14 years ago I arrived in Kiev for the first time. After unpacking my suitcase I headed out from the Hotel Ukraine and down to Khreshchatyk.
Back in the day I had a knack of seeking out offbeat watering holes. Within 30 minutes I found myself in a bar called Art Club 44. For the next 10 years it would be one of my regular haunts.
The war and troubles started in 2014 and, due to the downturn in tourism, I stopped work this website and did other things. In 2015 was disappointed to learn from afar that Art Club 44 had closed.
Fast forward to January 2017. Tourism has picked up and I’m working on this website again. I found myself with a former girlfriend on Khreshchatyk looking for somewhere to have a drink. It was midweek and minus 15 outside. We tried a few bars but all were deserted.
My companion suggested Art Club 44. I told her it was closed, but she swore blindly it was still open. She said she’d been in there the previous week. I was pretty baffled, but she’s a clever girl and was sober. I took her word for it and we made our way there.
There was a bit of confusion when we arrived. It was pitch black and we couldn’t find the door. It was only when a departing customer opened it that we realised were in the right place.
We made our way downstairs and indeed it was still open. Only it was now called Barman Dictat (Bartender Dictatorship).
It seemed to have changed quite a lot since its Art Club 44 days. The long bar was still there but had been upgraded. The shelves behind it were stacked with almost every spirt under the sun.
We were offered a menu with a bewildering selection of drinks and cocktails we both stuck to familiar territory. I was drinking cider (Belgian Stassen Pear Cider) at 65 UAH per bottle while my friend was having glasses of Spanish red (Lar De Paula Rioja) at 95 UAH for a 150 ml glass. Service was friendly and quick.
There was a live band on, as I understand there is most evenings. They were pretty good and were mainly performing cover songs. The volume was just at the right level; not so loud you couldn’t have a decent conversation.
Since I was last in Kiev the smoking ban is pretty much widely enforced. Barman Dictat have got around it and converted one of the former drinking areas into a dedicated smoking room. It’s a good feature for smokers like myself.
In summary, Barman Dictat is a great bar and I will be definitely be returning in the future.
Barman Dictat is situated in Kiev city centre at 44 Khreshchatyk. It’s actually in a courtyard off the street. Once you’re in the courtyard head to the doorway of the building on your left.
Click here for a detailed map showing all points of interest.
Nearest Metro Station(s): Khreschatyk, Palats Sportu, Ploshcha Lva Tolstoho, Teatralna