Dimly lit bars in Tbilisi, hidden in the first floor of townhouses and carparks, form part of the underbelly of Georgian alternative culture. The best bars in Tbilisi come in different shapes and sizes: sultry gay bars and swanky hotel lounges to open-air venues. Scratch into the surface of Tbilisi’s bar scene and you will begin to understand the transformation the city is experiencing at lightning speed.
Our guide to the best bars in Tbilisi
The bartender jigs around to disco, braids piled on top of his head, wearing a vintage DHL sweater. Ambavi’s atmosphere is relaxed and trendy. Tucked just off Freedom Square on the first floor of a townhouse, it is quickly becoming one of the best bars in Tbilisi among many of the city’s cooler residents. With dimmed lights and a collision of decorations, Ambavi likes to be cool.
Open 6pm – 2am. Find it: Galaktion Tabidze 12
Influencers strike poses reclining on bar stalls. Office workers in suits and pencil dresses, who haunt the swankier bars of Tbilisi, discuss the weekly happenings sipping whiskey and cocktails on sofas in the lounge area. Rooms hotel is chic and it wants you to know it. The cocktails are some of the pricier in Tbilisi, but it’s worth it for a night of luxury. The porn star martini is especially good.
Open until 2am. Find it: 14 Merab Kostava Street
Drama Bar is a popular pre-party venue before heading to Bassiani, Khidi, or Mtkvari. Dancers pack its outside terrace and dancefloor during the weekend. The bar turned club has a similar layout to a flat, even with a double bed in one of the rooms. Drama Bar is trying hard to earn the reputation of being Tbilisi’s hippest bar. Walking up the two flights of tiled stairs, you are greeted by a bouncer, wearing a pink bomber jacket and an earpiece. He instructs you to look into the camera, after which you will be allowed to enter or turned away. There is no rhyme or reason to its face control but it helps to go in small gender-balanced groups and look hip. The door policy is partly to protect the regulars, many of whom are part of the LGBTQ community, from unwanted attention.
Open 9pm – 3am. Find it: 37 Shota Rustaveli Ave
The courtyard at Fabrika comes alive in evenings, especially during the summer months. Tourists and locals fill the entire space drinking beers and wine from some of the liveliest bars in Tbilisi. Dive Bar is popular for its dark chacha, aged in oak barrels for 3 years before hitting the lips of its victims. They also do a hoppy IPA or dark stout for 5 lari. Tone has decent house Saparavi whilst Tsibakha Game Club serves tasty beer for 3 lari and has plenty of board games including cards against humanity.
Open until 2am. Find it: 8 Egnate Ninoshvili
Dark, red, desire. Success Bar is Georgia’s only official gay bar with one rule: Guests are required to treat other people with respect, regardless of their gender identity, sexual orientation, sexual characteristics, gender expressions or otherwise. The quality of music ranges from pumping electronic beats to staff playing a youtube barrage of Madonna and Abba. One thing is clear, this is a special bar in Tbilisi that bravely stands out from Georgian conservatism. And, it’s a whole lot of fun, darling.
Open 9pm – late (sometimes 4am). Find it: Vashlovani Street
Walking into a dimly lit car park with stray dogs barking from the shadows, it’s easy to think you’ve come to the wrong place. But fear not, tucked away in a ramshackle house, is Dive Bar, one of the homeliest bars in Tbilisi. A log fire crackles in the corner as regulars enjoy many pints of beer. The beer pong is also especially popular in the summer. Towards the end of a night, the atmosphere can unfortunately sometimes turn a bit sour. Nonetheless, the beer is good.
Open 9pm – late. Find it: 12 Revaz Laghidze Street
9 MTA may have some of the priciest beer of any bar in Tbilisi, but it also serves some of the best. They offer over 20 craft beers from all over the world such as Brewdog from the UK and White Ghost from Berlin. The industrially designed restaurant is especially popular with expats who sink their favourite craft beers for less money than in their home country. Board games, table football, and screens showing live sports keep guests entertained.
Open 9am – 2pm. Find it: 10 Galaktion Tabidze Street
There is a corner of Deane Park that transforms after dark. People dance on tables and breakdance on the floor. The slopes and steps surrounding the bar become a wave of movement pulsating in time to techno or hiphop. Bauhaus is the perfect outdoor party in summer, when many clubs in Tbilisi shut their doors and the idea of dancing to dingy techno becomes less appealing. It also remains open in winter with an indoor bar.
Open 6pm – 2am. Find it: Dedaenis Bagi
Bauhaus’ more mature little sister run by the same parents, Politika is both swanky and cool. The modern interior makes a stark contrast to the grey austere exterior of the building. On weekends, its event space hosts live music events. Here, the cocktails are good, and the spirits are strong.
Open 11am – 2am. Find it: 164 Agmashenebeli Avenue