Tbilisi: 10 best spots to Rave & Recuperate

With dirt-cheap direct flights connecting Georgia with London, Berlin and Budapest daily, the emerging contemporary cultural hub of Tbilisi is now more accessible than ever.

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£25 London ~> Georgia

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Isolated out on the far eastern edge of Europe and despite a zero tolerance drug policy, the raw enthusiasm and energy of crowds in Tbilisi transforms every night into an inevitable endurance contest.

Combine this energy with cheap rents and unused Communist-era buildings – the  result is a homegrown club scene that’s internationally hyped –

From clubs in Soviet swimming pools under football stadiums and 50’s finedining restaurants with world renowned sound systems to smokey local B.Y.O.B basement bistros and 50p pints – here’s my pick of the spots to rave and recuperate in Tbilisi.

Bassiani

Deep in the crumbling concrete bowels of the Dinamo Tiblisi football stadium, late in 2014 Bassiani was born when an abandoned Soviet Olympic size swimming pool was rigged with a Funktion-One soundsystem and some paranormal lighting.

The result is a space that has become frequently labelled the “closest thing to Berghain you can find outside Berlin” and the “new Berghain in Georgia” .

Cafe Gallery 

Alongside art exhibitions and a cotch cafe to chill in by day, come night the tables get cleared out and the compact space transforms into a bubble of energy till sunrise.

Launched in 2008, the success of this multifunctional space and its role as a haven of liberty in extremely conservative Georgia, Cafe Gallery has been a central driver in the evolution of the city’s club scene.

Mtkvarze

This former finedining restaurant for Soviet elites suspended above the river Mtkvari in the 50’s, has become home to hedonistic young Georgians since launching in 2012.

With a main room focused on house and disco, alongside boasting a Void Acoustics Soundsystem, a relaxed crowd and a wrap-around balcony overlooking the river flowing below it’s an exceptional venue.

Khidi

Launched in June 2016 and located inside some classic Soviet civil engineering – Vakhushti Bagrationi Bridge – Khidi has rapidly emerged as one of the city’s top clubs, arguably the best for those who prefer a dark and intimate Techno focused atmosphere. Whilst the main room has its own intensity, there are plenty of spots to cotch and watch the entrancing light work.

Fabrika 

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Weekend is coming 🙌🏼 #fabrikatbilisi

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A former Soviet sewing factory that’s been transformed into a sprawling entreprenurial/creative complex focused on a central courtyard, it’s perfect for predrinks before heading on to a club.

Beyond bars Fabrika is home to restraunts, a barbers, local brands, cafes, the largest hostel in the region – alongside co-working and educational spaces. I was there in late summer and as soon as evening came the central space was flooded till close.

Shavi Lomi

Translating as Black Lion in English, this Georgian fusion restaurant is well-known as one of the best in the city, alongside their in-house beers which are served throughout the city. With a shabby chiq charm to the interior for colder months – the winding outside terrace levels are perfect for an abundance of Georgian food and wine in the summer months.

Lolita

Centrally located on the ground floor of a pseudo-Gothic house near Rustaveli station, Lolita brings together a bar and open kitchen to form a very chilled, partially open air spot with a warm, unpretentious atmosphere. They played tune after tune and all. Apparently there is a space being renovated upstairs to include a club.

DIVE BAR

A relaxed place for drinks with a consistent crowd – its rugged asethetic is blended with some tasty music keeping you chilled for hours.

Warszawa Bar

Situated on central Liberty Square, this compact bar draws in locals and foreigners week-long with its combination of excellent location and 2 Lari (apprx 50p) beers and shots of chacha and vodka.

Racha Dukhan

In a smokey basement conveniently only minutes walk from Liberty Square metro station- you can find legit local food that’ll get you right after any night out. One of few remaining traditional duqani in the cityI doubt much has changed in decades. Get some plates of Ojakhuri, Khinkali and the Georigian salad with walnuts – as it’s B.Y.O.B. keep yourself refreshed with some world renowned local Georgian wine.

 

5 of the best NYD nightlife destinations across Europe

With New Year’s Eve nights sold out across the continent, last-minute travellers taking advantage of some juicy flight deals still have the option to indulge in some fresh hedonism on the 1/01. Here’s my pick of five NYD nightlife destinations that standout across Europe.

BristolMotion

One of the top 20 clubs in the world according to a recent DJ mag poll,  In:Motion’s NYD line-up for the South Bristol indoor skatepark is an eclectic mix and appears endless.  Amongst the 33 artists featured, the names of Berghain/Panorama Bar residents Ben Klock and Steffi alongside artists such as Tale Of Us, Jackmaster, KiNK, Nastia and Jeremy Underground should be enough to get the adrenal gland of any electronic music aficionado pre-emptively quivering.

MadridWan Festival

Following its successful launch last year, the 01/01 in the Spanish capital see’s another installment of the electronic music festival Wan. Held inside the colossal 10,000 capacity  La Cubiteria bullring, the Tech House orientated line up includes Ibiza stalwarts Martinez Brothers, Luciano, Marco Carola and Richie Hawtin and continues long past sun-rise.

AmsterdamGashouder

2017 marks two decades since the establishment of Dutch techno events brand Awakenings, with the first event of the year a NYD special at their regular Amsterdam haunt, Gashouder. With its huge capacity and innovative lighting, the former gas storage plant is the perfect space for a line up that includes big names like Nina Kraviz and Berghain residents Ben Klock (again??) and Len Faki.

BerlinBerghain/ Panorama bar

With affiliated DJ’s all over this list, the recently designated high culture institution is a logical feature. Regarded by many as the apex of global nightlife, the Berghain’s Silversternacht celebrations run throughout NYD and into the 2nd. The conditional entry policy pursued here means you can still get a ticket upon entry after presale have evaporated. You’re potentially free to enjoy a NYD line up that includes Techno premiers such as Ben Klock (busy man), DVS1 and Efdemin.

BelgradeHangar, Luka Beograd

NYD in the Serbian capital see’s the third night of Central Dance Event a four night series of events, held in various venues throughout Belgrade, running from the 30/12 through till the morning of 03/01. Hangar Luka Beograd, a former warehouse in a docklands area by the Danube, is host for the third night with a Techno focused line-up that includes international names like Magda and Pig & Dan alongside local homegrown Serbian artists.

Good luck to you all in 2017 !

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Trudging

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