Calumet Ethnic Bar and Lounge: The “speakeasy” bar in Yerevan

I wouldn’t really call it an authentic “speakeasy” because most of the bars and pubs in Yerevan are all located underground plus it is not really hidden or illicit you might say The great thing about this place is the relaxed vibe you get where you can choose a spot and slump carelessly in one of their beanbag chairs, enjoy a cold bottle of Kilikia beer and listen to some eccentric music.

Staying stuck at the hostel doing nothing besides eating and raiding the hostel kitchen is not a good idea for an evening, of cold nights. The hostel staff is pretty cool about it though and they even try to refill as much cookies and coffee as possible. The weather has this effect that gets you dull and gloomy so It’s a good thing Taiji decided to bring me to Calumet and let me meet some of his Armenian friends. Taiji arrived in Yerevan few weeks ahead of me so in that span of time he already made friends with the locals. The purpose of why he was in Armenia was to teach Japanese at a College or University there.

This is an eclectic bar with a variation of hypnotic music, rock metal and some Balkan funk combined. It’s not predictable and very unconventional, which I totally dig. I guess the most “conventional” you will hear are tracks from Train, at least, from what I remember.

Door policies can be pretty strict and they only allow couples, huge groups aren’t allowed. I just heard this from one Armenian friend and she said that there’s a bit of discrimination going on, like if they don’t dig you, they won’t let you inside/. It’s true that some bars (mostly dance clubs) have this thing and they do exist. I was able to experience this when I went to one of these dance clubs in Dubai (I won’t name it though because I am mature enough not to bad mouth an establishment) This dance club only allow couples and ladies who are Western. So even if you are Western but with an Asian chick, or Western with Asian and African friends, they won’t let you in. I was with some friends that time, myself the Filipino Asian, another Asian friend who’s Chinese, one black girl from Ghana and 2 of our European friends all ready to party but these bouncers prohibited us from entering the club because we are Asians and only our 2 European friends are allowed to go inside. Talk about in-your-face racism right there.

Taiji and I went here with no issues though and we are welcomed with open arms by the staff . It’s pretty normal to hear stories like this especially if one person had a bad experience which will most likely spread ugly news. Some pubs have this “couples only” policy to balance and control the influx of people but some doesn’t understand this type of strategy on business. I came to know this through a friend who owns a speakeasy bar in Manila

Thanks to my Armenian friend for some of the photos of this cool place and thanks to Google photos I was able to retrieve some pictures from my lost phone while I’m at the train station in Yerevan.

If you happen to check out Armenia and you fancy visiting Soviet countries, head to this place as it is one of the popular hang outs. They close until midnight only. You can find local beers and some authentic Russian ones also.

Calumet Ethnic Bar and Lounge

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