How to open a bar and make money


When Ok­sana Ro­manyuk came across a base­ment in cen­tral Kyiv for rent, she thought “this is it - this is where I will open the bar.”

It was the right de­ci­sion. Open­ing a bar turned out to be prof­itable for Ro­manyuk even amid eco­nomic tur­moil (or, per­haps, be­cause of eco­nomic tur­moil). In one year, she open a bar called Pod As­fal­tom Plyazh (Beach Un­der The Pave­ment), made some money on it, and sold it.

“It is a com­mon fact that what peo­ple do dur­ing a cri­sis is drink al­co­hol and have sex,” Ro­manyuk said.


Find­ing the right lo­ca­tion is the start­ing point. Ro­manyuk rented the base­ment of a

build­ing on Yarosla­viv Val Street, and signed a con­tract that capped an­nual rent in­creases to 2 per­cent. She also in­serted a clause stip­u­lat­ing the pay­ment of com­pen­sa­tion if the land­lord broke the con­tract. The amount of com­pen­sa­tion was to be at least be equal to the start-up cap­i­tal of the bar.

“It’s bet­ter to buy, ob­vi­ously. But all of my friends who run busi­nesses - they rent,” she said.

The rent came to Hr 20,000 ($800, at the cur­rent ex­change rate) per month. But Ro­manyuk and her hus­band also had to pay for re­pairs, in­clud­ing putting in new wiring and toi­lets. The place was in such bad shape that Ro­manyuk spent $20,000 on do­ing the place up, in­clud­ing the kitchen. Ini­tially, the bar’s rev­enues were only enough to cover staff salaries, and it took Ro­manyuk and her hus­band six months to re­turn their start-up cap­i­tal.

But af­ter that, the bar net­ted $4,000 per month.

"If you have all of the per­mits, cool cock­tails and a cool place, peo­ple will def­i­nitely come to you," Ro­manyuk said. "There’s no magic to it.”

The good lo­ca­tion helped. Pod As­fal­tom Plyazh is near a ho­tel in the diplo­matic dis­trict of the city cen­ter. The clien­tele turned out to be busi­ness peo­ple, of­ten for­eign­ers, 45-years-old and older. “They adored us” and were re­laxed, Ro­manyuk said.

A bar­tender makes a cock­tail for a client at Pod As­fal­tom Plyazh bar in Kyiv on May 14. (Anas­ta­sia Vlasova)

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