Smoke-Free Yerevan: Finding Fresh Air in Armenia's Capital
by Anna Bogossian
Sunday, November 20, 2016
In Armenia, where smoking is somewhat of a cultural pastime, finding a Smoke-free spot to hang out is difficult. Cigarettes and hookah are the main indulgences, and it’s not uncommon to pass by groups of smokers, young and old, seated at an outdoor cafe or hanging out on the street corner. The habit of smoking is so deeply ingrained in Armenian culture (and many other cultures, for that matter) that it shouldn’t come as a surprise that smoking indoors in public establishments is not banned in Armenia. This presents a bit of a problem for us non-smokers (and smokers who just need a break) who are looking for some fresh air as they do work or who want to come home after a night out without having to toss their clothes into the incinerator.
Fortunately, in the past several years, more and more smoke-free cafes, restaurants, and other public spaces have been popping up around Yerevan, Armenia’s capital city. While their numbers are limited, it seems safe to say that this trend will continue throughout the city, and maybe even eventually throughout the country. Below are a few of the best smoke-free spots in Yerevan – visit them, frequent them, and help them continue their good work.
Twelve Tables is one of the best cafes in Yerevan – and it just so happens to be smoke-free. Like its name suggests, this cozy underground spot consists of only 12 tables, so be sure to get there early to avoid the lunch and dinner rush. The place has a lot of charm – funky DIY decorations, handwritten menus, and colorful tablecloths are just some examples of what you’ll find. It’s a great place to spend your day working or enjoy a tasty and affordable dinner with friends or loved ones. Pretty much everything on the menu is delicious, and you can wash down your meal by choosing from their expansive tea selection. Location: Tumanyan 40-63
You can always depend on Crumbs to provide a comfortable, friendly, smoke-free environment. Their sandwiches are amazing and their custom made plates and cups (for sale to the public) are too cute to ignore. Centrally located across from the Opera, Crumbs is perfect for both a quick cup of coffee or a more elaborate meal in between your daily adventures. And, if you are a smoker, they’ve got an outdoor seating area you can escape to that looks out onto the city. Location: Mashtotsi Ave. 37 and Byron 6
Aeon is a very unique cafe in the heart of Yerevan, marketing themselves as a creative space for people of diverse interests to come together and share ideas, engage in new projects, listen to or play music, screen movies, hang out, take classes, work, study, or just enjoy a relaxing and welcoming atmosphere. At Aeon, rather than paying for what you consume, you pay for the amount of time you spend there. Included in the cost of your time is free access to things like tea, coffee, snacks, WiFi, laptops and tablets, board games, musical instruments, books, and services such as scanning, photocopying, and printing. Location: 3a Teryan St
Green Bean is a 100% smoke-free, eco-friendly cafe that combines great service, delicious food, and environmentally responsible business practices. It’s one of the most popular places in town, frequented by both locals and foreigners. They’ve also got a great shop inside the cafe that sells locally produced food and home items. What’s not to love? Location: 10 Amiryan St. and 38 Isahakyan
In addition to selling delicious fresh-baked breads and pastries, Baguette & Co. is a fun, comfortable, smoke-free place for meeting up with friends or doing work. While most places in Yerevan don’t open until 10 AM, Baguette & Co. opens at 8:30 AM and closes at midnight, making it the perfect spot for an early breakfast or late night sweet treat. Location: 20 Abovyan St
Charentsi 28 opened its doors in 2008 and has since become known as one of the most beautiful restaurants in Yerevan. Transformed from a two-story home, the restaurant has kept a lot of the buildings original charm and cozy atmosphere. Apart from being impeccably designed, Charentsi 28 also boasts an eclectic menu of Armenian, Mediterranean, Thai, Indian, and Mexican dishes. The restaurant has isolated areas for smoking, such as their beautiful balcony area. Location: Charentsi 28
This delicious French restaurant in the heart of Yerevan has a great selection of both local and foreign wines for you to pair with your meal. The best part? Their indoor area is smoke-free! For seafood lovers, their mussels are a must, and for dessert, don’t pass up their creme brulee. Location: Tamanyan 2
For a classy night out with friends, look no further than In Vino, a wine bar located on one of the most up-and-coming streets in Yerevan. It can often be hard to find smoke-free places to grab a drink, which makes In Vino’s atmosphere even more welcome. Their wide selection of wines are divided by country of origin, and can be enjoyed with your choice of meats, cheeses, olives, and other snacks from France, Italy, Germany, the Czech Republic, Greece, and Armenia. The space is small, so be sure to reserve a table ahead of time, especially on the weekend. Location: 6 Saryan St
Much like Aeon Anti-Cafe, The Loft is a smoke-free spot in Yerevan where you pay for your time. The Loft markets itself as a space for self-development and leisurely activities. It’s a large space where you have access to a playroom, open kitchen, conference hall, a room for yoga, dance, or other activities, a large hall for cultural events, a stage with a piano and other musical instruments, and a newly opened rest area. It’s also open 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. There isn’t much that you can’t do at The Loft. Location: Moskovyan 3.
Looking for more smoke-free spots in Yerevan? Check out this newly launched, interactive crowd-sourced map with details on the smoking policies of various pubs, clubs, cafes, and more around Armenia. Add or edit information to the map with every new location you find!
by Anna BogossianSunday, November 20, 2016
I'm a curious person. I find joy in reading, writing, and observing things around me. Originally from the United States but am now living and working in Armenia, and I haven't looked back since.Read more at annainarmenia.com