Ganja attracts relatively few visitors compared to Baku. The city retains a distinct feel untainted by oil investment giving tourists a glimpse into the traditional way of life. Adventurous travellers in this unexplored part of Azerbaijan looking to enjoy a drink can check out our favourite bars in Ganja.
A few minutes away from Javad Khan Pedestrian Street and Kukla Theatre sits a restaurant/bar in an elegant building with a terrace overlooking the river. Expect a glass of local beer to cost less than $1 and served in a 400 ml glass. Some of the older locals come to pass the time by playing board games and chess.
Just a few minutes on foot along Nizami Ganjavi from City Hall is Restoran Nostalji. Popular with locals who come for a meal or to hang out with their friends, it has a wide selection of bottled and draft beer awaiting customers. And after enjoying a beer or two, consider ordering some of the speciality grilled meat.
The bar’s prime location near Javan Khan and its flexible opening hours provide an ideal place for a drink at any time of day. VIP 111 is aimed towards locals and local tastes. Foreigners rarely go inside and when they do, they should expect a few curious glances. Drinks are cheap and it might be worth dropping by for a quick one after sightseeing in Ganja.
Park House Café attracts locals who come for a coffee in the afternoon or to unwind with a beer later in the evening. Overlooking the river and serving up a variety of affordable drinks from Azerbaijani tea to top-shelf spirits, this café/bar in Ganja rates as one of the more active places in the city to unwind. Expect the menu to be in Azerbaijani and to rely on gestures to order.
The small local pub/restaurant located on the outskirts of Ganja sits near both Fuzuli and Martyrs Park. Visitors might not have a world-class experience inside this small and basic bar in Ganja, but they serve cheap drinks and a good selection of food. Piramida isn’t the type of pub to make a special trip to visit. Instead, consider popping in for a drink when exploring the nearby parks.
The Gold Pub Club is approximately 2 kilometres (1.24 miles) northeast of City Hall and Ganja’s Main Square. While the bar itself is a small neighbourhood pub, it provides a local experience. Expect zero English and basic decorations with a very traditional atmosphere.
In the heart of Ganja sits the prominent Khan’s Garden. Once the private grounds of Javad Khan, the last of the Ganja Khanates, and now a shady park with tall trees, it’s a haven for locals of all ages to come and relax. A small café/bar towards the front of the park serves coffee and bottled beer with both indoor and al fresco seating areas. Affordable drink prices and the location make it one of the locals’ favourite bars in Ganja.
Head to Chicago in the evening and the café transforms into a vibrant bar and cocktail lounge. Any visitor who wants an active night out will enjoy the atmosphere at Chicago Karaoke Kafé. Expect the prices to be slightly higher compared to some of the other bars in Ganja, but they’re still very affordable when put into context.
It’s worth mentioning that most bars in Ganja aren’t advertised. Some line the river and have outdoor areas located throughout the city. But coming across reliable information in advance can be a challenge. The best option might be to ask a local after arriving in Ganja, especially for those wanting to enjoy live music.