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Cool Places To Hang Out In 5 Major Belarusian Cities, Locals Recommend

As warm weather in Belarus is gone with the wind, it is time to put sightseeing off and hit some indoor places. Speaking of which we are not going to mention Zybitskaya or other well-known Minsk sites. It’s not only the capital where you can have fun.

Locals from five major Belarusian cities – Homel, Mahiliou, Viciebsk, Hrodna and Brest – recommend the coolest spots to hang out.

Homel

It’s a great idea to start with Homel, the second largest city in Belarus in terms of population. Be sure, there’re plenty of spots here which will surprise you (in a good way).

For example, VSE KAK ON LUBIT, an unusual bar which is difficult to find and get in.

 

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Публикация от Все как он любит (@allheloves)

You’ll see neither a signboard nor even the slightest hint about where it is. The door is always closed so you need to ring a doorbell first thing. You’ll be asked a question (“Who are you coming to?”) and only after giving the answer (“To him”) you’ll be allowed to come in.

But according to numerous – and most often favourable – reviews it’s definitely worth the effort! The bar is downstairs, in a basement. Here you can not only taste original dishes and smoke a flavorful hookah but also have a nice chat with one of the guests at the communal table.

Read also: Where to eat after midnight? Minsk nightlife guide for your cravings

Need some air? Welcome to VOZDUH art studio. A friendly and peaceful atmosphere of this place will certainly help to awaken your creativity. Besides master classes on painting and ceramics, VOZDUH often arranges wonderful craft markets where you can buy unique goods made by local craftspeople.

 

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Публикация от ВОЗДУХ | Творческая мастерская (@studiovozduh)

While strolling around the park where The Palace of the Rumyantsevs and the Paskeviches – perhaps the most famous sight of Homel’s – is situated, stop by KVARTIRNIK. It perfectly suits those chasing the best parties and cool concerts.

Drop in THE CLER, a tiny (merely 23 sqm) but cozy coffee shop in the downtown. It serves fresh éclairs for all tastes and coffee made in an alternative way with a cold layer at the bottom and a hot one at the top. Moreover, here – in contrast to other coffee houses in Homel – you can find vegan latte and cappuccino on the basis of soya milk.

Mahiliou

Let’s go counterclockwise, to the north, where Mahiliou is situated.

The city, which in the first half of the 20th century had every chance to become the capital of Belarus, is now not so much about ‘hustle and bustle’. Anyway, you can enjoy its own pace.

 

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Публикация от THE CHURCHILL | Ресто-бар (@bar.churchill)

Passing by the Spartak Stadium you’re likely to come across a loft-style coffee shop MIR, 23. You can either grab a snack on the premises and enjoy the atmosphere of freedom created by interior minimalism, or take it away and continue doing the sights.

When ready for a cocktail go straight to CHURCHILL, a classy English-style bar. Guests are greeted by Sir Winston himself, squinting at them from a huge portrait on the wall.

 

BEZ BASHNI is probably the most sophisticated bar in the city. Not a vestige of provinciality: BBB (as it’s used to be called by the locals) can compete with those of Zybitskaya in Minsk. The menu includes more than a hundred cocktails, exclusive nastoykas – hot spirits infused with herbs and berries – and popular snacks.

 

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BEZ BASHNI is a trendy spot which shows the best correlation with all these around-the-corner bars Belarusians could only see in foreign movies till recently. The place is perfect to catch up with friends — or chat with the cute stranger next to you at a bar counter.

Read also: 7 romantic places in Minsk for perfect autumn dates

And maybe – just maybe – walk together to a brand-new spot SEL I S’EL  near Glory Square, grab some coffee and, warming your hands with it, watch how the city lights are reflected in the Dniepr.

Viciebsk

Ready for the next stopover? Then welcome to incredibly beautiful Viciebsk. Honestly, we’re not exaggerating: it’s so gorgeous that you won’t have a desire to get distracted from strolling around its streets.

 

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Публикация от 🍳 BREVIS BAR 🍷 VITEBSK 🍽 (@brevisbar)

Nevertheless, we’ve got a couple of variants which are likely to fit into your plans in this city. In the very centre of Vitebsk, just a few steps from the Victory square there’s BRAVIS, a spacious three-lounged bar situated in the historical 19th-century building.

It is presented as a place where you won’t be bored and, at the same time, can press pause on life, which by the way is easy to do to the accompaniment of jazz music being played here.

A fine alternative to Bravis could be UGOL 90, a two-storey gastro bar with an eclectic industrial interior, where you take pleasure in everything – the music, the atmosphere, the view out of panoramic windows, but more importantly, the food.

 

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Публикация от Гастрономический бар «УГØL 90» (@ugol.90)

Vitebsk is often referred to as the cultural capital of Belarus for a reason. After a proper meal, it would be a good idea to have some food for thought.

Read also: Top 5 places to get drunk in Minsk, by East European magazine

Head to the art space SEVEN  that somewhat resembles the legendary La Ruche in Paris – a pavilion where artists and writers used to rent their studios at the beginning of the 20th century.

However, unlike La Ruche, SEVEN is not a residence but a gallery which always holds great expositions. That’s definitely a place for a creative non-conformist get-together.

Hrodna

When done with the eastern part of the country it’s time to go west.

Here is Hrodna perhaps, the most European-looking city in Belarus. Its center, which, despite the devastations of World War II, is well preserved, often serves as a location for shooting historical movies.

 

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Публикация от ПРОСТО КОФЕ (@just_coffee_grodno)

But it’s not only film directors who are attracted to Hrodna. Plenty of tourists are flocking to the city to feel its charm. To have a bird’s eye view of Hrodna – and thus get acquainted with it – you should go up to one of the biggest observation decks in Belarus which is on the rooftop of the department store NEMAN.

Read also: Grodno and around: 19 cozy ideas for 5-day trip

Apart from a promenade zone, there’s also an open-air cafe KRYSHA MIRA, which, however, doesn’t work during a cold season.

Gastrobar HOUDINI has so many positve reviews, you immediately feel like checking it out. Since the very opening, it’s been a mecca for Instagram bloggers because of an extremely ‘photogenic’ restroom with floor-to-ceiling mirrors. Nevertheless, not only can you take some photos which will get dozens of likes or order nice food and drinks, here’s also a wonderful opportunity to party hard on Fridays and Saturdays.   

Having a cup of freshly brewed coffee a stone’s throw from a magnificent castle built in the 18th century? The dream will come true if you come over to PROSTA KAVA  – the pioneer of high-quality coffee shop movement in Hrodna. Besides hot beverages, the guests are offered home-made chocolates.

 

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If night falls and you still thirst for some vibrant atmosphere, hit BAZA, the most popular nightclub in the city. It can boast of good DJs, an excellent sound and light, and hosting famous musicians from time to time.

Brest

And the last but, surely, not the least is Brest, which is well-known to everyone, who’s into history. Its background is hard to overestimate. But its current life deserves attention as well.

There’d been plenty of coffee houses in Brest but not a single confectionary… until GRAN CAFE  opened this summer.

 

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Публикация от GRAN CAFFÈ (@gran_caffe_brest)

That is a coffee and pastry shop which serves various sorts of coffee, including the rare ones, and a huge choice of desserts getting renewed depending on a season and chef’s fantasy.

So if you’re going to binge on delicious pastry and have some fun to play board games with friends, don’t forget to come over.

Stay on Sovetskaya street till sunset and you’ll have every chance to meet a lamplighter, a person who lights street gas lamps. This old-time performance is undoubtedly surrounded by subtle romantic vibes.

Read also: Brest and around: 5 great ideas how to spend 10 visa-free days

Crave for a substantial meal? Then you’ll certainly like JULES VERNE  – not the famous French author but an excellent (not snobbish though) restaurant in the city centre.

 

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For something more active and noisy welcome to CHESTNAYA PINTA pub. Fresh draught beer, live music and a classic British interior with brutal brick walls and wooden furniture attract plenty of visitors. Occasionally the pub throws theme parties: with Irish dances, contests, and prizes.

It’s so nice all of a sudden to get surrounded by blooming plants on a nasty fall day. Mission impossible? Not at all. THE WINTER GARDEN  is at your service. Three climatic zones – tropical, subtropical and desert – along with a pinch of imagination will help you to relax as if you were at a summer resort.

So don’t waste your time. Hop on the bus or train to any of these fascinating areas and get ready for an unforgettable adventure!


Text by Galya Lukashevich