Working and Living in Tbilisi Georgia

tbilisi georgia

Updated: June 23, 2019. This post is a work in progress and I’ll be updating it over the next two months.

Visiting Tbilisi Georgia: I couldn’t have chosen a better time of year to head to the country of Georgia. Spring has the perfect weather. Daytime temps in the 70’s and 80’s and nighttime in the low 70’s. Moving into July-August the temps are certainly heating up. Average daily temps (now) end of June are in the low 90’s.

The City of Tbilisi

I fell in love with Tbilisi as soon as I entered my airbnb apartment. The building is former home of some Ambassador and you can see remnants of it’s former glory. High ceilings, intricate details on the facade and stairs all point to grandeur. It’s such a shame that the years of poverty here resulted in no upkeep of these beautiful buildings.

The whole city is full of this type of nearly abandoned – yet still lived in – atmosphere. Then – right next door is a stunning piece of modern architecture that looks straight out of Architectural Digest. With a mix of old, new, and post soviet buildings it’s an urban explorers dream location.

tbilisi georgia buildings
Restored to it’s former glory.

I absolutely loved simply choosing a neighborhood and walking around. There is so much beauty in Tbilisi. Check out the Italian Courtyards, that aren’t Italian. If the doors are open, I’m told it’s ok to walk in and have a look around. I was told once ‘NO PHOTOS’ but the occupants were friendly about it.

A few Facts about Tbilisi, Georgia (the country).

  • Georgia, a country at the intersection of Europe and Asia, is a former Soviet republic that’s home to Caucasus Mountain villages and Black Sea beaches.
  • Tbilisi is a ‘night-time’ city! Most activity doesn’t start until around 11am and runs into the wee hours of the morning. If you are an early-bird, you’re likely to have the streets all to yourself.
  • The climate of Georgia is mild and rainy on the coast and in the western plain, while it is more continental and arid in the central and eastern inland areas. In the mountains, it is obviously colder and there is significant snow in the winter – excellent for those that enjoy winter sports. In Tbilisi, the monthly average temperature ranges from 3 °C (37 °F) in January to 25 °C (77 °F) in July.  I’m told that they haven’t had any significant snow in Tbilisi for over 2 winters.
  • No-one speaks Georgian except Georgians. Georgia has a unique language consisting of 33 letters. Some of which are difficult for my American tongue to get around. Many of the words are extremely long გაკონტრრევოლუციონერებულებისათვისაც (gakontrrevolutsionerebulebisatvisats), literally – “also for the counter-revolutionized” 35 letters overall!!
  • Georgia is considered the ‘Birthplace of Wine’ and has been producing wine for at least 8,000 years! Most of the local ‘house’ wines seem to be the ‘dry-red’ or “Saperavi”.
  • Georgians are not outwardly friendly – until you get to know them!! They will make eye contact as you’re walking down the street and eye you top to bottom. Greeting them with a ‘Gamajoba’ seems to lighten their demeanor a little. But…once you’ve been introduced or start chatting (many do speak English)…beware! You might just get invited to bar hop for the evening or get invited to their home. Don’t let their immediate outward demeanor turn you away.

Recommended

market tbilisi georgia
Common Neighborhood Scene

Eat and Drink

Wine, hearty meals, and vegetarian options. Oh! And, did I mention WINE? Georgia is known as the Birthplace of wine and has been producing wine for at least 8,000 years! Even if you’re not an avid wine drinker (like me), you MUST try the wines here. My favorite is the ‘sweet red’.

**In addition to some classic favorites, I’ve tried to add places here that aren’t on every other Georgian blog. Hopefully you’ll find something that you haven’t been recommended before.

Cafe’s and Restaurants

  • #1 Stop is ANY of the local bakeries! You don’t have to look far, there is one on nearly every single block! Try a Khachapuri, or Lobiani for a quick pick-me-up snack! The meat or potato pastries are also a great snack or meal.
  • Keto and Kote – Has a beautiful garden and view to relax and dine. A little pricy but worth it. Hidden down a narrow street at the end of an alley.
  • Cafe Leila – One of the most quaint places I’ve been. Cozy vegetarian cafe with a vintage decor. Everything on the menu at Cafe Leila is expertly prepared and artfully served. The prices are very reasonable. Recommend the Khachpurrito and Lentil Soup.
  • Cafe Linville: This place does get busy. But…it’s SOOO cute!!! Also a possible workspace.
  • Sofia Melnikovas Fantastiuri Duqani – I loved this place! Great food and atmosphere. While I was here, there was a Supra going on where we got to enjoy the revelry, toasting (which was all in Georgian) and spontaneous Georgian singing from the group.
  • Cafe Flowers – Spend some time with nature exploring Rike Park, then enjoy a sunset view from this gorgeous cafe. I didn’t try the food here – but the view is outstanding.

Bars

  • Divino Wine Bar – The owner, Gega opened this place in 2018 and it’s a gem! Gega (and some of the staff) can give you excellent wine recommendations based on your preferences. Stop in and tell him that Candy say ‘HI’.
  • Warszawa Bar – Tiny place with great drinks and friendly staff.
  • Dive Bar – A local and expat hangout. Couchsurfing meet ups here on a regular basis. It’s a friendly place to meet other English speakers.
  • Chacha Time – Get your local chacha on!! Many flavors to choose from in addition to classic and unique cocktails.
  • Black Dog Bar – Local craft beer on tap. Tiny little place, gets quite busy on weekends.

Get Shit Done

Getting shit done is one of the most important aspects to living and working as a nomadic professional (#digitalnomad). I’m a home or cafe worker most of the time but there are some good places to grab a table (or a desk) and get down to business.

There is an emerging Digital Nomad community in Tbilisi (still early stages). I’ve created a new FB Group for Tbilisi Digital Nomads. It’s a small group for now…join in and help grow this community in Tbilisi.

  • Fabrika Tblisi is the most recommended. It’s a graffiti filled, hipster vibe. In addition, there is a Impact Hub Co-Work location here. I opted to work from the outdoor cafe tables. WiFi strength could have been better. There are a variety of tables, couches, and bars to work at from inside. The food choices here were overpriced and meh in my opinion.
  • Moxy Tbilisi is a Marriot brand hotel (a bit pricy for my budget to consider for accommodation). It has a fabulous lobby area with FREE co-working areas; including a private conference area and office that can be reserved. (I haven’t inquired about the fees). I haven’t worked here yet…but a quick WiFi check via my phone showed promise.
  • Rooms Hotel is a chic hotel from a converted old concrete paper factory. The garden terrace is a great place to open the laptop and get shit done.
  • Cafe Stamba at the Stamba Hotel. With the same owner as the Rooms Hotel, this converted publishing house turned Cafe/Hotel is beautiful. The cafe prices are reasonable and the garden is beautiful. I didn’t work from here so the opinion on the WiFi is pending.
  • Book Corner Cafe: I loved this spot and spend several long lazy afternoons working from here. It riverside and has a great view. Wifi was good both indoors and out. Food here is a little pricy (by Tbilisi standards). Coffee and wine both on point.
  • Prospero’s Books: Another of my favorite work spots. With a shaded courtyard and great wifi (you get a code valid for 3 hours with any purchase). The coffee here is great!

Get Out of Town

There is so much more to Georgia than just Tbilisi! Whatever your passion, you’re likely to find it here. From hiking, wineries, skiing, rafting, urban exploration, photography…there is something for everyone. Get out of Tbilisi and explore all that Georgia has to offer.

Apps & Resources

Transit

For transit around the city, one of the taxi apps works quite well. Most places aren’t more than 5-6 Lari on the high side. Prices to go up in the evenings around rush hour.

Get a Metro Card (2 lari) and use the Metro and Busses. I’m not an expert and find that there is no reason for me to repeat what’s already been provided. Check Travels of a Backpacker for a great summary on the Tbilisi transit options.

My Crazy Map of Tbilisi Georgia…

It’s the ultimate mess of messes, but it might just point you to the perfect spot. If you have any questions about any of the places listed, feel free to get in touch and ask. I’m constantly updating the map.

  • ❤️ Places I’ve been and would recommend
  • ⭐ Places that were recommended by others
  • Blue Pin: Photography and Abandoned
  • Green Pin: Grocery, Banks, Etc.

Let me know if I’ve missed any of your favorite spots in Tbilisi Georgia!