Tbilisi, the capital city of the Republic of Georgia, is fast becoming a haven for digital nomads. LOKAL CoWorking and LOKAL CoLiving are the newest places for nomads to gather to live, work, and learn. Here, we’ve got your guide to the awesome city of Tbilisi we now call home. Read on, and we can’t wait to see you here!
Working and Living in Tbilisi, Georgia, as a Digital Nomad
If you’re like us, you’ll fall in love with Tbilisi as soon as you get down from the plane, bus, or automobile. It’s a gorgeous city with a mix of old and new in everything you encounter. Nearly abandoned buildings stand next to freshly built modern ones, post-Soviet remnants mingle with contemporary pieces, the working-class’ staple meal of khinkali (a dumpling full of meat and juices) is spiffed up in high-class restaurants and served next to expensive dishes. Tbilisi has an eclectic atmosphere that’s hard to find anywhere else in the world.
Georgia << not to be confused with the U.S. state
- Georgia is officially part of Europe, but it’s so close to Asia that one of its nicknames is the “balcony to Asia.” The Caucasus Mountains and Black Sea are part of its breathtaking landscape.
- Tbilisi is a nighttime city. Dinner starts around 8 p.m. and other parties or nighttime activities, 11 p.m. Because of this, you’ll be hard pressed to find a coffee shop that opens before 10 a.m. Plan to adjust your sleeping schedule if you’re not used to the European way.
- Climate in Georgia is varied so you’ll be sure to find something that you like. The weather is mild near the coast and in the western plains and is continental and arid in the central and eastern inland areas. The mountainous regions will be cooler and will have 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. Snow in Tbilisi is rare.
- Georgians speak Georgian. It’s a language unlike any other, with an alphabet of 33 curly, round, undulating letters. Some “words” are more like sentences and are extremely long, like the 35-letter word გაკონტრრევოლუციონერებულებისათვისაც (pronounced as ga-k’ontr-revolucioner-eb-ul-eb-is-nair-eb-is-tvis-ac), which literally means “also for the counter-revolutionized.”
- When you think of Georgia, wine doesn’t immediately pop in your head, unless you’ve been here and experienced the fabulous, clean, oh-so-tasty wine. Georgia claims to be the birthplace of wine and there is evidence that the nectar of the gods has been produced here for at least 8,000 years! Wine is prevalent in every restaurant and bar, and a glass of house-wine will set you back approximately 5 lari (about $1.50 at time of writing). The most popular varieties are saperavi (dry red) and tsinandali (dry white).
- It’s a gamble for which Georgian personality you’ll get upon first meeting a local. They’ll either be super friendly and you’ll be drinking wine together within minutes of meeting or they will give you the death stare and only time will soften the intensity. Either way, saying gamarjoba, hello in Georgian, will earn you brownie points with the locals. Many Georgians speak English and Russian, but having a few key Georgian phrases in your pocket shows you’re truly interested in their culture.
Eating and Drinking in Tbilisi, Georgia
Wine, beer, meat, bread, a plethora of vegetarian options, wine, wine, and more wine. It’s common to eat family-style, ordering a bunch of dishes to share with your dining companions. And, even if you’re not a big wine drinker, we think you should give it a try. You’re in what is perhaps the oldest place to have been producing wine; it’s part of history and you shouldn’t miss out.
Here are some of our favorite places to eat and drink.
- For a quick snack, any local bakery is sure to delight your taste buds. They are as common as Starbucks is in Seattle, but most are run individually by a family. They are often tiny places, tucked into a nook of a building or at the sidewalk level with a window to order from. Khachapuri (bread with cheese or other filling) or lobiani (bread filled with beans and sometimes ham) are the go-tos. Meat or potato pastries are also a great snack or meal.
- Keto and Kote—K&K has a relaxing, inviting atmosphere with a colorful garden and great view. It’s on the pricey side but worth it.
- Cafe Leila— It’s one of the most Instagrammed cafes with its Persian style décor and breathtaking carved-wood and mirror ceiling. Everything on the menu at Cafe Leila is vegetarian, but you won’t miss the meat with its expertly prepared and artfully served food. The prices are reasonable for being in the main tourist area of the city. We love the khachpurrito and lentil soup.
- Cafe Linville—This place is popular for a reason and it does get busy. Vintage décor creates a warm, inviting atmosphere. Bring your laptop, order a tea, and get some work done.
- Sofia Melnikovas Fantastiuri Duqani—Tbilisi has a lot of hidden places—literally, like unless you knew it was there you wouldn’t know it was there. This adds to the charm of this place, not to mention the food is good, plentiful, and inexpensive.
- Cafe Flowers—After walking around Rike Park, head to this nearby café to enjoy a sweeping view of the city. Sunsets are spectacular to watch from here.
- Our friends Tom and Meg (who moved to Tbilisi this year, the city is that good) run the fabulously informative food and travel blog Food, Fun, Travel. Visit their post for more food tips: Food, Fun, Travel’s foodie guide to Georgia.
- Divino Wine Bar—Opened in 2018, Gega (the owner) and the staff can give you recommendations for wine based on your preferences.
- Warszawa Bar—Friendly staff, intimate setting…what more do you want?!
- Dive Bar—Just as it sounds—basic joint with inexpensive drinks. Couchsurfing meet-ups are hosted here on a regular basis, and lots of expats hang out here as well.
- Chacha Time—Chacha is a strong alcohol made from grapes, think of it as the Georgian version of Kentucky moonshine. No place better to sample lots of flavors or to have a unique chacha-based cocktail.
- Black Dog Bar—Craft beer is catching on in Georgia and Black Dog is one place to find it on tap.
- Object 47—Craft beer bar with welcoming, friendly staff. Another hidden gem that can be tough to find but the search is part of the fun.
Groceries and Shopping
- Carrefour, Europroduct, and Goodwill—The three big supermarket chains where you can go to stock up on groceries.
- Spar—The cleanest quick-mart for simple items. You can find them all over the city.
- AgroHub—Among regular grocery products, AgroHub has some specialty items that you might not find in the other chain stores. There are only a couple of locations in the city.
- Sidewalk stands, butchers, and other small shops—You can find fresh vegetables, cheese, eggs, milk, meat, and pastries/baked goods in these non-branded stores.
- Dezerter Market—This is an area full of vendors selling everything from lightbulbs to socks to pig’s heads. It’s chaotic, yet you can find anything and everything here if you’ve got the energy.
- PSP, GPC, Aversi, Pharmadepot—Pharmacies for medicine, vitamins, beauty products, baby food, eye-care needs are on every block, sometimes one of each on every block.
- Clean House—This is the ultimate place for both home cleaning products and personal hygiene needs. They are everywhere as well, so you’ll never be far from being clean.
Where Digital Nomads Do Their Work in Tbilisi
Cafés are plentiful in Tbilisi, there are a few coworking spaces (like LOKAL), and there is a great program catering to digital nomads called Work From Georgia, so finding a place to do your stuff is easy.
The digital nomad community in Tbilisi is growing. Candy Treft (LOKAL’s founder) started the FB group Tbilisi Digital Nomads and it’s well above 700 members. Because it’s small, you’ve got a chance to get to really know your fellow digital nomads here and become a part of the community.
Our Favorite Tbilisi Digital Nomad Work Spots
- LOKAL—Officially launched in March 2020, LOKAL is the newest coworking place in Tbilisi. The internet is fast, the space is inviting, and the people are amazing. We host a ton of events, workshops, and networking opportunities here and like to think of ourselves as the Tbilisi digital nomad community builders. We’ve got a super chill environment with kitchen facilities and a great patio. Free coffee and tea. Beer and wine for purchase.
- Book Corner Cafe—Nice spot on the river with great views. Wifi is good both indoors and out. Food here is pricey by Tbilisi standards. Coffee and wine are on point.
- Prospero’s Books—They have several locations throughout the city, but the one on Rustaveli is the most well-known. You’ll get a WiFi code good for three hours so you can sit back, drink your coffee or tea, and do your work, all surrounded by books written by the great ones.
- Medithek—Quiet library perfect to work without distractions. There are three locations in Tbilisi: Vake, Nadzaladevi, and Varketili.
- Work from Georgia—This is an initiative to get more DNs to come to Georgia. Several local businesses are offering free office space (and sometimes free other things) for you to come and work. This is a spectacular way to tap into local resources. There are 30 workspaces in variety of businesses from a film production company to a sock-making company.
Additional Work Spots to Check out
- Fabrika Tbilisi—Fabrika has certainly made a name for itself as THE place to be in Tbilisi for tourists and digital nomads alike. It’s graffiti painted, hipster filled, and eclectically decorated. On the spacious first floor, there are many, many couches, chairs, and tables for you to find a place to work. Or, head outside to the patio, also full of tables and chairs. We found the WiFi to be a bit weak, but maybe it was just the day we were there. There is a variety of restaurants—from Asian to Mexican—we thought the food was so-so and overpriced.
- Impact Hub at Fabrika—Bright, spacious, and full of digital nomads. They claim to be the world’s largest network focused on building entrepreneurial communities.
- Moxy Tbilisi—It’s a hotel first but it has a great lobby and restaurant to work from. They’ve been great at letting the Tbilisi Digital Nomads FB group host events here, so we like them a real whole lot. If you need a private conference area or office, you can reserve that. WiFi is fab.
- Rooms Hotel—Another place to see and be seen, this chic hotel was a former concrete factory. We like working from the garden terrace.
- Cafe Stamba at the Stamba Hotel—If you love books, then you will love Stamba. In its former glory it was a publishing house, but it’s now a hotel, restaurant, and café. 1000s of books line the walls and old publishing machinery is still visible. Food and drinks are top-notch (and the price reflects that) but it’s good to indulge every now and then, right?!
Apps & Resources
Here are a few apps and other resources that will come in handy while living and working in Tbilisi as a digital nomad.
- Tbilisi Digital Nomads
- Georgian Wanderers
- Expats in Tbilisi
- Tbilisi Dining Group
- Women in Tbilisi (WIT)