also seeing a surge in late-night activity with nightclubs closed for the time being.

That’s not all, but it’s something …

There is no denying that COVID-19 has changed the nightlife scene in Kiev. We can no longer frequent many of our beloved night clubs, which is a real shame.

However, if you’re smart enough, you’ll find a way to make the party happen wherever you go, and Ukraine is no exception.

If you are lucky enough to be in Ukraine right now, stay still! As many of you already know, re-entering the country as a non-resident at this time is next to impossible. Plus, with the potential for another global lockdown coming in the winter months, we’re not taking any chances here!

In the meantime, enjoy the lack of creepy foreigners and tourists and stay safe out there!

-Expat Ukraine