You’ve probably seen a dozen posts about best this or best that in Tbilisi. The truth is, there aren’t a lot of cocktail bars in town, just a handful. There are a lot of bars and restaurants with great ambiance and aura, but you won’t find a serious cocktail menu, and even if you do, the execution might not meet your refined standards. This is true if you’re a cocktail junkie just like me.
I don’t drink often. But whenever I travel to a new city, I, literally, read every TripAdvisor post about cocktail bars and check out every photo the contributors have uploaded. Believe it or not, the looks of the bartender matter too. He/she doesn’t have to be super attractive, (it doesn’t hurt to be good looking, especially in this business). But looking well-groomed, professional, knowledgeable and serious about their craft will do the trick.
By the way, a great mixologist can spot a cocktail connoisseur the minute he/she walks in the cocktail bar.
So, back to one of the few cocktail bars in Tbilisi that you should check out. Here’s what one of the founders, Mark Zimnenko shares with us:
✱ Not just well mixed but great looking too.
Mark Zimnenko: Well, we are one of the first ones who started the popularization of cocktail culture in Tbilisi. Before us, the only places where you could get nice quality cocktails were Rooms and Lolita. There were also some cocktail bars a while ago, but they closed down. I think the trend of drinking cocktails was started by Rooms Hotel.
The choice of booze for locals was chacha or wine before that. But because of globalization and the internet, the young generation wanted to explore something new. So basically now is the perfect time for this. And for us. The quality is also important because people don’t want to drink something with questionable quality and have a terrible hangover the next day.
What makes Cocktail Factory special?
Mark Zimnenko: I think, first of all, we are famous for our service. We are a team of three bartenders who own the bar. And we have a really nice background. One of us worked in a really good bar called Strelka in Moscow. It was famous for making more than 1000 cocktails per day.
The other two opened Moskowsky Bar in Four Seasons in Moscow with one of the best bar schools under the leadership of Bek Narzi – the first bar manager who managed to take a Russian bar to 50 best bars in the world.
How would you describe your bar?
Mark Zimnenko: I can say that we are a sort of pre-party bar with a 5-star service.
What do your customers appreciate the most about Cocktail Factory?
Mark Zimnenko: People really like how we mix classics with Georgian touch and taste. The best compliment for us is when people try some of our cocktails and say “oh, this taste is from my childhood!”