Bunina Street 24, Odesa, Ukraine
+38 (048) 728 1440

If you're lucky enough to live in a cool city, you'll be fortunate enough to have a bar like Музей Клуба "Выход" (Art Club "Exit") in Odesa.

Way back in 2004, Exit (pronounced Vykhod) opened its doors as the first art club in Odesa. It really is the best "alternative" bar in Odesa. Entering the basement venue takes you back in time, as there is no cell service down there, as the name explains, so it's an exit from the world above (they do have free wifi if you really, really can't disconnect).

A really great place to chill out and relax, not dressy (unless you want to), and has a real bohemian vibe. The beer is nice and the music is great, keep in mind that this is a popular student bar, so the doorman might be inclined to rudely check your bags to make sure you ain't sneakin' in drinks (this is a business that needs to stay alive after all).

Here you can meet the real Odesa scene, foreigners are always welcome here, in fact, anyone with good intentions is welcome. The performances vary as well, from solo artists, wandering poets, and local theater groups ad-libbing, you never know what you'll catch on any given night.

What is it that makes this Odesa venue so unique? They have a nice performance space that is working (spoken word, poetry, music, comedy), there's decent (pub) food, mood-enhancing lighting, and decor, and while it can be empty sometimes, the people are definitely coming when the vibe is high. As mentioned, a youthful crowd, and of course, the drinks are very cheap. Seems like the staff are fun, engaged, and welcoming.

Walking down the street, Exit (выход) has no sign outside... only letters faintly written on the door, so you really have to know where you're going. It is hard to put into words what makes Exit so damned cool, but I think it's the absence of hyper self-awareness, atypical of so many self-consciously trendy joints.

Exit has absolutely everything you could want in a genuinely underground space - atmosphere, style, a great bar, and a fantastic 80-seat performance space running alongside. There's a brilliant collection of old radios, posters, photographs, and books - the kind of western bars spend thousands on trying to re-create. And here it is, authentic Ukraine. A special place in a special city that takes you back, an Exit to the past world of underground nightlife!

(All photos courtesy of Exit/Facebook)(All photos courtesy of Exit/Facebook)