Discovering Yerevan: 9 secret places

Discovering Yerevan: 9 secret places

Ancient Yerevan is visited annually by thousands of tourists, who are attracted by the Cascade, the Old Town, thousand-year-old churches and numerous bars. Despite the increased popularity of the Armenian capital, in the city you can still find atmospheric places for walks and soulful gatherings with coffee or a glass of something stronger. We are sharing a motley selection of unusual museums, restaurants, coffee shops and other little-known points on the map of hospitable Yerevan.

Museum of the artist Lusik Aguletsi

Artist, clothing designer, collector and keeper of Armenian traditions, Lusik Aguletsi, turned her home into a museum during her lifetime. Crossing the threshold, you seem to find yourself in the past, in an atmosphere of creativity and harmony. Aguletsi was interested in ethnography and art: her paintings with large, free strokes are reminiscent of Van Gogh’s paintings. Although the artist is no longer alive, the spirit of a tireless researcher hovers within the walls of the amazing mansion, inviting you to examine every detail.

White stone facade, black carved sideboards with orderly rows of oil lamps, thousands of antiques, among which, it seems, you can find real treasures, fabrics and jewelry, a collection of national costumes – Taraz, dozens of paintings and a spreading tree, growing right inside the building. All together, this creates a lamp-like and cozy museum, from which you don’t want to leave; it’s not for nothing that Aguletsi loved to gather guests. A small art coffee shop in the courtyard serves aromatic tea according to the artist’s recipe, dolma in grape leaves from the home garden and other local dishes. For an additional fee, they will arrange a photo session in national costumes. 

Where to look: st. Muratsana, 79.

Hotel nearby: Artsakh Hotel (score 9.0), from 5,700 rubles per night* for a room with breakfast with a view of the mountains or the city.

Mysterious cocktail bar

Discovering Yerevan: 9 secret places

Banderego– a new secret bar on the alcohol map of Yerevan, where you just can’t get there. To book a table, you must first register and go through verification; the process takes up to three days. Visitors to this multicultural bar will find an exciting journey through time and space, rich in contrasting details and unusual tastes.

A room with a hundred monkey heads on the walls or a dozen eyes watching you, a meteorite falling from the ceiling and a mirrored corridor from which it is almost impossible to find a way out after several of the 15 signature cocktails that reference different countries of the world. The bar menu is served in a suitcase: try the “Call of Tortuga” from the Caribbean, “Siberian Boo” from Russia and “Brazilian Carnival”. The Armenian elixir is prepared according to recipes from the ancient manuscripts of the Matenadaran (the largest repository of ancient Armenian manuscripts), and the dishes resemble everything but food. Skulls, neon, candles, iguanas, turtles, twilight and complete freedom to be yourself without wasting a minute.   

Where to look: st. Alek Manukyan, 12/6. Open from Wednesday to Sunday. Strictly 18+. 

Hotel nearby: Yerevan Boutique Hotel (rating 9.4), from 4,700 rubles per night*. The price includes breakfast, free cancellation is possible.

Journey to the Past

Soviet Club– an island of Soviet times, lovingly collected in the smallest details, from the legendary game “Well, wait a minute” to Zhiguli cars and the Ural motorcycle. Part of the museum is stylized as a typical apartment of the 60-80s: tiles in the kitchen, a “Dream” stove and a lamp with a green lampshade in the living room, familiar to every citizen of the USSR. To complete the immersion, they are treated to Buratino lemonade and ice cream in balls according to the original recipe, served in tall bowls.

Everything can be touched, photographed and tried to be put into action. Car lovers will be interested in the retro collection with yellow taxis, a police car and even a bus. And if it’s not easy to cope with the surging feelings, you can taste cognac originally from the USSR.

Where to look: st. Sebastia, 37/5. Open from Tuesday to Sunday.

Hotel nearby: Olympia Hotel (rating 8.4), from 6,700 rubles per night* for a junior suite with a king-size bed. Breakfast is included in the price.

Fiery serve and duduk

Discovering Yerevan: 9 secret places

The uneven walls of the cave, tongues of fire and lavash – this is not the beginning of the Armenian folk epic, but a brief description of lunch or dinner in the small hall of the tavern “Gata”. It is stylized as a grotto in a cave city, of which there are a great many in mountainous Armenia – only you won’t find lavash under the ceiling everywhere. The large hall is decorated in the national style: decorative stone, ethnic drawings and antiques on the shelves. If you’re lucky, instead of jazz you’ll hear duduk – the local equivalent of the flute.  

Meat dishes surprise with a truly fiery presentation: shish kebab from pork or lamb iki-bir will be served on coals, and adana made from veal and peppers will be poured with cognac and set on fire. Homemade wine made from pomegranate, quince, blackberry or dogwood will be poured with the meat. The dish from the restaurant’s sign – gata (sweet pie with filling) – is prepared with pistachios, dried fruits, persimmons, classic or with chocolate paste. She is one of the best in the city here. 

Where to look: st. Tumanyan, 22.

Hotel nearby: The Alexander (rating 9.4), from 29,100 rubles per night* for a superior room. Power not included.

Haute cuisine in bright colors

If you miss haute cuisine, go to the restaurant Barev Arev, which means “Hello, sun” in Armenian. The chef adheres to the farm-to-table principle, giving preference to local products combined with European culinary ideas. Take photos, try and enjoy: the menu includes Sevan trout with tarragon foam, deconstructed yoghurt spas, rabbit with beet puree, chicken liver pate with wine marmalade, homemade pasta and much more. 

A great option to get acquainted with original cuisine in a national version is to order a tasting set of five dishes. The menu is updated regularly, so you can come and try it again and again. Guests are also offered more than 60 types of local wine.  

Where to look: st. Khanjyan, 41. Table must be booked in advance, open from Tuesday to Sunday.

Hotel nearby: Ani Grand Hotel Yerevan (rating 9.1), from 5,800 rubles per night* for a standard room with a king-size bed and breakfast.

Bar in the basement of the library  

Discovering Yerevan: 9 secret places

It seems like everyone has already heard about Mirzoyan’s library: a photo shop, a cafe, a co-working space and an exhibition space all rolled into one under the spreading crown of a tree in the yard. Let’s go further and go down into the basement of an old house – there is hidden Vermoutheria, a bar that serves mainly vermouth. It’s worth coming here to soak in the atmosphere and try unusual types of wine infused with herbs: balsamic vermouth, a drink with pickles flavored with citrus and coriander, or rose petals. Arched basement ceilings, dim light lit by flickering candle flames, antique furniture, jazz and guitar add to the charm of the place, and the bartender can mix a Negroni to suit your taste. Hurry up to visit while there are few people here and the ancient mirrors reflect the past – or the future, who knows.

Where to look: st. Mher Mkrtchyan, 10. Landmark – Mirzoyan Library.

Hotel nearby: Kantar Hotel (score 9.3), from 5,700 rubles per night* for a standard room with breakfast.

Beach vibe

It’s strange to see a sign for the beach in the Vahagni quarter, considering that there is no sea in Yerevan. It’s even more amazing to go up to the fifth floor rooftop and find sand under your feet, a relaxed resort atmosphere and great cocktails with panoramic views of the city. The ceiling of the bar The Beach Yerevan is covered with white canvases, low wooden tables, textiles in traditional blue and white stripes and drawings on the walls – the whole decor is designed in the theme of the establishment. Drinks include burgers, fries, pizza and tuna dishes.  

And if you climb on foot, along the way you can admire modern art – local artists decorated the passages with art objects and drawings. It’s a long way to get from the center, but, on the other hand, when was it so easy to get to the ocean? 

Where to look: Ashtarak highway, 7.

Hotel nearby: Caucasus Hotel (rating 8.4), from 4,600 rubles per night* for a standard room. Breakfast included, free cancellation possible.

Experimental coffee shop

Discovering Yerevan: 9 secret places

The coffee shop opened recently and is not easy to find, but if you like to experiment with coffee, be sure to go to Laboratory. The owner of the establishment and part-time barista Ben will not only make an excellent drink according to your wishes, but will also be happy to introduce you to the history of coffee and the intricacies of different methods of preparation. 

Cupping lectures are held here for guests, where they teach how to properly evaluate coffee, and you can get advice from the barista just by stopping by. The menu includes raf with Sevan cones, bumbles, spicy espresso, non-alcoholic ginger liqueur, alcoholic variations of coffee, for example, espresso gin and tonic, and other delights for coffee lovers. The courtyard can be crowded in the evenings. 

Where to look: st. Arama, 42. Entrance through the Tuf bar, open every day. 

Hotel nearby: Teryan Pushkin Apart Hotel (score 9.6), from 8,600 rubles per night* for a large double room with city views. Power on.

Sushi on a conveyor 

A few years ago, the Výtopna restaurant was popular in Prague, where drinks were delivered to guests’ tables by a steam locomotive via a miniature railway. There is something similar in Yerevan, but in an authentic Japanese style. The specialty of the restaurant Tokyooo is a conveyor belt with plates of sushi, which the chef immediately prepares and places on the belt under transparent hoods. The price of a portion of two rolls depends on the color of the dishes, there are only four options from 500 to 2000 drams. These taste like classic rolls made from simple ingredients – and no cream cheese. The rolls are served with self-prepared sake; guests also praise the ramen and sashimi – they are ordered from the waiter. The atmosphere really resembles the Land of the Rising Sun: paper lanterns, hieroglyphs, engravings, cute bowls and even Japanese speech, because the project founder and chef is from Japan. 

Where to look: st. Nalbandyan, 37.

Hotel nearby: My Apartments Yerevan (rating 9.5), from 6,500 rubles per night* for a studio room.

When planning a trip, make your hotel reservations in advance. OneTwoTrip offers more than two million accommodation properties worldwide.

*Prices are current at the time of publication.

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