72 hours in Kyiv with Brave! Factory Festival

Summer might be coming to a close, but if you’re still holding out for a hedonistic music-filled getaway it’s time to head to Kyiv.

Held in a semi-functioning factory, the Brave! Factory Festival is Ukraine’s biggest open-air music event, bringing together DJs from across Europe for two nights of blistering psychedelic flavoured electro, deranged dancehall, and melodic electroacoustic. Following a year on hiatus, the event is back to welcoming tourists for its 2021 edition — with a few Covid-19 measures to bear in mind.

Tourists staying in Ukraine for less than 72 hours don’t have to quarantine, so we asked Brave! Factory to share their pick of Kyiv’s finest to make your trip to the Ukrainian capital the perfect city break getaway. And, for your last minute tickets to Brave! Factory click here: just make sure you’re travelling safely, responsibly, and respectfully by checking out the latest Covid-19 regulations.


Eat and Drink:

HANH Cafe Market
30a Olesia Honchara St

Hip Vietnamese bistrots have become a gastronomic Kyiv mainstay. Hanh, a design-first restaurant on the lively Honchar Street, has a sleek, slightly surreal interior and an elaborate menu with an extended list of vegetarian options. And, if a lunch on-the-go of iced matcha, spring rolls, and pho isn’t enough, you can always fill up on mochi: irresistible ice cream-filled rice dough balls for just 120 hryvnia (£3).

Kosatka
25/2 Velyka Zhytomyrska St

Kosatka Cafe and Bar is an undisputed favourite for the city’s creative crowd. Whether you’re hanging out to see friends, working remotely, grabbing coffee and breakfast, or a drink in the evening, the venue’s cosy combination of wood and warm light makes this a great place to keep coming back to, as well as the ever-present buzz of a city on the go.

OKNO
33/34 Bogdana Khmel’nitskogo St

A cocktail bar-cum-exhibition space with a ping-pong table in the courtyard, Okno offers a wild dancing den on the weekends, and a spot for restorative yoga on weekday mornings. This trendy venue has something for everyone. Be it a pop-up sale of experimental ceramics, a live gig, or cocktail sipping amongst locals, OKNO is the place to be.

KASHTAN
9b Reitarskaya St

An independent coffee shop dotted with Soviet modernist furniture, Kashtan feels like a small time capsule from 1970s Kyiv. Buttery, feel-good pastries are the high point of their menu (especially the cranberry and tangerine cinnamon rolls), while the cozy interior makes it the perfect place to have a coffee, read a book, and unwind. Sit in the courtyard to enjoy the Kyiv sunshine underneath the cafe’s dazzling mural of flocking ravens, or take a break before setting off to explore the wider Reitarskaya Street and its vintage shops.

KANAPA
9 Andriivskyi Descent

Kanapa is the perfect place to try contemporary Ukrainian cuisine, made with products from local farms. Located on Andriivskyi Descent, the restaurant provides a quiet escape from the bustle of central Kyiv, and a view across a sea of greenery on Volodymyrska Hill. Their extensive choice of Ukrainian wine and cheese make for a delicious evening you won’t forget anytime soon.


Shop:

Vsi Svoyi
12 Desyatynna St

Vsi Svoyi (meaning “All Our Own”) is a clothes shop that only sells Ukrainian brands. While its flagship store is now on the high-end Desyatina Street, Vsi Svoyi began its life as a pop-up market. Since then, the team has pushed to bring established brands, budding talents, folk fashion, and home accessories to pop-up events across the country. For those on the hunt for clothes from Anton Belinsky or Litkovskaya, Vsi Svoyi is a treasure trove.

Gunia Project
26 Turhenievska St

Gunia Project is a Ukrainian brand of folklore-inspired handcrafted goods. Gunia’s designs range from tailor-made pyjamas featuring Ukrainian embroidery to old-fashioned hand-painted crockery and silver and pearl jewelry. While some of the crafts may seem a little overpriced, roaming the shop is akin to visiting a museum from the future.

Lesnaya Market
Lisova Metro Station

Sprawling next to Lisova metro station, Lesnaya is the holy grail of Kyiv second hand markets. Spend some time digging through mountains of Soviet apparel, tables of vintage shoes, and floral pots and pans, and there’s every chance you might find a rare bootlegged Chanel for just a few hryvnias. Aside from the shopping, visiting the market gives a chance to get out and explore Kyiv’s suburbs.

Bessarabkiy Market
2 Bessarabs’ka Square

Whether you’re interested in architecture, looking for a quick bite, or just passing by, sooner or later all roads in Kyiv lead to Besarabskiy: a 20th-century market and street food haven. The building itself dates back to 1910-1912, and is packed with photogenic stalls offering fruits, nuts, and the obligatory eastern European assortment of pickles. There’s also plenty of affordable street food pop ups and a few decent coffee joints.

Ksenia Shneider
Mykhailivs’kyi Ln

Streetwear brand Ksenia Schnaider was set up by Ukrainian fashion designer Ksenia Marchenko and Russian graphic designer Anton Schneider: while Anton is responsible for creating the label’s signature camouflage prints, Ksenia looks after the clothing design. The duo are inspired by the uniformity of workwear, which adds a rough edge to their otherwise feminine style. They’re also famous for their use of new technologies: they’ve previously created a digital atelier and designed pixelated versions of traditional Ukrainian flower embroidery.

Brave! Factory Festival
METROBUD Factory

After a year on hiatus, Brave! Factory is making a comeback with a line-up of more than 70 artists — 30 of which will be performing live. Genres will range from downtempo and house to hip-hop and techno, with highlights including German electronic duo Modeselector, Ukrainian trailblazers Knyaz Volodymyr and Nitzo Potvorno, and a other local and international DJs.

The festival will also feature a curated art programme, with contemporary Ukrainian artists taking over Kyiv’s METROBUD factory. Artists will present site-specific installations, 3D objects, and video art reflecting on human relationships in a post-pandemic world. See the full programme here.

If you’re staying longer in Ukraine, then make sure you check out our list of Kyiv’s surreal hotels and the best jogging route around the Ukrainian capital. Before you go, make sure you’re travelling safely by consulting Ukraine’s Covid-19 guidelines.

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