So yeah, I'm 'freshly' back from a 3 night jaunt to the city of Sofia in Bulgaria. I visited the city with a group of friends as part of a tradition known as "Lads on Tour" or #LOT15. So you can probably guess we saw more of the night-life than anything else. So I thought I'd give you a review of Sofia by way of the bar scene with a restaurant recommendation thrown in at the end!
J.J Murphy's - The group I went in are predominantly Manchester United fans and so our first point of call, in true stereotypical fashion was the nearest Irish Pub (I know, I know). Once inside J.J Murphy's has the feel of every Irish pub you have ever been too, lots of dark wood and pictures of rugby players. If by any chance you are visiting the area and want to watch Mn Utd play this bar might be your best bet, as there were an impressive little firm of United fans, all kitted out in merch so it made for a decent atmosphere in the end. Irish bars tend to have a bit of a premium wherever you go but as a round of 6 local lagers came to 25 Bulgarian Lev (£9) you can look the other way.
Vitosha Boulevard - The main street in Sofia is called Vitosha Boulevard which has a large amount of bars and cafes on it, a lot of the shops are typical high street stores you would see anywhere in the UK so this probably isn't the place to learn about Bulgarian culture. Having said that there are a couple of nice bars to enjoy if you're having a quiet one. Raffy proved to be a great shout, it has good an fairly extensive wine selection with a few TVs on and background music. Not the bar if you're out to party but made for a great option on the second night after a big blow out on the first!
Barfly - Speaking of the first night we had spent most of the day 'sampling' the local bars but once the evening sets in proper bars really start to show if they're worth their salt. Barfly is certainly a bar to use if you want to do as the locals do. Borderline impossible to find if you do not have a local to show you the way. But for an inside scoop - Barfly is located just off Vetosha Boulevard, to access it you need to enter a little shopping centre and there is secret looking door to your left, once in you need to go up a flight of stairs (past the most chilled out Alsation dog). Once in Barfly looks, and probably is an old flat converted in to a pretty bohemian DIY bar. All the drinks are in bottles as there is no draught system but it is unreasonably cheap with an awesome décor. If my memory serves me correctly a 500ml bottle of beer costs about 3 Lev (£1.10) which is both awesome and frightening, spirits are also very reasonable, so yeah, fill your boots.
Club Terminal 1 - We were told that this was one of the better nightclubs in the area, especially as we did not turn up until pretty late in the evening. Entry cost 3 Lev's per person, I'm not sure if this is standard procedure of just because we are clearly a group of tourists. The club itself is really nice, as is a theme of this article the drinks are impressively priced and they have a nice selection of beers and spirits. Musically it is eclectic to say the least, Shamelessly moving between Snoop Dog's 'Drop it like it's Hot' to the Austin Powers theme tune. Obviously I'm not complaining though; any excuse to do the twist.
Studentski Grad - If you're looking to travel a little bit further a field Studentski Grad would certainly be a good shout if you're on the lookout for a party on a school night. To the more skittish of us the journey could seem a little bit intimidating but in reality its just a bit run down on the way and you should see it through - you never know what awaits when you arrive. Studentski Grad is a little more developed that most of the rest of Sofia, although it does look a little bit generic in places. We only spent a few hours in the area but there are a good collection of nightclubs which looked busy considering it was a 'quiet' night so if you're in the area I think that it would be a great shout for a proper night out.
Restaurants - There are quite a few nice restaurants across the city as you might expect, as we were only in the city for a few days we did not have the luxury of really planning and picking out restaurants, but one gem which served more traditional Bulgarian food was Moma . The décor is really nice and the staff are more than happy to make recommendations on the food which can be really helpful. Most of the meals were very meaty and even the Shopka salad we all shared for starters was very dense. Personally I would recommend anything containing Wild Bore and the Pork Kuckle (above), both were stunning.
In closing, I probably would not recommend Sofia for a couples break but for a fun holiday it ticked all the boxes, even the weather is very mild for late winter.
Cheers for reading,