Kiev, Ukraine, a major city right in the heart of Eastern Europe. It’s certainly a place worth visiting at least once but I’m going to have to surprise even myself here and give it a mixed review. I’ve only visited Kiev twice, once recently and once many years ago. I was surprised to find the women less beautiful than I remembered and the city itself more beautiful. If you haven’t been to Eastern Europe yet you may not know that many Eastern Europe cities are huge concrete wastelands of architectural diarrhea courtesy of the communist era. There are exceptions though such as Prague, Riga, Zagreb and to some degree definitely Kiev.
Let’s talk about the other major point of interest – the women! I seem to remember Ukraine as being the best of the best in that category but these days it seems to have lost its title, I expect it still applies in Odessa but something seems to have gone wrong in Kiev… You may not believe it but there were a surprising number of fat chicks waddling around! I honestly couldn’t believe my eyes. The city seems to be rotting from the inside out due to a McDonald’s based cancer of some sort, and folks, this malignant tumor is metastasizing rapidly from the looks of it. Don’t get me wrong, there are still plenty of hot chicks but Kiev now has way more than its share of fat chicks. In my opinion the girls are far superior in Zagreb, Croatia, Novi Sad, Serbia, Belgrade Serbia, Sofia Bulgaria, Burgas, Bulgaria, Varna, Bulgaria, Riga, Latvia and Tirana Albania to name just a few.
There was another major drawback to Ukrainian girls that I had never experienced before (maybe I was lucky before or maybe I was unlucky this time?) – these girls are definitely looking for a free ride. It would never occur to a Ukrainian girl to open her wallet for so much as a subway token. Now generally I don’t mind treating girls, especially in cheap countries but I don’t like to set the precedent of being a meal ticket for anyone – especially someone I barely know. Not only will Ukrainian chicks expect that you pay for everything, they’re not going to be shy about ordering the most expensive thing on the menu. Ukraine is a place where it is absolutely crucial that you exercise The Single Dude’s Rules for Money. You might want to take it even a step further and make the first date is a simple walk in the park, second date coffee and third date dinner. Always make sure you pick the places and you’re familiar with the menu – she will order anything and everything she wants so know what you’re getting yourself into. That’s just the reality of the situation here, your Ukrainian girlfriend can and will do some great things for you – you just cant realistically expect her to contribute financially. At least you know that, unlike your American girlfriend, your Ukrainian girlfriend will be taking all that money she saves and investing it into looking good!
Here’s another drawback of Kiev – it’s gotten pretty fucking expensive, at least compared to what it was. This is often what happens when you have a country full of mafia douchebags that have stolen all the money from the country and its citizens – no elasticity of price – you can either afford something or you can’t. Nowhere else is the old adage “If you have to ask you cant afford it.” truer than in Eastern Europe and other “developing nations”. Everyone is either so poor they can barely feed themselves or so rich that the concept of having enough money to buy something or do something is not really within their reality. This is why, counter-intuitively, luxury cars often cost 150%, 200% even 300% of what they cost in the US.
The good news is that it is still possible to have a great time in Kiev in a reasonable budget, however, you really need to know where to go. First of all, stay in an apartment. I got a place for $45 per night (short term) very close to the center. It’s a little bit more than many other cooler destinations but this will be your only major expense. Kiev has a great metro (subway) system which is dirt cheap (25 cents per ride). For entertainment there are some underground bars, clubs and restaurants that a tourist or foreigner would never find in a million years without the help of a local. Even Ukrainians that don’t live in Kiev will not be able to find some of the coolest places. These places are fun and they are cheap. Kiev is actually a pretty happening town nightlife wise – you can see people out on the streets partying at all hours pretty much 7 days a week.
As I mentioned above, you’re going to need a local to help you find the kinds of places you’re going to want to hang out in. If you just wander into the first place you see on Khreshchatyk Boulevard (Ukrainian: Хрещатик, Khreshchatyk; Russian: Крещатик, Kreshchatik), the main drag in Kiev, you could easily pay $100 for a dinner for two (or more). So your mission number one is to hit up the malls and the coffee shops to find yourself a cool date that can show you around. For Mr. Day I recommend the following locations:
Arena City Shopping Mall – great coffee shops for picking up chicks
Mafia – a chain restaurant specializing in Italian food and Sushi – totally stupid, totally cheesy, overpriced but always seemed to be full of chicks
Puzata hata – really cheap Ukrainian food
Golden Dukam – cool upscale coffee shop
Another hot tip I have for you is to look for signs that say Бизнес Ланч (“biznes lanch” in Latin characters but they mean “business lunch”), hopefully you took our advice and learned the Cyrillic alphabet. Here you can expect to get something like a drink, a soup or salad and a small pizza for $4-$6 whereas the normal menu price might be $15 or $20, perhaps more. Lots of places are advertising business lunch deals so look for it and ask for it – you’ll save a ton!
Now that you have a hot little Ukrainian chick to show you around, you’ve gotten past the coffee date stage and decided you like her, ask her to take you to some cool bars, restaurants and night clubs where she and her friends hang out. She’s going to know some places for sure. But I have two recommendations for you:
Palata No. 6 (Палата Nо. 6) – A cool underground bar / restaurant / lounge. The waiters and cooks are dressed up like doctors and the waitresses are dressed up like sexy nurses. I cant begin to tell you where this place is, only that its relatively near the center, in a back alley, in the basement of an apartment block with no signage whatsoever. The address is on the website but better find a local to show you exactly where it is. Food is good and the prices are low.
Karaoke Restaurant Draft – Another cool restaurant, lounge, hookah bar.
Here are the mainstream clubs, you can and will drop some significant coin here but will also find outrageous chicks:
Pa-ti-pa (ПаТиПа) – in the center near the end of Khreshchatyk
Avalon – I didn’t visit but a friend told me “If you like confetti and go-go dancers you can’t go wrong with Avalon.” Had I visited I don’t think I would have been complaining.
Arena – Located in the Arena City Shopping mall. Cover charge can be high. There is also a strip club in the mall complex.
Shooters – Judging by the website they cater to foreigners so watch out for DAFFs and other douchebags. Supposedly there is a ladies night where ladies drink free and no men are allowed in until after midnight. Sounds like a worthwhile endeavor.
In conclusion, while Kiev is not a top choice, you can certainly make it happen there. It’s for sure better than anywhere in the west. You may find that you are passing through Kiev anyway en route to some other place – if that’s the case its definitely worthwhile to spend a couple of days. As an ultimate destination you’re going to be much better off with Odessa.