Issue 4, 2016. August-September



A brief guide to Tbilisi's not-to-be-missed hipster culture

Saba Gvetadze

If you ask the people of Tbilisi they will tell you that for quite some time the city has been transfiguring into a shiny piece of cheap jewelry that no one wants to wear more than twice. The change is not universally accepted, and there are individuals who oppose the common acceptance of everything new. Hipsters follow modern art and the latest trends and fashions, but also try to preserve vintage style. Hipsters oppose cultural mainstream. They favor old and less-popular places soaked in a different aura than the rest of the city.

The following article aims to uncover a few places that seek to preserve Tbilisi's spirit. Here is a brief guide to what is left of Tbilisi's hipster soul.


"Zoestan" (translation: "At Zoe's place") is a tiny little bar on Leselidze (5 Vakhtang Beridze Str.). The place welcomes everyone who wants to grab a bite before hopping to another bar. Its home-like, casual environment captures the spirit of the city as the most down-to-earth people understand it. You go a few steps into the basement and there's immediately no cell signal, so you won't be able to get a late-night call from the office or order a taxi without stepping outside. Also, there is no need to wear heels or have your hair straightened for Zoe. You can't even smoke in here. So the sweethearts of high-class society are advised to keep away.

For some strange reason, Zoestan reminds me of "A Moveable Feast," spelling out simple pleasures of ordinary lives for those who can't afford "Lolita." Honestly, you can have the night of your life playing cards and drinking cheap wine, devouring sandwiches and potatoes like a gentleman and feeling as though everything in this world is exactly as it should be.


"Where there is a lot of glitter, deeper souls tend to seek darker corners."

Electronic music is a universal platform uniting contemporary lives from the most unexpected parts of the world. And Georgia is one of them. Recent festivals such as 4GB, Tbilisi Open Air (July 29-31) and GEM Fest (August 10-14, Anaklia) prove how rapidly Tbilisi's catching up with the times. And Bassiani is Tbilisi's cosmic machine cast into outer space for endless exploration.

The club opened in October 2014 and since then it has become the nebula of total isolation from the bursting lights of the conventional city. Located at the largest Dinamo arena (2 Akaki Tsereteli Avenue), Bassiani seeks no spotlight, as it owns them all. It is the unique place for electronic music lovers to break free from the mandatory roles of our society. Students, accountants and doctors by day mutate into the heaving moths drawn to the laser lights of the night. The place is the Georgian version of Berghein or Chalet. Bassiani has hosted names like Tommy Four Seven, ATEQ, Blawan, Answer Code Request, Paula Temple and many others.

Royal District Theater

Royal District Theater

Royal District Theater complies with no conventional logic. It is a church for alternative thought and a knife to your self-comforting ideas. RDT challenges your perceptions of sexuality, conformity, parents, social norms, class action, forgiveness, neglect, war and healing...

"Early morning. I am coming out into our garden. I didn't think spring would finally come this year. We had been through so much cold that winter. And I see our pear tree, covered in white blooms." ("The Trojan Women" by Data Tavadze and Davit Gabunia).

The theater has raised the standard by premiering controversial Georgian and foreign plays: "Miss Julie," "The Trojan Women," "Translations," "Striptease," "The Poor One," "Marina Revia," "A Long Break," "The Maids," "Olympic Games," "Pain is Youth," etc. Being surrounded by these tremendously talented young directors, play wrights, actors, painters, designers and musicians who rip their guts out creating life-changing performances might make you feel ... little. Because in RDT actors know how to be other people. They don't play with you. They play inside your mind.



Adjara Group Hospitality has built Holiday Inn, Rooms Hotels and now, Fabrika - a former textile factory and now a multicultural space uniting a gigantic hostel, cafes, art studios and galleries. Located in one of the least chic neighborhoods of the city (at 8 Egnate Ninoshvili Street), Fabrika plans to open by autumn. Its post-Soviet skin has already been tattooed by more than 30 modern Georgian artists.

The place aims to become a hub of alternative art: in June it launched Fabrikafitti - an unusual street art and graffiti festival.