Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Chick Kiev

When a lot of my friends got married I went on a succession of stag weekends mainly across Europe. These included favourites such as Prague, Amsterdam, Edinburgh, Newquay, Nottingham, Las Vegas, Munich and Ibiza. I have not been lucky enough to visit the new vogue stag places such as Tallin or Krakow, I think they are going to need to be very special to beat Kiev.

When six bored Dubai boys chose to go on a lads weekend away the choice of destination is very interesting. We looked at Goa, Cape Town, Larnarca, Moscow and Sri Lanka - but Kiev looked to be a winner on a combination of flight length, cost, drinks costs and accommodation cost.

I think we were all a little apprehensive as to what to expect. While I have been to Moscow a number of times I had yet to go to the Ukraine. So armed with the Russian for:

Yes "Da"
No - "Niet"
Thank You - "Spas-c-ba"
Beer - "Peeva"

and some dollars in our back pocket off we went.

One of the lads had done some research prior to going for places to go and things to see. My own research yielded little so I thought I would write a couple of short pen reviews of the places we went.

Sam's Steak House:

Lonely planet call this place the provider of the best All Day Cooked breakfast in Kiev. Our visit proved that they no longer do this and we waited for more than one hour for our food. This was to become a trademark of the trip. Food and Drink service in restaurants is slow - in fact - incredibly slow. Though the burgers were quite tasty upon their eventual arrival.

Overall 6/10 - Tasty food but slow service

Arena

A large complex in the city centre offering shopping, casinos, restaurants and the obligatory night club. We chose to eat at the Sports Zone and were treated to a great view across the central plaza. yet again incredibly slow service but tasty food when we finally got it.

Take your pick:


Overall 7/10 - A little something for everyone


Shooters

A raucous anything goes night club. No dress code seemed to attract a mixed and fun clientèle all fuelled by the free vodka and red bull on arrival. The music ranges from Timberlake to Techno House and crazy dancing is positively encouraged. No need to get their early - it is open till 6am.

Overall - 9/10 Party Heaven though the free Red Bull vodka was a bit strange tasting

Patipah

Seemingly a throwback to the hard core techno dance clubs in the UK from early 90s. Everyone with raised hands to the DJs, dancers in strange masked costumes and underlying "edge" to the whole place. This was punctuated by two brawls in the space of five minutes. This and the a lot of chaps with mullets and muscle tops made the decision that this was not the place for us to hang out. If you are 18-23 you will probably love it - otherwise there are plenty of other places to go.

Overall 5/10 - I left behind hard core techno house music and brawling in bars a very long time ago

Chocolade

A hip and trendy bar/restaurant. A great place to go and warm up and with a funky pre-party set of patrons. The bar attracts a very good looking crowd though for some reason the local boys here were wearing Sun glasses and naval captain caps. The girls however all looked they had just come off a fashion shoot.

Overall 9/10 - Chic venue with tasty drinks and food. Docked one point for lack of English menus

CeйФ

An ultra hip Sushi restaurant with a name I can not pronounce. It seems that eating sushi in Kiev is the height of sophistication and this is certainly a great place to do it. We encountered the best service yet though were disappointed that their steak dishes were off that evening. Interestingly this place stays open late and it is possible to get raw fish at 4am in the morning should the desire strike you. The restaurant is also situated close by a number of other up market clubs and restaurants.

Overall 8/10 - Great food and decent service thought the cigar smoke from other patrons was a little off putting

Decadence

I have saved the best for last. The most exclusive night club in Kiev marked by a $30 entry fee. However this seemed positively the best $30 any of us spent over the weekend.The club's decor is luxurious with mood lighting and rich leather sofas. Ladies looking like super models lazily ate sushi before dancing like show girls. This is the only nightclub I have ever been to where the number of "hot" girls out strip the number of guys present. It was hard not enjoy it as a red blooded male. It also helped the most of the Ukrainian guys in this placed looked they had come directly out of a Karama clothes store with crew cuts and dance moves from the eighties. Drinks were reasonably priced and their was a very relaxed mood in the club - certainly the place to be seen and to see. This was without doubt the best night club I have ever been too and was a little sad when it petered out at only 4am. Shame. This place is like every man's fantasy. You wont believe it until you go. This club is everything "The Appartment" wants to be in Dubai but fails to deliver.

Rating 10/10 - The zenith of night clubs

After one particularly late night I was too "ill" to move. While I was lying in bed some of the lads went to see Dynamo Kiev play. Here is Quintin's prose on the trip:

"Some of the boys managed to catch a game at the local stadium which is a nice mid size arena set in a small park. The fellas were expecting to see a large amount of raucous fans and get involved in some serious booze fuelled chanting. This was not the case! No booze allowed in the stadium which a had a crowd of no more than 1500 fans mostly family and old gents with packed lunches. The game however was very good with Kiev running out 7-0 victors thanks to their Brazilian play maker, Diogo Rincon. Apparently the mascots look like conkers with green spiky hats, no idea what that is about, and the only refreshment was cheap Irn Bru out of a 3 litre bottle and mushroom flavoured crisps. The worst flavour in the world. All in all great game, nice stadium and all for only four dollars however don't expect mad fans and crazy chants. A Sunday league football game has more atmosphere although at that price to see some quality football I would recommend you take in a game. "

Other than night clubbing and watching Football, Kiev offers a wealth of attractions to visitors. Our favourites over the weekend were:

1. Chernobyl Museum - preserved eight legged dogs and primitive protective clothing bring a haunting reality to this terrible accident that happened only 20 years ago
2. Saint Sophia Cathedral - a stunning building rivalling the Moscow Kremlin
3. Monastery of the Caves - a site containing numerous historical buildings and displays

Uspensky Sobor of the Cave Monastery in Kiev:


4. The Hydro Park - a relaxed river front beach with numerous bars and BBQ's
5. The Olympic stadium where they held the football qualification matches in the 1980 Olympics is worth a look.

I loved the old Eighties sports symbols - they remind me of an old sports shop in the UK called Intersport. This is the box office at the old Olympic Stadium:


5. and just generally walking around the city centre in which the main past time seems to be looking cool and enjoying a cold beer from one of the numerous kiosks dotted around

Kiev is a wonderful city. I felt very safe the whole time and the city is spacious and green. I think that whoever has the job of Tourist Minister for Kiev simply needs to put street signs in English and their job will be done. A five hour flight from Dubai lives a land that will surely prosper when they move into the EU - I look forward to my next trip with high anticipation.

8 comments:

Jason said...

Great Blogg Aaron, it looks like you has some real fun, tell me did the local girls take to your Schwarzenegger frame !!!

Aaron said...

Thanks Jason for the kind comment. All I can say is that one of the local girls remarked to one of the lads

"Your big friend - very good dancer"

That made all the lads laugh :D

futureelectric said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
futureelectric said...

Hi Aaron, I keep visiting your blog time and again. I find your articles quite interesting. Good job! Keep it up :-)

futureelectric,

www.dubaitravelogue.blogspot.com

futureelectric said...

Dear Aaron,

Hi again!

My blog - http://www.dubaitravelogue.blogspot.com/ - has loads of information and interesting facts about travel in Dubai. I would like to exchange links with you. For that, I’ve already added a link to your blog on my blog. Please add my link on yours too.

Cheers! :-)

LDU said...

G'day,

Are there many aussies in dubai?

Baggy said...

Hi,
my stag do was a little different too. We visited the South of France. There was about 14 of us in the group. We did lots of snorkelling, sunbathing, girlwatching and drinking. On the last day we went canyoning. My stag do lasted five days and nights.

In contrast my wife's hen do lasted one night and was totally boring apparently.

Love the blog Aaron, maybe you could check mine out at some point. Dubai Visits

Aaron said...

hey futureelectic - I will check out your site and thanks for he kind words!

Idu - there are lots of aussies in Dubai and I count at least 10 of them as good friends of mine.

Baggy - again thanks for the kind words and I will be sure to check out your site as well.