Recent political events in Kiev are testimony to the freedom and self-determination Ukraine’s substantial younger generation want their nation’s sovereignty to symbolise. Within the last few years the city has witnessed a revolution, abruptly followed by a severe recession and the collapse of the nation’s currency. Whilst visiting the sprawling Ukrainian capital, you are conscious of a prevailing innovative and creative energy, forged by recent events. This dynamic resilience and drive of individuals pursuing their potential gives contemporary Kiev its raw and authentic atmosphere. This continues to draw in many curious travellers, despite the harrowing conflict in the country’s eastern Donbass region.
Kiev’s nightlife provides you with an oppurtunity to become more than just a passive onlooker and to freely integrate yourself in the city’s undercurrent. Proudly calling one of Europe’s largest cities home, Kiev’s younger generation have been galvanised by recent events and in the last couple of years the nightlife has distinctively transformed. From all night long raves heaving under broken bridges, to chic shisha bars evacuated out of war-torn Donetsk in the back of a truck, to a Kievan basement.Here’s the first part of my pick of where to explore contemporary Kiev’s iconic undercurrent.
A few years ago Spletni was a popular new Shisha bar start-up in Donetsk, but following the outbreak of civil war and the intensification of conflict in the region, the bar was forced to close down. Like many other former Donetsk residents, the owner left his war-torn native city for the capital. Embodying the resilience and innovation that defines much of Ukraine’s younger generation,the young owner sensed an oppurtunity. Speltni was ambitiously dragged back to life,by loading lock,stock and barrel into the back of a truck and relocating, to a similar underground space in Kiev.
Now centrally located across the road from the magnificent Taras Shevchenko University, Spletni employs many former Donetsk residents, whilst others nostalgic for home find spots to relax here. The vaulted underground setting and the smoke rising from the various flavoured shisha embers, interact to create a perfumed and almost sweet cloudy atmosphere. Spaces are allocated for comfortably chilling and enjoying some shisha and drinks, ideal when you want to recuperate after a hectic day or a long night. You even see the owner park himself in a comfy chair in the late evening, perch his mac on his lap and starting to blast away on some shisha too.
Rapidly gaining an international reputation, back in the spring of 2016 this music and arts space emerged from a landmark court battle with a local prosecutor victorious, permanently cementing their position amongst the apex of Kiev’s contemporary nightlife. Consequently the venue is host to many major homegrown and international names. Found in a former Soviet industrial complex, Closer occupies a floor of a former textile factory and some of the forest that has colonised the decaying site. Alongside its role as a club, the same space is home to lectures, regular jazz evenings, workshops, film screenings, plus fashion and contemporary art exhibitions.
Above the central interior space are the clubs iconic and hypnotic, horizontal lights. Imbuing the dance floor with energy, there’s no shortage of people enthusiastically dancing through the night and next day There’s plenty of cotch spots set up in adjoining spaces, with an abundance of sofas. Outside a sublime multi-level wooden terrace, climbing the factory walls to the roof, is reminiscent of Berlin’s Spree side Der Visionaere, whilst the adjoining trails heading into the forest provide further spaces to explore. With a reputation locally that it starts picking up when the dawn starts breaking, most nights stretch into the next afternoon. Weekend long re-entry is a wise investment. Complimenting the clubs memorizing aesthetics and intrepid layout, you’re predominately surrounded by young Kievan’s exploring expressions of individualism and independence that clubs like Closer ambitiously channel, creating a distinct and authentic vibe.
The first club I went to in Kiev, Closer set a high standard.
Opening late this year and a couple of minutes walk from Maidan Square, is a space to recuperate with friends after a big night or base yourself in the early evening after exploring central Kiev. Inside and upstairs, a series of immersive rooms are the central feature of Rockfellow 210. Equipped with massive screens, sound systems and relaxed lounging spaces, you can also order food and drinks by knocking a massive red button by the door. These rooms vary in size, accommodating roughly 5 to 20 people, they’re rentable in 3 hour slots and are the perfect space to cotch and conserve your energy before heading out later.
Наш зал "P" теперь Ваш 😉 Большой диван, который превращается в большой кинотеатр, где может удобно разместится 4 пары или 8 друзей, или одна пара и 2 бутылочки шампанского :)) Коротко: – это антикинотеатр на Михайловском переулке 10/2; – это самый уютный зал; – это трансляции, кино и не только; – это официант в твоем распоряжении. Бронируй свой зал заранее – тел. 099-2-210-210 пы.сы. ищи в сети фото и ИНФО о других залах 😉 #RF210 #rockfellow210 #пультМОЙ
Beyond the immersive rooms and heading downstairs, the spacious basement bar and kitchen has a warm, welcoming aesthetic . Outside a serene terrace wraps itself around the square building. Its got a relaxed and settled vibe, with tables retaining the same occupants long into the night. The terrace has been kitted out for the winter weather and there’s regularly someone mixing, with a chilled ambience the aim of the evening. Rockfellow 210’s anti-theater concept, allowing you to enjoy sports events and cinematic releases in a relaxed space with friends, is popular locally. On big match days evenings and weekends it can be struggle to secure a room.
A cocktail bar with flawless attention to detail, Hendrick’s bar is stashed away beneath the endlessly excellent establishment, that is True Burger. Head into True Burger, go past the toilets in the back and down some stairs, then give the buzzer a ring and wait for the staff to welcome you in. It’s a great location for peacefully getting in the mood for bigger things later on in the night with some friends or for having a few to wash down your delectable burger from upstairs.
The bar’s menu has a wide range of particularly potent concoctions and despite Hendrick’s Prohibition era inspired aesthetic, many are served in heavy clay ceramic Tiki mugs, which I thoroughly endorse. It’s a well-known place locally and it can be hard to find a place to squeeze into on the weekends. With the seclusion the bars location provides, the people here are affable and you’d be hard pressed not be engaged in conversation soon after arrival.The musical selection here isn’t garish like you can find in similar cocktail bars, causally imbuing the surroundings with a relaxed atmosphere
Part TWO deviates from the clean-cut and chilled spaces explored here and heads down a path in search of a rawer aesthetic
For a taste of the sounds of contemporary Kiev check out LateSpace’s soundcloud
“The city of Kiev is an orchard. Kiev is a poet. Kiev is an epic. Kiev is history. Kiev is art.” – Alexander Dovzhenko