A good bar is a valuable thing. And Almaty has lots. You’ll find everything from Irish pubs where you can catch the latest soccer match over a game of darts to chic club-like lounges, to upscale business bars.
On the relaxed end of the spectrum, you’ll want to stop in at Line Brew or Mad Murphy’s. Line Brew offers an excellent selection of Belgian beers and will roast your shashlyk over an open fire. Mad Murphy’s offers hearty stouts, billiards and a true Irish bar feel.
More upscale is Almaty’s GQ Asia. This upscale bar is out of the pages of the iconic men’s magazine and is the best place to close or toast a new business deal. You might also want to try Nirvana Bar which has created a Feng-Shui-esque East Asian respite from the noise and bustle of the city.
Among Almaty’s more lounge-like options are Cinzano and Posh Bar. Cinzano can be tough to get into at night, but during the day you can enjoy a sushi lunch in its trendy red- and white-themed rooms. Posh also lets in only the young and beautiful, but during the day it’s the hub for hip business people using Posh’s free WiFi.
Almaty also offers live music at places like Soho and Members Bar.
Though a few of Almaty’s more lounge-like bars discriminate at the door based on age and appearance, most of Almaty’s bars are just that – bars. Places to enjoy a few drinks and a little conversation. So take your pick and toast your arrival in one of Central Asia’s most dynamic cities.
Cinzano can be hard to get into late at night as the door admits only the young and beautiful. But if you get past the bouncer, Cinzano offers 130 types of cocktails. You can also get in during the day to sample a sushi lunch in its trendy white Bianca or Red Rossa rooms.
Di Wang Lounge Bar
Di Wang is on the lounge end of the bar-lounge spectrum. But if you like your couches low, your hookah sweet and your Ipod includes Thievery Corporation, this bar-lounge is the right place to chill with friends.
Dublin is one of Almaty’s well-done Irish bars. It offers an international menu in an intimate wood-paneled space on a quiet street. And the in summer, it offers a pleasant outdoor terrace.
If you have a thing for live music and runway models, this is the place to be. Euphoria is known as one of the main spots for Almaty fashion shows. And when the stage isn’t filled with glamazons in the latest designs, it’s taken up by some of the city’s top musicians. Euphoria is more than just a hotel bar.
GQ Asia Bar
This is the bar for off duty businessmen and the women who love them. If your sense of style fits nicely in the pages of the iconic men’s magazine, you’ll feel right at home in this upscale bar. So loosen your silk tie, hang your suit coat on the back of your chair and toast to the deal you came all this way to close.
The name pretty much says it all. Guinness Pub is just what you would expect it: It’s got the famous Irish stout on tap, billiards and the food and live music of the Emerald Isle.
You probably weren’t around to party in Paris in the 1920s. But apparently they knew what they were doing. And La Fete carries on that tradition. Paintings of partying 1920s Paris hipsters line the walls of this large basement bar-lounge. Cocktails are served to the light house music of Le Fete DJs.
Think Braveheart before Mel Gibson wasn’t cool and you’ve got the vibe of this UK pub. Its interior is gothic castle, the beer is Belgian and the chef will roast your traditional shashlyk right there over an open fire.
You go to an Irish bar to find a hearty stout, a game of darts, billiards and a little soccer on the tele. And that’s exactly what you’ll find at Mad Murphy’s. It’s also a popular haunt for expats who like to take in their matches on the bar’s large televisions.
This is where you go for the sweet sounds of live jazz. The music usually starts around 11 pm. Call to see who is playing and when.
Nice Bar offers don’t-want-to-get-up, sink-into sofas and velvet-curtained private spaces, which can be particularly pleasant if you’re getting along well with a new friend.
By “Nirvana” this place is referring to Asian contentment rather than the 1990s grunge rock band. It uses the four elements of life — air, fire, water and earth – to create a calm, Feng-Shui-esque respite from Almaty’s business bustle. It’s the place to go for a little peace and Eastern-style quiet with your after work cocktail.
OXO Lounge Bar
This place truly has something for everyone. Its upscale space attracts a professional crowd in their mid-20s to mid-30s who come for different styles of music each night. Wednesday nights are 80s retro, Thursday is R&B night and Fridays offer a rotating roster of house music DJs. And the not-to-be missed striptease show happens on Saturdays. There’s also a downstairs bar called Dibo which stays open 24 hours so you can chill out for a bit or keep the party going after the striptease dancers have gone home.
Posh is a unique bar-nightclub that opens early in the morning and morphs into different style venues over the course of the day. Starting at 9 am, the late club crowd stops by for breakfast. During the day, hip business people use the space’s free WiFi, and from 5 pm to 6 pm you can enjoy a proper tea. And on Friday and Saturday nights you’ll find Almaty’s beautiful people grooving to house and lounge music. This place discriminates on age and clothing, so look young and dress sharp if you expect to get in.
San Siro’s draw is simple: Soccer. It’s Almaty’s temple to the green field and the 90 minutes of drama that occur there. Whether you are Real Madrid for life or sport the Blue and Red of Barcelona, San Siro is likely to have a match you’ll want to catch on one of its numerous TVs. And there’s plenty of comfort food if your team loses.
Shtab is where you go for beer. It’s a tiny local bar opposite the Hotel Ambassador with just a handful of tables, but an ample selection of local and foreign drafts.
This is a live music joint with something from everyone. On any given night you’ll find bands singing everything from 1980s love ballads to Beatles classics. Almaty’s jazz musicians are also known to take the Soho stage. So call to find out about the current music lineup.
This place screams style: White leather armchairs, bubbling fluorescent table legs and hip lighting. Your style quotient goes up eight points just by hanging out here.
There aren’t too many places where you’ll find European and Japanese cuisine served up with homemade beer in a glass and steel industrial space. But Tinkoff is that place. Add to it Latin music and a great roof deck, and Tinkoff offers something for everyone.
Vitalia may have an Italian menu, but this is no neighborhood pasta place. VITALIA’s modern cuisine is served up amidst an ultra chic interior and moody lighting. Or you can just take in the ambiance while listening to the sounds of R&B and dance music.
Sit down at the Vogue Bar and you are in the capable hands of Sasha, voted Kazakhstan’s Champion Bartender. Sasha can do way more than pour you a pint. He’s known for his extensive cocktail repertoire and killer mojitos. He also puts on a glass-spinning, bottle flipping bartending show every Friday that puts Tom Cruise and the 1980s movie “Cocktail” to shame. Vogue’s smaller size, comfy seats and intimate atmosphere also make it a stand out alternative to Almaty’s larger mega bars.