The Killer Guide to Kiev Nightlife
For being such a large metropolitan city, Kiev nightlife can actually be quite hit-or-miss. I’m here to tell you that unfortunately that it’s often a miss. The great thing is that when it’s a hit it really is a hit.
To start with a little background on Kiev, it’s basically a worker’s city. It’s the economic hub of Ukraine. It’s got plenty of college students but it’s not a college town. Kiev has tons of families and tons of single people. The result is a big mish-mash which makes the Kiev nightlife scene so difficult to figure out.
To compare Kiev to some American cities…
Kiev is not like Las Vegas. You can’t just go out and find something to do every night of the week. People aren’t going out just for the sake of getting hammered drunk on a Tuesday afternoon. Switching coasts, Kiev also lacks a bit of the New York City energy at times—it tends to quiet down a lot during the weekend days and weekday nights.
With that being said, if you take the time to really understand the Kiev nightlife you can have a good time. Thankfully, Ukraine Living has compiled this handy guide…
Kiev Nightlife: The First Warning
It’s Ukraine. The weather is always going to play a major factor in how your experience is. However, here’s some tips to take to heart:
- When it’s spring/summer/fall, if the weather sucks, it will scare people into staying indoors and not going out to enjoy the party scene.
- When it’s winter and people are set on going out…they’re going out. You’d have to kill them to stop them.
- It’s completely backwards. Nice time of year + poor weather = poor turnouts. Bad time of year + determination = great.
Always factor this into the situation. If it’s the middle of May, and people have been out enjoying the Ukrainian culture holidays…and a torrential downpour begins at 7pm, that night be be fruitless. At the same time, it could be -10c on a December night and the clubs and bars will be packed.
There is no 100% guaranteed way to predict the Kiev nightlife other than to just go out and see how the scene is.
The Cost of Nightlife in Kiev
NOTE: For detailed information on how much it costs to live in Ukraine, click here.
Generally speaking, here’s a good rule of thumb to remember when you’re going out to enjoy the Kiev nightlife. All the below prices are in dollars, estimating a 25:1 UAH:USD exchange rate.
Kiev Nightlife Costs
- Dive bars & pubs: 1 beer = $1 USD
- Dive bars & pubs: 1 mixed drink = $1.50-$2.50 USD
- Nightclubs: 1 beer = $2 USD
- Nightclubs: 1 mixed drink: $4-$5 USD
Obviously, some places are ridiculously overpriced—I’m looking at you, Arena City. Other places have upscale areas but keep their costs quite reasonable (Podil). The trick is to just not drink too much and keep track of how much your drinks are. The last thing you want is to get completely wasted and end up with a bill for $50 (albeit you’d be at least ten drinks in, so I’d consider it a good night!)—with no clue how you got to that point.
Ukraine is certainly affordable but a few too many cocktails and a couple of pour-happy bar staff can rack up your tab fast.
Always make sure you specify the type of liquor you want. Otherwise you can be guaranteed the bar staff will pour you the top of the line stuff. Even though Grey Goose isn’t all that, the price difference between it and Finlandia at many clubs is simply absurd.
Kiev Nightlife Districts
Arena City (and surrounding)
Arena City is right in the center of the city, and is usually quite busy on most weekend nights. The problem is that it’s right in the center, meaning that every sex tourist foreigner is out prowling these clubs and making a fool of himself. Best to get to Arena early and enjoy your time there before they show up.
Bars, clubs, and restaurants in Arena City:
- The Bar—one of the best spots to have some pregame drinks and just hang out.
- Skybar—a weird place. Half the time I swear it’s filled with hookers and half the time the girls seem super sweet. I’m skeptical though. The closest thing to a Vegas club you’ll find—bottle service, VIP tables, and more.
- The Burger—a great but somewhat pricey place to get a great Western-style meal.
- “The Patio”—the big tent you see in the photo above. The name always seems to be changing, but during the summer it’s popping.
Bars, clubs, and restaurants around Arena City:
- Alchemist—an underground cocktail bar with live music. Gets incredibly crowded but the cocktails are top-notch.
- Banka Bar—some of the funnest cocktails ever here, and incredibly cheap.
- Dogs & Tails—great lounge with some tasty hot dogs.
- Loft Bar—just north of Arena city itself, this loft has a great vibe.
- Touch Cafe—a great date spot but pricey. A bit overrated for night life in my opinion.
There are quite literally dozens of other bars, clubs, and eateries scattered around this Arena City area. There’s no way I could possibly cover them all. Just walk around and see what looks good to you. Poke your head in, have a drink. If it sucks, move on to the next. There’s no shortage!
Other Central Bars & Clubs
These are other noteworthy venues. These are not quite walkable from the Arena City area. They are close enough from a distance perspective, but certainly not in high heels if you’re going out with a group of Ukrainian women.
- Caribbean Club—a bit sketchy but worth the venture
- Dali Park (summertime only)—one of the premier clubs in the city when it’s open, which is only during the warmer months. Amazing from a talent perspective.
- Serebro—heard good things, but very hit or miss.
- Shooters—this place is either the best in Kiev on the nights it goes off or there is no one there—no in between. Definitely go but try to make sure it’s on a busy night.
- Sorry Babushka—a fun place.
Podil is the historic center of Kiev, and one of my favorite districts at that. There’s not really much of a club scene at all, but there are simply so many bars in the area that I had to mention it. However, there really aren’t any notable venues I can rave about in regards to the Kiev nightlife scene. Your best bet is just to saunter down the main strip and side streets and poke your head in.
The people going out in Podil are definitely more hipster and tend to be more friendly overall to outsiders—you’re more of a novelty item out there, even though it’s barely a five minute metro ride from the center of the city.
Other Venues FAR Outside the Center
I don’t have great information on these places but will mention them. Check them out at your leisure!
- Bora Bora
- Coyote Ugly
- Disco Radio Hall
Kiev Nightlife Wrap-up
As a final tip: dress well.
All of these will make a huge difference.
Overall, the Kiev nightlife scene is a tricky one to figure out, and you really just have to experiment to find the cool places to hang out. In addition, venues are always opening and closing. While this page will be periodically updated, it’s simply impossible to keep up with it all. When in doubt, check it out!
PS: If you’re not into the whole nightlife scene, you can meet Ukrainian girls on this website.