With a history that runs centuries deep, from queens who were called kings to invasions by Mongols and the beginnings of winemaking 8,000 years ago, the country of Georgia is as interesting and culturally rich today as it was long ago.
From the historic buildings that have been respectfully restored and converted into some of the coolest cafes, bars, hotels, and coworking spaces you’ll find anywhere, to the continued use of the Georgian alphabet, Tbilisi’s influence on the world is as bright and vibrant as ever. With a growing reputation and a relaxed visa-friendly strategy that allows citizens from around 90 countries to enter visa-free for 365 days, it’s only natural that tourism to Georgia has picked up significantly in the last few years.
This has only meant positive things for the country and more than ever there’s something for everyone. From dive bars that rival any hipster enclave in Brooklyn and cafes that have grown accustomed to remote workers setting up shop all day, to elegant restaurants serving beautiful and modern takes on Georgian cuisine and galleries showcasing some of the country’s most prolific artists, Tbilisi’s revitalization is only getting started.
Outside of the city, the country’s diverse landscapes and terrain are endlessly beautiful. Wine valleys such as Kakheti, where grape harvests attract the best winemakers from around the world to mountains like Mount Ushba that are as alluring and mystical as they come, weekend warriors and adventure-seekers never find themselves without an adventure to get into in Georgia.
Plus, it’s not hard to find adventure buddies. Between Facebook groups such as Expats in Tbilisi and companies like Travel Man and Trails and Wine, you’re never really alone in Tbilisi. Unless that’s your thing. In which case, Vanday and Overlando have your back with some pretty cool adventure rigs perfect for a few days of solace in Vashlovani National Park, Martvili Canyon, the Adjara Mountains, or anywhere else that calls your name within the country.
Whether you set off on a day trip to explore abandoned sanitoriums in Tskaltubo or week-long stays immersing in the mountain culture of Mestia, you’ll quickly find out that anywhere where Georgian hospitality has the chance to shine, it does. You’ll be amazed how quickly plates of khachapuri (the famously delicious cheese bread) and wine magically appear, quickly turning into a supra feast no matter where you turn up, and how every local has the eloquent and poetic toast giving skills of a Tamada, the professional toastmasters Georgia is known for.
When it comes down to it, Georgia is one of those places where you can show up and instantly feel like you’ve arrived home. Because, for many people, they have.
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Walking the streets of Vera will take you past some of Tbilisi’s best architecture, including Italian courtyards (the gathering areas in front of small, older apartment complexes) and sky-high spiral wooden staircases. This artistic neighborhood is where you’re as likely to see grandmothers shaking out rugs, sweeping sidewalks, or feeding stray cats as you are hip cafes filled with young twenty-somethings dressed in the latest fashion.
It's the hole-in-the-wall shops and bread windows that are so small, they don’t even have names that keep this area rooted in tradition. Meanwhile, the music and laughter-filled restaurants, like Stamba Café and Lolita, make this the best place to meet up with friends. Simply put, Vera is an eclectic and vibrant part of the city where digital nomads will get a sense of culture without feeling out of place.
Down the main drag, Rustaveli Avenue, Stamba Hotel and Rooms Hotel are the lifeblood of the neighborhood. Rotating exhibitions inside the Tbilisi Photography and Multimedia Museum on Stamba’s second floor, as well as the hotel’s pretty-in-pink vertical garden Space Farms, all add to the reasons to get there sooner rather than later when you’re in the city. Pair that with a buzzing Lobby Bar that’s wildly popular with remote workers and you’ve found a place where work and play coexist in harmony.
For a more structured work environment, the hotel is in the process of opening a collaboration space they’re calling D Block, where creatives are invited to work from a hot desk, rent a private office, or pay by the hour for one of the meeting rooms. Attached to Stamba, the adjoining Rooms Hotel is a bit calmer, with outdoor spaces perfect for a late afternoon coffee or cocktail, and an evening on your laptop.
For a more expat-friendly work environment, and the chance to mingle with other foreigners and digital nomads from around the world (especially English-speakers), the vibe at LOKAL Tbilisi is as welcoming as it gets. With board game nights open to everyone and guest lectures from locals excited to share everything you need to know about Georgian culture and traditions, LOKAL is easily the quickest way to find your people when you first get to Tbilisi.
On the weekends, stretch your legs by hiking up to the TV Tower and Mtatsminda Park from the trailhead on Polikarpe Kakabadze Street. Or, browse the exhibitions at Window Project and pick up some of the city’s best cheese and bread from Au Ble d’or by Jean-Jacques Bakery and Cheese Shop and a bottle of natural local wine from Wine Boutique.
If Vera is the calm, cool, and collected artist’s area, Marjanishvili is its counterculture alternative. With graffiti lining the way through the narrow car-lined streets and vintage shops and food stalls serving honest and delicious street food, Marjanishvili is the city’s fastest-growing neighborhood as rents in the surrounding neighborhoods continue to increase.
Nearly a century ago Marjanishvili was the original artist’s neighborhood thanks to the Kote Marjanishvili State Drama Theatre, where Georgia’s most famous writers like Shalva Dadiani and artists such as Petre Otskeli came together. Today, the neighborhood still attracts a creative crowd thanks to favorable rent prices, places like Fabrika where like-minded crowds gather nightly, and theater still shines. Movement Theatre is known for its open jam sessions while free spirits head to Bassiani, the famous nightclub located underneath the city’s football stadium, Dinamo Arena, or to Left Bank to dance until the sun comes up.
While it may seem easy to get distracted in this area, there are plenty of places for remote workers to hunker down and get some work done between urban exploits. Terminal Roses Garden Coworking and Impact Hub at Fabrika are two of the most popular coworking spots in the neighborhood, with other companies moving their headquarters to this side of town for more space at lower rents.
Marjanishvili is also home to the city’s largest market, the Deserter Bazaar, where locals sell produce, fruits, and other products at some of the most affordable prices in the city. Head to the market later in the day when you need a break from the hustle and grind of freelance and remote life for the best prices on fruits, meat, and produce when the sellers are ready to offload the rest of their goods in anticipation of heading home for the day.
When lunchtime hits, seek out the mezze platters at Weller, the lively outdoor atmosphere at Aprili, the artists' paradise inside Chveni Restaurant, the secret bar at the boutique, and totally darling, Unfound Door Hotel, or the scent of roasted coffee and fresh baked goods at Groovy Roasters. If you need a way to get around town quickly, and Bolt (Georgia’s version of Uber) or the Scroll pay-as-you-go scooters just aren’t cutting it for you, you can also rent a scooter or motorcycle from Scoot Scoot Scooter Rentals located in Fabrika for a fairly cheap mode of transport for the short or long term.
Straddled between Vera and Saburtalo, Vake is the neighborhood where embassies and hotels line the main street Chavchavadze, and where quaint cafes, juice bars, boutique wine stores, bike shops, and spas are around every corner.
You can snag a desk at Terminal Abashidze Coworking, which is one of the best places to get some work done alongside other keyboard warriors, or seek out the fun and funky Collider, which you can’t miss thanks to the giant mural of someone working on their computer outside. Between Zoom calls or emails, order a fresh juice from Ska Juice Bar or kombucha and vegan lunch from Namu Vegan Café for a better way to refuel, and treat yourself to some pampering at Nuage Spa and decompress with a much-needed massage after a long and exhausting work week.
Do like the Vake locals and spend your weekends outdoors, either walking through the newly renovated Vake Park, climbing the indoor routes at S.K. Lucky Climbing Wall inside Arena 2, or strolling through the kid and pet-friendly green spaces at the sprawling Mziuri Park. Additionally, the Soviet-style Turtle Lake Ropeway funicular is always an adventure for those brave enough to step foot inside.
Georgia is the place for wine and 8000 Vintages Wine Bar and Store is the place for finding local wine and incredible charcuterie boards, while its neighbor Wine Library will give you plenty of opportunities to drink your way through Georgia’s many different varietals.
If coworking spaces are starting to feel too stuffy and you need to change things up, Vake has tons of alluring coffee shops and cafes where working on your computer won’t feel uncomfortable. You can stop into Lui Coffee and order a desert as payment for your seat or go for the coffee and waffles at Shukura, a light lunch at Paul or Strada Mosashvili, or get your caffeine fix at Coffeeshop Company Tbilisi and work the day away.
As one of the more residential neighborhoods in the city, Saburtalo’s affinity for coworking spaces is quickly increasing. Spaces range from the industrial Collective Coworking Space, the homey apartment-turned-coworking space DONO Co-working Space, the movie-inspired Parking Co-Work— which boasts its own Back to the Future-style DeLorean in the lobby—and the more traditional Terminal University. You can even go cubicle-style and rent a desk at the new KD4US community space inside the King David Business Center.
Additionally, the UG Startup Factory, which is part of the University of Georgia is one of the most budget-friendly options in the city for remote workers with mobile businesses looking for a temporary place to call home. While the focus here is on the startup community, digital nomads and remote workers are also welcome to help add to the entrepreneurial atmosphere.
Last, but not least, Space Z is worth a mention thanks to its mid-century modern library design. There’s no receptionist or big brother watching over your shoulder here and when you need a break from your computer, swing on one of the hammocks, enjoy the outdoor seating, borrow a book from the library, or simply change seats for a change of energy.
Beyond these paid coworking spaces, spots like Coffee Lab, the Ska Juice Bar on University Street, and the Paul Café on Kazbegi Avenue are all a laptop-friendly. When happy hour hits and your eyes can’t take staring at a screen any longer, the Bernard across the street from Coffee Lab in Red Garden Park, live music at Sheen Aura, the favorably priced shwarma shops on Vakeli Street, and cold beers at the HB Hofbräu are all nearby.
Sololaki is a micro-district where Georgian architecture and the city’s revitalization shines. It’s a place where you’ll find cafes and restaurants on every corner, each more delicious than the last, and where coming across a quiet corner to work is as easy as finding a glass of wine, if not easier.
On the working front, places like Chaduna, Hurma, Café Dante, and Stories Coffee & Tea, are some great places to post up for the day. There aren’t any official coworking spaces in the neighborhood, but the number of cafes and corners more than make up for the price of a coffee, lunch, or something more motivating like a glass of wine or craft beer.
After hours, craft beer lovers flock to Black Dog Bar and Tsota Tsota Craft Beer Pub, while the seasonal cocktails at 41 Art of Drinks and the fresh take on the classic drinks at Soda Bar call to the cocktail enthusiasts. Tsitska Wine Shop, Vino Underground, and DADI Wine Bar and Shop have oenophiles covered while Café Littera from one of the most famous chefs in the city, Tekuna Gachechiladze, as well as Ezo, Café Kalina, and Isamani are just a few of the restaurants in the neighborhood that will have your taste buds jumping for joy.
Looking up is also important while making your way through this part of the city. You’ll start to notice monuments like the Mother of Georgia Monument (Kartlis Deda), the No. 58 Public School which is often called the Hogwarts school, Gallery 27 and its kaleidoscope-colored windows, as well as the National Botanical Garden of Georgia all from the streets of Sololaki.