Balkan Spirit in Montreal

I’ve been back home to Montreal for a while now and I really miss being on the move. Most importantly I really miss the Balkans, the people, the food the music.

Luckily I live in one of the most multicultural cities of North America: Montréal. Just this past week-end I had the chance to attend a few shows (thanks to Mundial Montreal) and once again, I’ve felt the spirit of the Balkans.

I have seen the Lemon Bucket Orkestra in concert more than a few times, but their show on November 21st 2014 at Club Soda was probably one of their biggest shows in the province of Quebec. I also brought the camera with me so I could record a few of their songs and share it with you.

So, without further ado, the Lemon Bucket Orkestra!
 

 

 

Visiting Lviv in the Evening

Lviv offers a variety of things to do and see in the evening. In the previous post I wrote about visiting Lviv mostly during the day. However, once the sun goes down and you leave the High Castle you should probably find a place for a drink.

There is a chain of bars and restaurants in Lviv owned by “Lokal” group and I must admit these guys are making the city’s nightlife a lot more attractive. They run many themed establishments and you should try to check out at least some of them. If possible, get a Lokal loyalty card which will offer some perks and rebates.

Kryjivka

Kryjivka restaurant

Inside Kryjivka, photo from www.fest.lviv.ua

Kryjivka is the last hiding place of Ukrainian Insurgent Army left from the times of the World War II. Designed as a bunker, this restaurant offers a very unique experience. First of all, the queue might be long as this place accepts over 1 million visitors per year. Once you get to the unmarked door and knock on it, you’ll be asked for a password (“Slava Ukraini”). Then you will be greeted by a man with machine gun who will offer you a shot of vodka. Once they show you to your table, take your time to look around. The decorations are awesome and you really do feel like you’re in the 40’s.

The food is okay, nothing spectacular. We ordered dark beer but it was flat and tasted more like bad cider. I sent it back, although the waitress tried to persuade me that this beer is exactly the way it’s suppose to be. The thing is that earlier we went to another establishment and got the same exactly beer which was great. Our friend (couchsurfing host in Lviv) admitted that she woudn’t send it back – because it’s not something people do in Ukraine. Anyways, they changed our dark beer to light without arguing, which surprised me.

Conclusion: Kryjivka is a must see, it might not have the best food but the place is really special and memorable.

Find it at: Rynok square, 14

 

House of Legends (Дiм Легенд)

Dim Legend Lviv

House of Legends, Lviv

This building has many different rooms and each room offers a different theme. In one of the rooms you can lock yourself in a cage, in the library room you can read pick any book and read it. In the summer time there is also a cool terrace on the roof of the building which offers a great view on the old town. You can also go sit in a Trabant and take some photos. Now, I wouldn’t recommend getting a table on the terrace because the whole night you’ll have people coming up to the roof to take some photos. I got a feeling that the people at the table were starting to be bothered of all the people walking around them, pushing their chairs and constantly throwing coins.

The 4L Beer at House of Legends

The 4L Beer at House of Legends

We ordered a 4-liter beer and a cheese plate, which was great but I cannot tell you about the rest of the food. The service was not the fastest but we weren’t in a hurry. All in all great experience and well worth the visit.

Find it at: 48 Staroevreiska Str.

 

Mazoch-Cafe (Мазох Кафе)

Leopold Masoch

Leopold Masoch

Leopold von Sacher-Masoch, a famous erotica writer, was born in Lviv. The term “masochism” derived from his name. Not really my scene but it is very unique and special. Chains, candle wax, whipping and a lot more is on the menu. For some reason the atmosphere in the cafe made me think of the Korova Milk Bar in “Clockwork Orange”… it doesn’t look the same but it has some similar vibes, at least that’s how I saw it. All the drinks and food have “sexy” names such as “Almost orgasm”, “Not a virgin” and many others. We decided to keep things simple and went with Dark Zenik (their own beer brand, found in most “Lokal” establishments).

So what exactly happens at this place? I think the name says it all… and in case you’re still wondering, here is video from Youtube to give you an idea:

Before entering the cafe you will also see a life-size statue of Leopold Masoch in front of the door. Don’t be shy, put your hand in his left pocket and tell me what you find :)

Find it at: 7 Serbska Str.

 

Charles Bukowski Pub

This pub does not belong to “Lokal” which makes it very attractive for the residents of the city. Prices are very low (beer for less than a $1) and they also serve food! You can play pool, enjoy your drink and a cigarette and simply relax. One late night, in the middle of the week where most bars were closed, we decided to check out the Bukowski pub. Our friend told us it’s rather filthy and not touristy – so we got really excited about it! In a basement, the pub plays rock music and is often referred to as Lviv’s backstage. Many musicians have been spotted there after their shows in the city.

The music is loud, it’s full of cigarette smoke and once again, the alcohol is cheap – I guess a real pub. I could compare it to Montreal’s “Foufounes Électriques” where most rock/punk crowd hangs out.

Find it at: Ivana Franka 3.

 

There are many other cool places in Lviv, unfortunately I do not remember the names of many of them. There are clubs as well but I never managed to make it there, I didn’t really want to either. The point is that Lviv offers a pretty interesting and various nightlife, from bars to clubs, passing through pubs and restaurants. Mind that the municipal law does not allow stores to sell alcohol after 10pm, however you can easily find place that will gladly sell booze at any time of the day or night, you just have to look for them.

food in lviv

Best hot dog I ever had

If you get hungry after an evening of drinking, I would highly suggest trying one of Lviv’s hot dogs (many hot dog joints are open 24 hours). For $0.70 you will get a big hot dog, loaded with sauses, corn and many other ingredients. Unhealthy, tasty and cheap!

Questions? Suggestions? Comment below!

Warsaw Clinic Squat – Przychodnia Skłot

On Friday, March 21st we were walking around the night streets of Warsaw, looking for something fun to do.

Przychodnia Sklot Squat

photo by Elizabeth Viatkin

The night started at “Plan B”, a known bar. The beer was rather cheap (7-8zt for 0.5L). The coolest thing about Plan B is that the square right in front of the bar is considered as a terrace, so lots of people outside. However, after an hour spent at Plan B (or should I say outside of Plan B) we headed to the center of the town.

On the way to the center we decided to walk through some smaller streets and alleys, this is how we ended up on the Skorupki street, right at the corner of Marszałkowska. Although the street seemed rather small and quiet, I noticed lots of people standing in front of an obscure, non-lit building. When we got closer, we noticed that many folks looked like punk rockers; mohawks, ripped jeans, and leather jackets with patches of The Clash, Nirvana and Sid Vicious. Then I heard music coming from that same building.

We proceeded to the entrance and found out it didn’t cost much “see the show”. Inside we went.

There was a Polish punk band “Upadek” playing in the basement, not everyone’s cup of tea but I enjoyed the alternative vibe. Probably because I was in that kind of “underground scene” in Montreal some 10 years ago.

Then there was a post-hardcore band, “Guantanamo Party Program”:

And a local ska band, Skadyktator:

I was surprised to see such a variety of musical styles mixed into one single show.

Later on, when we met some cool people at Przychodnia we found out that on that day the venue was celebrating its 2 years anniversary. That was the reason for all these bands playing there on the same night. However, we also found out that Przychodnia was not really a concert venue, it was a lot more than that.

Przychodnia, literally translated as “clinic” is a squat. This clinic in the center of Warsaw was abandoned for many years and finally it was occupied by squatters in 2012. Przychodnia now serves as a cultural center, with discussions, concerts, photo exhibitions, film projections and a lot more.

In November 2013, the neo-fascists movemevent organized the so-called “March of Independence” and attacked the squat, setting a neighboring building and a car on fire. The motives are not “official” but everyone knows that the residents of Przychodnia Squat are ANTI-fascists. Make your own decision on that matter. People of the Clinic Squat say it’s just the beginning of their struggle and they say it wasn’t the last attack from the neo-fascists.

Przychodnia Sklot Outside

photo by Elizabeth Viatkin

Back to March 21st. Besides the live show, the squat offered a ping pong table, baby foot table and lots of fun people. The basement of the building is a long hallway with a bunch of separate rooms: the bar, rooms with chairs and sofas where people can sit and relax, baby foot room and many other that I don’t remember.

Przychodnia Squat bar

photo by Elizabeth Viatkin

Przychodnia Sklot Hallway

photo by Elizabeth Viatkin

Przychodnia Sklot Concert

photo by Elizabeth Viatkin

Upstairs you can find more rooms, ping pong table, and the exist to the backyard.

I would definitely re-visit Przychodnia Sklot and I would highly recommend this place to everyone. I really hope this squat is here to stay but unfortunately we can’t know for how long it will stay open.

Check out their Facebook Page for updated schedule of events.

– Alex