Grodno is one of Belarus’s hidden charms, away from the busier cities of Minsk and Babruysk. The city is in the far west of the country, less than 20 miles from the Poland border, and has started thriving, due, in part, to the new visa-free option, which has led to a new wave of quirky and cosy café openings, each with a decent drop of fresh coffee.
The staff at Coffee Mania pride themselves on the good coffee and the friendly and safe place to relax. The combination makes for one of the coolest little coffee shops in the city with impressive art displayed on the brick walls and shelves filled with antiques. The staff serve up a range of coffees, teas and desserts. Visit Coffee Mania on popular Soviet Street.
Klever is a family-friendly coffee shop and bakery in central Grodno, also on Soviet Street. Inside, visitors can expect some superb sweet cakes, imported tea and a wide range of coffee options. But, perhaps the best thing about Klever is the atmosphere and design; it is an open space with a wooden outdoor garden, terrace and balcony. In the summer, it’s a great place for a caramel macchiato and a slice of chocolate cake.
Starlight Cafe is more than just a café – it’s one of the coolest restaurants in Grodno that also happens to have speciality coffees and teas. The food menu is vast, and they are famous for their superb pizza. Try an iced chocolate mocha with a Hawaiian pizza, and you can’t go wrong. Milkshakes, salads and desserts are also popular in the cosy setting, which is suitable for families, digital nomads and everyday tourists.
Not far from the Neman River, Kafe Raskosha offers open plan seating with a well-lit interior and, of course, great drinks. Brick walls, large windows and low-hanging lamps set the scene for the well-dressed and well-trained staff who serve up great teas and coffees every day. Come nightfall, Kafe Raskosha transforms into a drinking den, with plenty of beer, wine and spirit choices.
Kofeynya Ya roughly translates to “I Coffee House” in English, which kind of works, as this is a fun place to hang out alone or with friends. It’s comfortable and has plenty of coffee choices, as well as Wi-Fi. The food options range from cakes to pastries to toasted sandwiches to muesli with fruit. It’s a popular hangout for young students, and it’s is one of the few cafés in the city with a decent Instagram feed.
Head to the Shakespeare Café (Kofeynya “Shekspir”) for a quaint venue on the other side of the famous Lenin Square, where you can read books as you sip your latte. This traditional coffee house is set inside one of the city’s theatres and provides patrons with plenty of reading materials in several languages, including Russian, Belarusian, Polish and English. Visitors can order coffee, tea, beer or wine, as well as some snacks. It’s close to a park that has a beer garden, so it’s also a nice venue in the summer.
Nasha Kava is a no frills coffee shop near the main church in Grodno, and some of the staff have trained as baristas in Minsk. They have specialty coffees, many of which they serve hot or cold, and patrons can also enjoy tasty pastries (the cheesecake is said to be outstanding). Nasha Kava has Wi-Fi that many like to take advantage of, so be sure to get in early.