The Former USSR’s First Kosher Bar Is Serving Up Cocktails and Torah Lessons In Odessa

Kosher Bar

Back in August, Kosher Bar opened in Odessa. The Ukranian port city located on the Black Sea is known for its vibrant bar scene, but, unfortunately for anyone who keeps strictly to their Jewish dietary restrictions, there weren’t any options when it came to watering holes. Kosher Bar has changed all of that.

While Odessa possesses plenty of kosher restaurants, six, all that serve drinks, and there are plenty of hard liquors that are certified kosher or accepted by observant Jews, cocktails are a different game. Cocktails generally require certification by a mashgiach, a rabbi whose job is to make sure the products and facilities used to make food and drink are kosher. Furthermore, the bar must import many of its ingredients from Israel, which inflates costs — house cocktails run around $8.50. It’s a risky experiment, but in a city that boasts a Jewish population that is 40,000 strong, it seems to be working.

Kosher Bar has been able to keep its doors open and the liquor flowing. The 1,300-square-foot drinkery has capacity for about 100 people and features a patio as well as a dancefloor. The music selection moves from Israeli dance rock to Hasidic singer Avraham Fried.

Different nights of the week feature different Jewish oriented events. On Wednesday nights the bar is packed with members of a weekly Torah study group that is led in Russian by Eliyahu Hussid, a local rabbi and standup performer. On Thursdays, kugel is served alongside house cocktails that are named after Jews connected to Ukraine or Odessa.  There is the Sholem Aleichem (tequila, pineapple juice, lemon and syrup), which is named after the famed Yiddish writer. There’s also the Meir Dizengoff (a fruity aquamarine beverage with a gin base that is served with a frothy top to evoke the Tel Aviv beach), which is named for that city’s first mayor.

Find It Here:
Chaikovs’koho Ln, 12 
Odesa, Odessa Oblast, Ukraine, 65000