A struggle familiar to only those individuals that return to Tbilisi frequently is finding out where the best new bars are. Tbilisi’s nightlife changes at an incredibly rapid pace that leaving the city even for six months renders your knowledge of the nightlife pretty useless. Unlike other cities, Tbilisi does not have a designated nightlife space other than shitty tourist zones that are best avoided. Bars are spread out across the city with no rhyme or reason. They exist in locations that are not easily stumbled upon and often impossible to find unless someone can guide you. If you’re so lucky to know someone, then you’ll find out that Tbilisi is so much more than just techno music – it is brilliant for all sorts of parties.
What is so enjoyable about Tbilisi’s shape-shifting and ever-evolving nightlife scene is that it reflects so much of the social changes in the Georgian capital. With the nightlife in Tbilisi changing almost every six months, bars offer a snapshot of where the city is at that specific moment in time and what issues are defining its citizens. Increasingly, sexual, class, and other political struggles manifest themselves through bars operating as spaces to reflect one’s political interests. Bars become not only the spaces where people drink and celebrate but commit to particular beliefs and lifestyle choices.
Working with that understanding, we can only offer a snapshot into what is going on in Tbilisi at this particular moment. Eventually, this list will be out of date and useless to anyone trying to grasp what Tbilisi is all about. However, if you’re so lucky to be in Tbilisi at the time of the publishing of this article then I can promise you that each of these bars will offer an insight into just how fascinating Tbilisi is.
Meoba sits just behind the Opera house on an inconspicuous corner that most people would pass by completely , unaware that a bar sat there. Originally, it was intended just to be a pop-up project but quickly emerged as one of Tbilisi’s most diverse and popular bars. Lacking any pretension, it is a bar that is accessible and full of fun. They have an amazing vinyl party during the fall and winter almost weekly.
I’m completely torn about face control policies, mostly because they overwhelmingly are used to exclude marginalized people. They are justified by people in Tbilisi because of the often-volatile politics of nightlife. If you can pass it, then inside Drama you find certainly Tbilisi’s most stylish and trend-setting bar/club. The neon-soaked lights that Drama trenches itself in gives Tbilisi a dash of Gasper Noel-influence in more ways than one.
For anyone that has spent a long time in Tbilisi, there is a familiar feel to Mozaika. Tbilisi has always had a good contingency of bars that caters to deep intellectual conversations, introspective confessions, and maybe a kiss or two. In the great tradition of Salva and Parimze, Mozaika keeps up this history of providing a space where individuals elevate their intellectual faculties.
If you’ve spent any time in Georgia this summer, then you certainly spend most nights drinking at Bauhaus to the sounds of Rejje Snow, Roosevelt, and King Krule. I can only imagine how many Tinder dates started off so well there until they were interrupted by their friends wanting to share a table. The beautiful space in the street across from the Dry Market in the park is the place to begin and end most of your nights in Tbilisi in a stream of friends, mutual acquaintances, and soon-to-be lovers.
Micro-brew really has built a reputation of being one of the most douchey cultures around with fashion bearded-arseholes ranting about the hops. It’s all a bit much. However, after one too many nights of drinking Argo, you tend to start needing something a bit more substantive. This small Belarusian-owned bar really helps fulfill this need with a host of different beers on tap and brilliant food to soak it all up with. They host a good Monday night party weekly and the staff is mad friendly. With their compact space, you’re bound to make a couple new Facebook friends.