F.U.L.L. Bar, Kiev: minimalist design & extraordinary drinks

F.U.L.L. Bar F.U.L.L. Bar, Kiev

The F.U.L.L. Bar in Kiev scores not only with the minimalist design and interior of the Ukrainian studio Slava Balbek. The drinks served there are also quite extraordinary. Будьмо!

It is handled with test tubes, bubbles in vials, wafer-thin vapour threads rise from test tubes, mixed liquids produce an unexpected colour and a single drop added from a pipette makes the whole thing perfect.

No, we are not in the laboratory of the Chemical Faculty of the National Taras Shevchenko University in Kiev. Even if some alcoholic mixture is created here, whose composition one would not have thought possible.

F.U.L.L. Bar

The F.U.L.L. Bar positions itself as the first Ukrainian cocktail laboratory.

Mechnikova Street No. 3 – very close to the “Museum of Toilet History” by the way – in the middle of Kiev, the capital of Ukraine. A cursory glance reveals nothing suspicious there. The Barvy Restaurant entices with its stylish and cosy ambience and undoubtedly good cuisine.

But underneath it all, the mysterious F.U.L.L. Bar beckons. Whereby “F.U.L.L.” does not refer to the fact that you are simply “bottled” here. Within a very short time, the bar, which opened in autumn 2019, has become an institution. The minimalist design and interior of the Ukrainian studio of Slava Balbek contributes significantly to this. But not only the design.

The bar operators want to create unique products and unforgettable moments.

Ultimate drinks from the test tube

So what does F.U.L.L. Stand for? It is the abbreviation for “First Ukrainian Local Laboratory” – and this name is program. According to the operators, the concept is “a forward-looking and innovative approach to cocktail culture”. Hand in hand with this goes the design of the bar: open and yet mysterious, with a dash of colour (mainly muted red) and a splash of gold. Friendly and inviting, yet shrouded in mystery. Cosy and yet incredibly cool, similar to the Moon Club in Prague.

This space, which Nazar Makarov, winner of the cocktail competition “World Class Ukraine 2018” opened with his team, is for fans of true bar culture. The menu offers classic drinks as well as designer cocktails.

State-of-the-art laboratory

Essential for this is the ultra-modern laboratory, a large glass building. Guests can watch the mixologists – including Olena Belova, silver winner of the “Monin Cup Ukraine” and IBA WCC 2018 finalist Oleksandr Kovtun – behind the glass partition. Here, the bar tenders are working, experimenting and researching for new aromas, flavours and compositions.

The creation of a new creation can take from an hour to a month.

But the laboratory simplifies complicated procedures,

say the cocktail wizards at F.U.L.L.

What comes out is for example a “Hutsul Sour” (the Hutsul are mountain people in the Carpathians): red grape, camomile syrup, lemon juice, Tanqueray London dry gin, gum arabic, extract of the soap bark tree. 220 millilitres around 240 Ukrainian Hryvnia – the equivalent of just over eight euros.

Own invention: Monotails

Or the “Monotails”:

A brand new term introduced by our team during the final round of the ‘Drink Come True’ competition in the UK in 2019.

The creative idea promptly won first place with its ultrasonic diffusion technology.

The individual components thus become a uniform whole, the alcohol content corresponds to that of white wine and the drink is also tasty at room temperature.

We use birch sap instead of water, which shows its versatility.

The “Highballs” also play an important role at F.U.L.L.

The heart of the premises is the centrally located rectangular bar, which is surrounded on three sides by bar stools. The challenge was the ceiling above, according to the team around architect Slava Balbek. They did not want the ceiling and especially the part where the glasses are stored to steal too much attention.

And so the ceiling construction looks a bit like a group of hanging stalactites in a cave.

Along the walls there are additional seats – for single guests or two persons up to small groups. There is a separate smoking area. In the toilet there is Ukrainian granite.

The unconventional approach to the “product” cocktail is reflected in the entire design of the bar, right down to the glasses and crockery – indestructible custom-made items, some of which look like carved concrete or unglazed earthenware.

Lots of attention to detail: music, interior, service and of course great cocktails.

F.U.L.L. Bar
Architects: Office balbek\Slava Balbek, Yevgeniya Dubrovska, Lyubov Myronchuk, Alyona Tryhub, Andrii Taran
Project manager: Natalia Kozak
Project area: 150 m²
Completion: 2019
Location: Kiev, Ukraine

balbek bureau is a renowned studio for interior design based in Kiev, which understands comfort, innovation and functionality as driving forces. The list of clients of the studio, which has received several international awards, covers a wide range of industries.

Text: Linda Benkö
Photos: Jewgeni Awramenko, F.U.L.L., balbek bureau