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)