One of Europe’s least-visited capital cities will surprise the keen drinker with its eclectic range of up-and-coming bars to visit. Nights out in Minsk are cheap, fun, lively and diverse. Stick to the city centre here with this list of superb joints in which to drink, chat, eat and party the night away in the Belarusian capital.
Restaurant U Ratushy, Minsk
Bar, Russian, $$$
U Ratushy, Minsk | Courtesy of Restaurant U Ratushy
While it might sound like a restaurant, this is more of a cool hangout for beer drinkers. It’s a famous bar in Minsk, which gets busy on weekends. Locals and visitors alike, drink, eat and mingle across U Ratushy’s two floors. Live music is also played in front of a lively crowd in a busy and cosy venue. U Ratushy is perfectly located in the city centre, not far from the River Svislach.
Graffiti is a trendy bar and restaurant which attracts good crowds at the weekend. It’s not located centrally but easily reachable by public transport and worth the trip. Inside, there are live DJs and music, the style of which varies from night to night. Indeed, the venue has hosted rock’n’roll nights, rap evenings and ’90s-style dance parties. Rock bands typically play gigs here and create a lively atmosphere. There is cheap beer, a good range of alcoholic drinks and the staff is welcoming and friendly. There is often a cover charge for big shows.
As cosy and quirky a venue as you can find in the Belarusian capital, ID Bar does its best to lure you in with great cocktails and hearty food. If you happen to visit on a themed night, such as Halloween, be ready for a huge party with locals dressing up in style. Work your way through ID Bar’s range of cocktails, party with the locals and enjoy relaxing in a beautifully designed venue with a unique vibe.
To make up for the fact that Minsk’s original and much-loved Drozhi United Irish Pub is now closed, ‘Clever’ has stepped in to fill the void. Despite almost being a play on the Irish word ‘Clover’, the venue is actually a clever representation of an Irish Pub. You might feel like you have been warped to the emerald isle here on the streets of Minsk. Inside, you can expect a wooden decor with plenty of green colour. Football scarves adorn the walls, good pub grub is served and there is Guinness on tap. There are special events held here, including a St. Patrick’s Day celebration, and don’t be surprised to see the regulars dancing on the bar and partying in style.
TNT Rock Club, Minsk | Courtesy of TNT Rock Club, Minsk
Live rock music, late-night drinking, happy staff and a vibrant atmosphere are what TNT Rock Club is all about. This consistently busy venue is one of the coolest hangouts in Belarus. With a large range of spirits behind the bar and late opening hours on weekends, you won’t go thirsty here. The bands that play here also love to hang around for a post-gig drink, so it’s a very sociable bar to mingle and meet new people.
Let your hair down, sip exquisite cocktails and feel at home in the cosy Embargo Bar. Embargo is situated in central Minsk and attracts all sorts of characters. Top-notch bartenders can serve up well-prepared cocktails, the food menu is vast with some great local soups and ice cold beers are standard. It’s a splendid venue to let your hair down after a busy working week.
Staramiescki Pivavar | Courtesy of Staramiescki Pivavar
Staramiescki Pivavar is a bar for the beer lovers who visit and live in Minsk. It has a great selection of home brewed beer which can be hard to find in Belarus. As well as the frothy beers on tap, there are large helpings on the food menu – even the starters are large. Staff are friendly and welcoming and they understand a better level of English than most venues in the city. The menu isn’t in English, but if it’s good beer you want, just ask the bar staff who will tell you exactly what each draft beer tastes like.
This bar, Insomnia, is the place that ‘never sleeps’, at least until 5 a.m. that is. It is located in an intriguing building which used to have a different little shop in every window, dating back to the 18th century. These days, it has been transformed into a truly warm and cosy venue with some extraordinary little features. There is a good cocktail menu, a decent choice of beers and some local food options, including the famous draniki (Belarusian potato pancakes).
Cherdak is a central bar in Minsk with a relaxing and soulful vibe to it. It is a strictly no smoking venue with great cocktails. The cocktails are served in jars and cups. The direct translation into English means “attic” and so this is an upstairs venue with good music, comfortable seating and a pleasant ambience. The food menu features delicious pub grub such as burgers, chicken nuggets and salads. Cherdak is open until 5 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays.