I love these places. When I first started traveling in former Soviet countries it was a nightmare to stop in small town dives because I was the center of attention. But now I know enough Russian to slide into the background and become anonymous.
There is always a show, no rules in these joints. For example, on the last page of the menu instead of desserts there is listed the price of broken glasses, plates, chairs and tables.
I have seen people get so drunk that they pass out and piss everywhere- normal (someone will be out to clean it). Fights, normal: I once saw a guy flattened on the outskirts of Kiev, trail of blood, broken glasses, face down in gravel and a 13ish year old girl roller bladed right over him without a second thought.
WATCH: First meal in Ukraine, from Everything is Illuminated
One reason I stay in Ukraine is to stretch my money so that I can work on my projects longer. The dollar still has balls here. For example, dinner today:
1 manly bowl of borscht
1/4 loaf of sour dough bread
1 garlic roll
1/2 litre of local brew
Price: 1.75 USD.
The downside? Olga will fuck you up if you don't finish her soup.