The Best Craft Beer Bars in Odessa, Ukraine
We lived in Odessa, Ukraine for two years, and visit at least once a year. When we moved there, craft beer in Odessa was not a thing. It was back in 2014, before craft beer really took off. You could get bottles of imported craft beer in some bars, but there weren’t any specific craft beer breweries in Odessa, or anywhere in Ukraine really.
There were lots of brewpubs in Odessa. These were, and still are, pubs making their own light, amber and dark beers, in a Czech style. I’ll mention a couple of these in the article. However, while we were living there, the first craft beer brewery in Odessa, Troubadour, opened. In fact, we like to think we were involved in the initial development, as we tried their first beer, Michigan Ale, in our favourite bar, Buffalo 99.
Later, another of the bars we went to a lot, Beer and Friends, changed into a craft beer pub, offering other Troubadour beers as well as imported craft brews.
Since we moved back to Ukraine in 2016, this time to Kyiv, more craft beer breweries have appeared and far more craft beer bars in Odessa are around. Here’s a rundown of the ones we have found.
Craft Beer bars in Odessa
Let’s start our craft beer in Odessa story were it began. Our favourite bar in Odessa is Buffalo 99, because we are big fans of being able to sit at the bar, rather than at a table. In general, you get served quicker and if we are just having a drink, it seems overkill to take up a table. In Kyiv pre-quarantine, we could often be found sat at the bar in Naturlich or O’Briens. The benefit of sitting at the bar in Buffalo 99 is that you also get a discount. Well, you aren’t using the waiters so why not?
Anyway, at Buffalo 99 we know the bar staff. One day, Jacob asked us if we’d like to try a new beer they’d made. It tasted like an English ale. It became Kris’ drink of choice. This was Michigan Ale. The brewery became Troubadour Brewery. Troubadour make Acacia Wheat Ale, Hero IPA, Troubadour Pilsner and their award-winning Blackboard Porter. You can get several of them on draft in Buffalo 99.
Buffalo 99 is a sportsbar, showing football matches and other fixtures. There are large tables and chairs inside, more on the balcony above the bar, and a massive terrace area taking over a huge section of the street.
The food is great. They do good breakfasts and brunches as well as tasty pasta and burgers.
Rishelievska Street, 7
Friends and Beer
When we arrived in Odessa, Friends and Beer was an underground pub styled like a Soviet living room, with retro typewriters, pictures and other junk around. It had made the Lonely Planet and it was a cool place for a beer and a plate of beer snacks (used to be called ‘lots of stuff’ which is a fantastic name for a plate of sausages, wings, breadsticks etc.).
In around 2015, it closed down for renovation and was relaunched as a craft beer pub. The theme is now sailors, what with Odessa being a port, with tattoo-style paintings on the walls. There’s a large, long bar along one wall, which you can sit at, to our joy. There are then long tables and chairs, and board games available to play.
In the summer, there’s a big terrace outside with another bar you can sit at (yey!) and they put TV screens out for watching sports.
Friends and Beer is owned by the same people who own Troubadour Brewery and Buffalo 99, so there is always a range of Troubadour beer on offer.
Food is harty, with good burgers and sandwiches. We’ve eaten there a lot. No more ‘lots of stuff’ though, which we miss.
Deribasavka Street, 9
Off to Odessa on holiday? Don’t miss our guide to things to do in Odessa.
This little place has a range of local beers on tap, as well as imported. With a long bar at the back with the beer selection on a board above, there are only a few tables inside and some tables made out of beer crates outside.
We had the Ten Men Moloko stout, Kyiv Beer Manufacturing Cherry Bomb gose (a new craft beer brewery discovery for us, and we live in Kyiv!), and Didko Brewery Sour Sh*t Kiwi. There was also a mango IPA from Ten Men and a white beer from Red Cat Brewery in Kharkiv.
The food menu is proper hipster – with avocado on toast and quite a few options for vegans.
Lanzheronovskaya street, 28
For more information about craft beer breweries in Odessa and elsewhere in Ukraine, check out our post on Ukrainian craft beer breweries.
During a visit to Odessa from Kyiv a couple of years ago, we went to the newly opened Odessa Food Market. It’s a vast warehouse-like space with two floors, where various food and drink places from Ukraine have stalls. You can buy burgers, noodles, seafood….whatever food you want from the different stalls and sit at one of the tables to share it all.
Anyway, at that time, there were two craft beer stalls there: Varvar and Odd Brew. We hadn’t heard of Oddbrew so we gave that a try.
Fast forward to summer 2020 and I’d heard online that Odd Brew had opened its own bar. Of course we went to check it out. It’s an underground bar in a very typical craft beer style: a bar with a chalk board of beer offerings and bar stools at one end and a couple of long tables. The bar is supported on beer crates full of old craft beer bottles, which is cool.
On our visit they had a few Odd Brew beers on: Pils of Sun (a pilsner, surprisingly), Memas coconut cream ale, Malinastisch – a rasberry gose, and a new lime gose called Limey’s Glory. A nice thing about the bar is that we were able to try before we chose. The coconut cream ale was tasty as Kate likes a bit of coconut flavour and the pilsner was light and citrusy. We didn’t have the Limey’s Glory because it’s about 7%!
They also had the Mova lager on, which Kate is a fan of. All the beers were about 80 UAH.
If you like the beer but you prefer to stay at home, you can also get it delivered using the Bond taxi app.
Bunina street, 12
Varvar is a craft beer brewery in Kyiv, where they have a bar. They recently opened a branded bar in Odessa after having a stall in the Food Market for a while. The basement bar is decked out in wood panelling. There’s a terrace on the street. The bar on one side has a row of taps behind, with draft of different Varvar beers: Samurai’s Daughter, Imperial Stout and Hoppy lager. They also have bottles to take away.
Heading to Kyiv? We have a cool tour of street art and craft beer bars in Kyiv.
Odessa Beer Club
On the corner of Saborna Square, near the cathedral, is this multi-level pub. The front glass-fronted terrace leads down to basement seating, and then there is a separate door to the first floor bar. Odessa Beer Club specialises in Ukrainian craft beer and has around 17 on tap. There’s Rebrew, Ten Men, Mova, Kyiv Local Brewery and Volta.
When we visited, there had been a big promotion by Rock Dog, who we had a delivery from during quarantine. Since we had their taster box, they’ve released some different brews. Kate tried a ‘vegetable season gose’ which turned out to be a tomato beer. She also ordered a tomato beer from another local brewery on mail order, so you’d think she’d learned that it is revolting. Why do people make them? We’ve since heard that they are very popular in Canada…..
Anyway, the other beers we tried, including the Rebrew coconut milkshake IPA, were very good.
Хмельная утка/качка (Drunken Duck)
This place has two names, because ‘utka‘ is duck in Russian, while ‘kachka’ is duck in Ukrainian. Two languages, two names. Something we like about the English translation is that it’s the same name as one of our favourite bars in Saigon, Vietnam.
It’s a large bar on the corner of Troiska and Rishelivska streets, with seats outside the front. There are long wooden tables and chairs so it’s perfect for groups.
At the time we visited they had six of their own craft beers from the Duck Brewery: an IPA, a milk stout, a pilsner, a saison, a tripel ale and a blanche white beer. They range in strength from 4.5 – 8.8% alcohol (the tripel is the strongest, as you might expect) and they are really reasonably priced at around 35 UAH for 33ml and 55-70 UAH for the 500ml. And yes, it’s a half litre, not 400ml as craft beer usually comes. The saison won a silver medal in the East European beer awards.
As well as their own craft beers, Drunken Duck has a massive list of imported bottles, including Brew Dog, Northern Monk, Stone and Mikkeller.
There’s a huge list of food which looked good, although we didn’t eat there. At the weekends, live bands play.
Troiska Street, 33
Bochka means ‘barrel’ and is a large Czech style pub full of large wooden tables and heavy chairs. They have around 17 beers on tap, generally imported, like Murphy’s Irish Stout, Pilsner Urquell and Newcastle Brown Ale. Yes, I know these aren’t craft beers. However, they do often have a British real ale on tap, like London Pride.
Ekaterinskaya Street, 56
Brewpubs in Odessa
Pivnoy Sad means ‘Beer Garden’ and it’s a proper Czech style drinkery, with dark wood everywhere and two floors. I guess the ‘garden’ part is because it’s in City Garden, in the centre of Odessa, and in the summer tables and chairs and put in the garden, which is pretty.
They brew their own beers, an unfiltered, a lager, a dark beer and an ale, typical of those you get in brewpubs all over Ukraine. They are tasty, but at around 100 UAH, pretty expensive for Odessa in my opinion.
There’s a big food menu of typical brewpub food: meat and salads.
If craft beer isn’t your thing (if it isn’t, I’m not sure why you’ve read this far, but thanks for doing that), we also have a guide to bars in Odessa.
Another Czech/German-style beer pub in Odessa is Gambrinus, on Deribasavska (the main street). It’s a big underground bierkeller style pub with long tables and a stage at the end where there is sometimes an um par style band playing. It’s a bit of an Odessa stalwart, having been around since the early 1900s.
They brew their own light and dark beers, which are far cheaper than Pivnoysad, and also have your typical Hoegarten, Staropramen and Leffe on tap.
For many more blog posts on living and traveling in Ukraine, check out all our Ukraine blogs.
If we’ve missed a cool craft beer bar in Odessa, let us know and we will add it.