Here’s our travel guide to making the most of your time in Tbilisi, Georgia.
Tbilisi – probably not the first destination that springs to mind for your next getaway, but Georgia’s capital is carving a new identity for itself that’s drawing travellers from across the globe. Georgia, a former Soviet Union republic, has been shaped by many years of war and poverty with older generations often tying it to its troubled past. Today, Tbilisi is going through a creative boom with new artwork and stylish hotels across the city springing from Georgia’s young peoples’ passion to change their country for the better.
Much more than just providing an injection of investment into Tbilisi, the city’s Moxy hotel is one way that the area is now embracing the Western world. The hotel provides a safe space where staff feel at home and want to welcome you into the moment with them. At Moxy, ideas are exchanged, and guests and staff alike can let loose in a way that was discouraged in the past. Grab a glass of ‘chacha’ (Georgian brandy), sit down together and hear the locals share their story and their hopes for the future.
Something we often take for granted in Manchester is our flourishing art and fashion scene. Out of Georgian’s desperation for change comes a huge influx of incredible art. Walk around any of Tbilisi’s central parks and you’ll find artwork and sculptures from local and international artists along with neighbourhood craft markets. Opening up the city as a space for new culture, Tbilisi also play host to Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week, Georgia’s premier fashion event. Exciting projects like Art-Villa Garikula were founded in the city as well: artists from around the world, like Gregg Fleishman known for his huge sculptures at Nevada’s Burning Man festival, are invited to stay at the Art-Villa and create their work on the property’s grounds.
Whilst we’re beginning to put restrictions on our night’s out here in Manchester, Tbilisi’s night life scene is exploding with pioneering clubs like Bassiani and Khidi embracing free-thinking beliefs and rivaling the likes of Berlin’s Berghain. From raves to rallies, the city’s young people are championing change and a visit to Tbilisi is the only way to truly understand the emergence of this new Georgian era alongside them.
Moxy by Marriott is known worldwide for its Instagram-able interiors that are much-loved by millennials. Far more than an undeniably stylish hotel, Moxy Tbilisi represents the city’s fun, forward-thinking youth culture. The boutique hotel draws guests from far and wide with the wealthy from the world’s biggest cities flying in for Moxy’s bi-monthly parties for 600 fabulous guests.
Find out more at marriott.com/hotels/travel.
Keto and Kote
Tucked away in Vera, an older, bohemian area of Tbilisi, is a beautiful, historic Georgian house that’s been transformed into restaurant, Keto and Kote. It’s a little tricky to find but trust us it’s worth it for the incredible food and local wines. It doesn’t get much more authentic than traditional Georgian dishes cooked by Georgians themselves. In the warmer months, enjoy your food out in the courtyard along with stunning views of the city. Try to book ahead as this place gets packed out.
Find out more at facebook.com/ketodakote.
Get ready for a Georgian feast at Black Lion. This hideaway is home to flea-market furniture and china, making for a laid-BACK, intimate feel where original takes on hearty Georgian dishes are served. Chefs offer up their own regional favourites making for a foodie fusion that sees the likes of ‘Khachapuritos’, a take on chicken and beef quesadillas, and ‘Ghobi’ a must-taste bowl that’s packed with cheeses, pickles and breads to share between friends.
Find out more at facebook.com/blacklion.ge.
Barbers by day and bar by night, Camora Basement takes multi-tasking to the next level. The oldschool babershop offers some of the coolest cuts around and hot towel razor shaves. Stop by for a fresh cut and then a cocktail or two as night falls.
Find out more at facebook.com/camorafabrika.
Explore the City
Take to the streets and get exploring Tbilisi on foot. As you walk around, you’ll notice the growth in the area. The influence of wealth and youth culture is coming through with coffee and wine shops like Skola Coffee & Wine Bar popping up. Local boutiques sit alongside high street favourites like H&M, but if you fancy a shopping spree that’s a little different, then support local makers at Tbilisi’s craft markets. Get a dose of culture with a stroll around the park near Moxy hotel and spot sculptures by Georgian artists.
Hidden under a bridge next to a river, this former industrial space is now a two-room techno club that beckons techno lovers far and wide for its floor-filling sets. Party into the early hours here and experience Tbilisi’s thriving techno scene.
Find out more at khidi.ge.
Getting into this club is compared to getting into the famous Berghain in Berlin. Bassiani want make sure that the right crowd get in so it’s a safe space for people to let loose and have fun into the early hours. More than a club, for locals, Bassiani has become a much-needed destination to escape in a city that has been hampered by conflict.
Find out more at bassiani.com.