Thursday, October 30, 2008

Antresol café in Kyiv

This article in the Kyiv Post certainly brings back memories!

Antresol cafe, a downtown hangout for intellectuals and book fans

While most city cafes offer food and drinks, others can entertain you in other ways. ...

Antresol, a book cafe on the corner of Khreshchatyk and Taras Shevchenko Boulevard, focuses mainly on literature, although you can also purchase DVDs, exhibited photos and paintings there, as well as choose funny presents designed by Artemiy Lebedev’s studio. ...

Even when passing Antresol in the street, you cannot help noticing the place is special ...


I can personally vouch for that! I was there on my first full day in Kyiv with my sisters and nieces. Fellow blogger Vasyl recommended meeting there, and it was a great way to be introduced to the city. (This photo of Vasyl and me was taken in the mezzanine of the Antresol café.)

While it was a bit disappointing that the staff spoke only Russian and there were no traditional Ukrainian items on the menu, nonetheless the place is very quaint and charming. My sister the teacher was fascinated with the concept of a book café. Being a writer and avid reader, so was I! Altho at the time we had no idea such a thing existed...

All literature sold at Antresol is managed by a so-called “librarian,” an assistant sitting at the entrance near the book shelves. He or she will help you to choose something from fiction, science, books for children, and books in foreign languages. There are also some Ukrainian magazines lying in a pile on the cashier’s desk and on the bar ... The library at Antresol is regularly supplied with new additions, which are advertised on a special page in the menu and exposed on the front shelf. ...

You can borrow any of the books to read while you're there, and if you choose so, you can buy it. The prices are lower then [sic] those in central book stores, as books are usually not brand new – someone has scanned through them before you. ...

Besides literature and films, Antresol boasts a wide choice of dishes and drinks as well, though the prices are rather high for a cafe – tea for Hr 35 is an expensive addition to regular book readings...


We kind of thought so too. Although we didn't have tea, we had lemon juice instead. A bit of a surprise, as I mentioned in an earlier blog post. But we all enjoyed the salad we ordered. (I can't speak for my renegade niece who ordered grapefruit juice and went next door for some fast food.)

I love the idea of a book café. Here at home, I suppose Chapters comes close, although it's sort of the reverse ... a (huge) retail book store with a coffee shop attached, with literature as well as menu items on the pricey side. And, there are no flowers growing on windowsills. In stark contrast, Antresol offers essentially second-hand books and a much more integrated, intimate experience. Very European.

Vasyl said that Antresol is one of his favourite eating places, and it's easy to see why. The atmosphere is warm and inviting, and while I'm no intellectual I do love books so, if I lived in Kyiv I'd probably spend a lot of time there too!

Full article here.

2 comments:

Orest said...

Interesting!

I would also like to find out how common it is to get a WiFi connection in the bigger cities, whether it be free or paid. Also is there any 3G connectivity for my mobile devices.

I would love to be able to go into one of these cafés and be able to bring my laptop and be able to communicate and get some work done

Pawlina said...

Wow, am I ever late answering this post! Sorry, Orest.

I have no idea about Wifi in Ukraine, but I agree, it would be wonderful to be able to use a laptop in Ukrainian cafés.