Friday night. The end of not only a long week but 3 weeks of back to back travelling. “Hey Ali, what is the plan?” My colleague asks me from his room two floors down. “First let’s chill downstairs, the night is young”, replying back with a smile, I knew this guy wanted to check out a place tonight. Whilst smoking shisha and talking about music, I got hyped up. I realised it had been such a while since I heard my trance and hard house music live underground. This was not before I was thinking this guy was like my long lost twin. It was 1am, and we decided to do it.
Driving in the taxi seeing Kyiv in the early hours of the morning, there was a deadly silence around the city. The white snow brightening up dark narrow roads as we headed towards our destination, you couldn’t help but have the feeling of isolation. Yet at the same time I knew life was happening inside and underground where it was warmer. Much warmer. Much much warmer. God I hate the cold.
We arrived officially in what appeared to be a small Kyiv ghetto, trying to head up a no through road. Not before being blocked by a car who seemed to be picking up three women. Three extremely attractive women, whom I’m sure were ladies of the night, but attractive none the less. Someone appears to be wanting some fun tonight. Lucky guy. While we were distracted by that sight, didn’t realise that some dude just appeared next to the passenger window, drunk or drugged up. No words were spoken. My colleague just looked at him with a look of puzzlement, the taxi driver taking it all in his stride, and me in the back giggling away. Of course I was unnaturally confident because I was not alone and had two white guys with me. If not then I’m pretty sure I would be screaming the words, “What the Fuck?!”, instead of mentally whispering it to myself. In any case the guy just wanted us to roll back a bit as he looked like he lost something on the road. The other car with the hot women also reversed back and left, leaving us free to drive up to what appeared to be a bunch of old derelict buildings surrounded by tall trees. Sure, this looks about the right place where a handsome dude like myself would get abused and murdered.
After paying up I watched the taxi driver reverse disappearing and along with the only light available. We both looked around the growing darkness, with no signs, unsure where to go. Totally looked like lost sheep. Taking charge we went ahead, past a turnstile, with a little hut that looked warm and cosy with a charming man in army uniform. We had two options in front of us, left or right. Going back was not an option. We came this far to party, not wimp out. Keeping it together, it all came to logic, left looked way too dark and towards a small shed, so we headed right. Walking around the corner, cigarette in mouth, we arrived to an open courtyard, the end of which presented us with three doors. Again employing logic, decided to try each one. Walking past some seriously hip dudes, we opened door one, greeted with a friendly guy, we asked if this is Closer, he politely said no that’s that way. So off we went to door two, entered an incredibly small bright bar. There were some young Aussies at the bar realising they couldn’t use their credit card here only cash. Schoolboy error. I advised them the cash you have won’t even get you water. Whilst I was laughing with the bar staff my colleague looked around and with each area he tried to investigate he got shouted at by the bar staff, in Ukrainian. This couldn’t have been the place so we tried the final door. Opening the steel door, we were presented with a concrete alleyway. Walking through it came to another small hallway with stairs in front, a passage to the left, and some local youths chilling. We looked at each other thinking what now. “Now dude, we follow the bass”. I defiantly and hopefully with awesome coolness, stated. We could both sense the thumping bass from the stairs, we climbed up two flights to another giant steel door. Not only hearing but feeling the music behind it. Usually I lead, but I was lucky to have a big white dude with me, and that’s exactly what I said to him why he should go first. Taking advantage of the accompanying privilege is a rare opportunity not to be missed.
The reception was minimal, the door entrance fee paid to a gorgeous receptionist who tagged us. Before sliding over to the security guys, I noticed a clothes store which looked totally cool. The giant of a security man was actually really nice and polite. Requesting everything with a sir and nowhere near the thorough pat down I was expecting. My colleague though, did seem to get a thoroughly executed inspection, being questioned over tissue paper in his pocket, whilst for me ignoring the bulge of phones, cigarettes, lighters and all kinds of other shit I had in every pocket of my clothing. Easily a personal highlight for me.
After leaving our jackets at the cloakroom we were finally in and man oh man it was awesome. Right in front was a relaxed chill out area for the smokers, leading the path to the left was another non smoking chill out area with nice large old vintage leather sofas. Carrying on the path you are finally in the main bar and dance area, with darkness in front, all you could see were the shadows of people dancing to the hard house and techno. Perfection! We both were smiling ecstatically as this was just what we wanted to experience, a true hidden underground rave house.
Spending some time exploring the place before getting our grooves on, I loved the furniture in this place. It’s like all the unwanted furniture was brought here and just randomly placed against the walls, within some alcoves, in multiple directions, I totally dug it. Next to the main bar there was a door leading outside which clearly was for the real summer after parties. With wooden benches, balconies all surrounded by tall evergreens. Now with snow everywhere the place provided a welcome refuge to cool down, smoke and chat to fellow patrons.
Thankfully I didn’t adorn my usual dress code of blazer smartness, I kept it cool with being all black casual, even still I felt over dressed with the extreme hip casual wear of the young hip ravers here. However it mattered none the less, As here all that counted was the music, the DJ, the bass, the winding crescendos, losing oneself and stopping time to truly enjoy the mixture of vibes here. Needless to say time did creep back upon us and after leaving just before 6am, we headed back to our hotel. Both reflecting on the pure joy we had experienced. If you’re ever in Kyiv this is a place to experience at least once in your life. Peace & Love.