This is a review of AmBar beer bar in Zaporizhia / Zaporizhzhia, a major city in south east Ukraine. The review compares briefly with a few micro-brewery / ‘craft’ beer and brewery bars, and is the original I posted on TripAdvisor. It turns out that TripAdvisor policy is that you cannot compare places with each other, so the review must only be about the particular place. That doesn’t do justice to why I thought AmBar is the best bar in the city to try out a range of Ukrainian beers with food, so I’m posting an expanded version of the original review here.
Out of an increasing choice, this is probably the best bar in the city to try a range of mainstream and speciality Ukrainian beers, along with food. While Beer Book, recommended by American travel writer Meghan Fox and locals, is the only US/AUS/UK style craft beer bar I have found (a small three room basement bar), the beers there tend to be more extreme craft beers. The excessively hoppy or strong types favoured by ‘craft beer’ fans. On the other hand the excellent Tirlo, which does beer and food (and other drinks), has mainly mainstream national and ‘international’ branded beer, and the smart brew pub / craft brewery restaurants Pinta and out of centre Kronsbeer, do their own beer. Kronsbeer has an excellent range in its unlikely setting on a main road next to a car wash. I like bar restaurant AmBar, at Oleksandrivska, 88, behind the Palmyra mall complex, which serves probably the best range of Ukrainian styles of beer, and food that accompanies them (unlike the new small German style Limbier brewery, between the Theatre and Dubovka park, not limited to the dried fish and ‘chips’ – crisps & beer snacks). AmBar is a typical restaurant type ‘bar’ so best visited with friends. https://ambar.net.ua/ Opposite an apparently long established upmarket fish restaurant, Beluga, I’ve never noticed before. My friend and colleague Alesia introduced me to this bar, we visited twice, coming back with another University friend, and I will certainly visit again when I am next in town. The beer bars listed in my review are all expensive for Ukraine but high quality.
Locations. Pinta (traditional theme downstairs, modern glass and metal upstairs), Tirlo (beer hall size basement, sleek and modern) and Beer Book are fairly near each other to the north west (river direction) and a mile away in the centre of the main avenue. AmBar is a few miles away south east end of the Avenue near the University / Cathedral district not far from the Aurora shopping mall. Limbier (small modern brewery with a little bar where you can have a freshly poured pint or get takeaway) is about fifteen or twenty minutes walk from there, on the south west end of Troitska Street, over the tram tracks. Kronsbeer is south, on the edge of the outer Pivdenny District, about a mile from the main railway station. The best way to get between the three areas is to get someone to call a reputable taxi.
Note. Other choices are available. There are many trendy bars and restaurants – especially it seems in the Summer – along Mayakovskogo and surrounding streets but in my experience Ukrainian bars, restaurants and hotels want to sell ‘international’ branded drinks not good Ukrainian beer and wine. (An exception is the cheap and cheerful and good Puzata Khata traditional Ukrainian theme self service restaurant chain). You can also get very cheap takeaway beer – mass produced national and local and some increasingly tasty regional brews – from the numerous beer kiosks, some of which have been smartened up like those in the bigger neighbouring city of Dnipro. Or drink cheap local mass produced beer in some of the dingiest dives you’ve ever seen. Locals can tell you about those; the bars I describe are comparable to good beer bars in Western and Eastern Europe. Bastion should also get a mention here, as the first international type beer bar I found, though I don’t recommend the Carling and you will probably have to reserve a table as it is quite a small cellar when the outdoor seating is not in use, and you have to have a table. It took me several times to find it again after visiting first with a Polish and Belorussian colleagues.