Bars visited and reviewed by local party-goer Nini Sparsiashvili
I would be lying if I told you that this place and I shared deep historical ties. Still, it brings back fun memories and reminds me of the friendly environment from the past which will inspire you to keep going back to Saelcho. The place is swarming with tourists, of course, so you may have already heard of it. And even if you have not, you may just bump into Saelcho while wandering the streets, because it is located in one of the most popular touristic areas of the city, Sololaki.
The atmosphere here, however, is home-like. This place will make you forget sipping your cocktails slowly and will turn you into a rapid shot-quaffing drinker of tequila or Jägermeister, with beer or even wine as a possible follow-up. Everything here costs between 4 and 10 GEL. The aura of comfort and friendliness must be stemming from the bar’s owner and his friends—just a brief exchange of remarks with them shows that they are happy folk with a great sense of humor, who organize frequent jazz events, and invite Georgian musicians, both contemporary and traditional, also holding GoT screenings together with their patrons.
And if they are looking for the next fun thing to do, they may announce an elarji stretching contest. You may have heard of elarji, Georgian grits with melted cheese, something similar to Italian polenta, though the Georgian stuff, mixed with cheese, can be stretched infinitely like pizza dough.
20 Paolo Iashvili Street, Tbilisi
Saelcho is open every day, from noon to 1 AM
Call: 577 99 94 09
In the House of Melik-Azaryants
The former residence of 19th century Tbilisi-based grand merchant Melik-Azaryants (see Adventurer #2 for the detailed history of this building) presently houses two famous bars, which is why a sense of duality haunts you as you are having fun here. In other words, on one hand, you are in an old house suffused with history, and on the other you are enjoying contemporary music and a bird’s eye view of modern Tbilisi.
Prince is your kind of bar if you prefer cozily dim places to have a drink or two and spend quality time with friends. Attending events here guarantees participation in oodles of fun, though fun is in the air here even without special events. The bar offers a wide range of drinks, various cocktails and shots depending on your mood and choice that will cost you somewhere between 5 and 15 GEL.
At Prince, you will be served by very polite and joyful personnel fluent in the English language. Thus, before heading to Prince, make sure you are in the mood for drinking, entertainment, and fun.
37 Rustaveli Avenue
The bar is open from 7 pm to 4 AM on Fridays and Saturdays and from 7 pm to 3 AM on weekdays and Sundays
Call: 593 16 70 57
If, after having sated yourself with drinking and having fun at Prince, you feel like doing something different—like intense dancing in a more club-like setup—all you have to do is drop by Drama Bar next door. This place is also frequented by electronic music fans who, for whatever reason, don’t exactly feel like listening to heavy music in a big club today. And this is when Drama Bar, with its less club-like evening atmosphere, rises to the occasion.
The place often features excellent, talented Georgian and foreign DJs, still it is mostly Georgians gigging here. Sunday is reserved for rookie musicians, as though giving them a chance to test their skills, to see what communication with the audience and grabbing the listener is about.
Drama Bar charges an entrance fee, between 10 and 20 GEL. The only problem there can be face control. The only reason I can think of why one would not be admitted is that Drama Bar is pretty small. Other than that, I see no other explanation. Some people pass face control on one day, but are denied entry the following day. Just give it a shot, and see the drama at Drama Bar.
37 Rustaveli Avenue
Open from 10 pm to 3 am on Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays and from 10 P.M. to 2 A.M. on Sundays.
Dose differs from the bars above in that it is located in Old Tbilisi, a neighborhood with lots of tourists. In the morning, you can enjoy a cup of tea with desserts or sandwiches. Keep in mind that they also carry special green coffee beans roasted on demand. The bar’s atmosphere is ideal to start your morning with jazz, soft music, and recurring light changes at specific times of day. In the evening, the place does a 180 degree turn and offers a totally different atmosphere. Along with lighting, music also switches mostly to techno, with the spirit of active rest in the air.
I recommend the bar’s eponymous specialty cocktail, Dose, keeping the ingredients a secret to let it surprise you, though you should know in advance that it is a sugarless drink. The drinks here, for the most part, are granulated sugar-free and made from fruits. Everyone is crazy about Dose’s organic wines in line with the bar’s sugar-free traditions, of course.
4 Ivane Machabeli Str.
Open from 8 am to 2 am on Fridays and Saturdays and from 8 am to midnight on weekdays and Sundays
Call: 591 78 50 50
The strongest tourist attraction point of Bari-Barshi, in my opinion, is that it hosts events and gigs featuring numerous talented Georgian musicians and performers. Film screenings, including large-screen GoT battle scenes, followed by discussions, go perfectly with alcohol, something this place certainly does not lack. Besides standard cocktails and shots, the bar offers a variety of unique drinks you cannot find anywhere else, simply because they come up with these drinks on their own, and even choose funky names for them, such as Sex on the Bar, I’ll Stay with My Girlfriend, I’m Driving, and Van Gogh.
The prices here are moderate and acceptable, with drinks costing from 4 GEL to 15-18 GEL tops.
9 Kikodze Street
Open from 6 PM to 3 AM on Fridays and Saturdays and from 6 pm to 1 AM on weekdays and Sundays
Call: 591 99 72 67