Grodno is a charming city in western Belarus where it is well worth spending a couple of days to explore. It’s a handy stopover for anyone en route from Minsk to Białystok in Poland. The city’s sights keep you occupied during the day, from the leafy park to the riverside to Lenin Square. But come nightfall, Grodno is full of surprises, and this list of bars shows the real diversity of one of Belarus’s most up-and-coming cities.
Situated near the city’s Old Castle and New Castle, Nesterka is a trendy bar attracting a lively crowd. Once inside the building, head up the stairs to the cosy bar, which has a few Belarusian beers on tap, a good range of bottled beer and an international range of shots and spirits. On one of the tabletops sits a game console where customers can play classics like Street Fighter II and Mario Kart. The venue has Wi-Fi, comfy seating and a friendly staff. The food menu is based around falafel, kebabs and burgers.
Bar Faraday is one of the coolest themed bars in Grodno. A truly artistic interior and with a scientific theme, and some truly unusually served products, your burger comes on a piece of wood with a knife stuck through it. Cocktails are served in odd looking cups and glasses with faces on them, and a tea is served with a scarf round it. Expect some of the most creative drink and food options in Belarus here and a décor that owes its innovation to Michael Faraday himself. To top it all off, the venue stays open until 4am during the week and until 6am at weekends. It’s the coolest bar in town.
A little bit of England right in Grodno is evident at the somewhat swanky London Pub. It has leather seats, a wooden bar and a huge London underground map on the ceiling. Prices here tend to be a bit higher than in the more local pubs, but you get the treat of some British and Irish beers on tap, English pub food and live football. London Pub also attracts a good mix of locals, expatriates and tourists, so it is a good place to mingle.
For an upmarket option if you have a bit of money to play with, head to Werden Gastrobar. This bar boasts the best craft beers in the city as well as an accompanying food menu with all sorts of unusual options. These include Korean kimchi, a white duck burger and soup with coconut milk and shrimp. Werden Gastrobar prides itself on creativity. The venue adapts to the newest trends in cooking, and they aim to supply their customers with a ‘window’ into European and Asian cuisine. Werden Gastrobar promises no imitations or compromises, only original recipes with fresh ingredients.
On a prominent corner near Lenin Square on the popular Soviet Street sits a cosy little venue known as The Tavern. Here, you can try some of the finest Belarusian dishes as well as a range of beers on tap and some local vodka. It is a very popular venue at weekends for lunch and dinner and has a cosy, warm traditional interior. Try the local ale, the Old Bobby and the Solyanka soup – it’s delicious.
For a country that has been through Communist times itself, the irony of a commercial bar called Cuba in the city seems to pass the locals by. That’s probably because once you are inside its doors, all that is forgotten. Prepare for great Cuban rum, a lively atmosphere, live music and friendly locals enjoying a good time. The bar also holds special events and themed nights, with St. Patrick’s Day being celebrated in style here. Cuban items dominate the bar’s décor, giving it a Caribbean feel, but when you wander outside in the cold of winter and realise that there are no seaside beaches in landlocked Belarus, you understand that the bar is as close as it gets.
One of the best bars in Grodno is the stylish bar that is part of the city’s Neman Hotel. It is open to the public and has some cosy booths, a long bar with stools and a lower floor with no windows. The beer choice includes Belarusian beers but also some interesting foreign imports including Murphy’s Irish Stout. The food menu also has a range of local and international options.
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