by Hanna Hrydziushka
If you want a total local experience in Minsk we recommend you visit these places. Please bear in mind that in most of these places you will have to speak the local language. Surely international hand language could at least get a conversation going!
U Gallery. Photo by Vitali Brazouski
Kastrycnickaja St., 19
(closed until February, 2018)
An art gallery, a shop with different Belarusian handmade souvenirs, a bookstore, and a nice cafe with a good choice of wine in one building! ‘Ў’ (pronounced as ‘U’) is a Cyrillic letter which now only exists in Belarusian alphabet! So this place named after our unique letter attracts people who promote Belarusian culture and language, mostly artsy people, writers, hipsters, and some foreigners. This is the place to see the young Minskers do their thing!
Kommunarka Shop (“Коммунарка”)
Pieramozcau Ave., 7
Chocolate factory “Kommunarka” is loved by every Minsker, whether child or senior. Though they have a lot of delicious chocolate sweets, “Stolichnye” chocolate sweets filled with liquor, and roasted candied nuts “Griliyazh” will impress your friends back home. Also, their cafeteria is famous for its thick hot chocolate (less than €1).
‘Gastrofest’ at Korpus 8. Photo by Vitali Brazouski
Maserava Ave., 9/8
An independent event and cultural space for a local experience in Minsk. They organize interesting workshops and educational festivals where people from different spheres can find someone who holds the same view. The old industrial building of this cultural centre creates a special and relax atmosphere. Also there you can visit a charity shop ‘KaliLaska’ – they receive people’s clothing, accessories and other stuff, donate 95% of everything to charity and sell the rest.
Kirava St., 11
Mon-Sat 9:00-21:00, Sun 10:00-21:00
This place is run by the owner – a charismatic old man (‘dzied’ in Belarusian). Try one of the best Turkish coffees in Minsk made from a special recipe. If ‘dzied’ likes you he might offer you a coffee with a surprise. Our favourite coffee is called ‘Bounty’ with coconut syrup, or the Ecstasy coffee with secret (though legal) spices. The place is filled in with different souvenirs, magnets, and sculptures from all over the world. Don’t be surprised that the coffee is served in plastic cups and the owner might not be very smiley at first. However, the place is definitely worth a visit!
Niezaleznasci Ave., 23
This place has been and still is the soul of Minsk. From the outside it doesn’t really look like a bar, but don’t be fooled! A local’s tip is to get yourself a drink at one of the kiosk style stations and drink it in front at their special tables. This is a great way to meet different locals and drink cheap beer. You can talk inside to artists, alcoholics (mostly artists), poor students, professors, businessmen, and many other interesting people. You can also do grocery shopping on the second level.