Protagonist Bar is rugged in all the right places

Coffee lovers and audiophiles meet at this Kharkiv haunt

Concrete is celebrated inside the industrial interiors of Ukrainian coffee shop Protagonist Bar which takes over a building in Kharkiv’s historic district.

Opting for a less is more approach, local practice Balbek Bureau has stripped out all adornments to reveal the coffee bar’s robust concrete shell. Breezeblock walls and concrete pillars are on show, alongside metal pipework, and the textured, reverse prints of vinyl floor tiles which have been ripped out of the space.

Glass brick partitions add a retro touch while helping with light flow through the austere space, furnished with armchairs and sofas that add a soft touch, and a mix of communal and smaller tables.

Adds the practice: ‘The owners of the establishment, being true connoisseurs of quality sound, have placed a great emphasis on sonic equipment.’ Protagonist Bar is kitted out with a Void Acoustic system for live DJ performances and sound quality for the audiophiles.

Kharkiv’s Protagonist Bar is rugged in all the right places
Photography: Andrey Bezuglov, Yevhenii Avramenko
Kharkiv’s Protagonist Bar is rugged in all the right places
Photography: Andrey Bezuglov, Yevhenii Avramenko

A dingy Kiev cellar is now a brooding subterranean wine bar

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