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Photos author is Alexander Lytvyn

Kneipp Club ‘Kupidon’ (‘Cupid’)

Concerning with the sight:

Kneipp Club ‘Kupidon’ (‘Cupid’)

Kyiv literary life did not always take place in writers’ offices, literary debates, or even in the Writers’ Union itself. Literary cafes are essential points on the cultural map of the city. In 1919, there were two art cafes in Mykolaivska Street (now Horodecki Street). The first was ‘KHLAM’ (an abbreviation of four Ukrainian words: painters, writers, artists, musicians) in the basement of the Continental Hotel, where young Pavlo Tychyna and Mykhail Semenko read their poems, there were also artists Anatolii Petrytskyi, Vadym Meller, Olexandra Ekster. A little later, in the luxurious house of Ginzburg, the Cellar of Arts (Liokh Mystetstv) opened its doors for the same young poets, and Petrytskyi decorated the rooms. In Soviet times, the Writers’ Union building housed the Enei Cafe, a location of such a legendary repute that Volodymyr Danylenko, in his Dzenki-Brenki, brought together all Ukrainian writers in that cafe, including Nestor the Chronicler as well as the Bubabists.

Undoubtedly, the most prominent literary café in modern Kyiv is the Kneipp Club ‘Kupidon’ on the corner of Pushkinska and Prorizna Streets, also known as ‘The Last Shelter of the Ukrainian Intelligentsia.’ The establishment is not old: it was opened in 1995. The artistic ideologist of the pub is its owner Fedir Balandin. The first literary patron of ‘Kupidon’ was the writer and translator Yurko Pokalchuk, and the current one is Oleksandr Irvanets.

The interior of the café is set with antique furniture and rare theatrical posters of the early 20th century. The interior was designed by Lviv artist Vlodko Kaufman and Kyiv underground artist Kyrylo Protsenko.

As befits a good literary café, it has a wonderful second-hand bookstore. Literary evenings and musical performances are regularly held here. For more than six years, the First Poetic Coffee has been held every Saturday, the oldest weekly literary event in Ukraine: poets read poems, ‘Kupidon’ treats with coffee. The poetic assembly is hosted by Oleksandr Irvanets, who determines the winner. The tradition of such readings was brought to Kyiv from Zagreb, and from there spread to Lviv.

Concerning with the sight: