What Makes This Luxe Gender-Neutral Cocktail Bar In Ukraine So Unique

But, wait — aren't all cocktail bars gender neutral? Chances are, no matter who you are, you've ordered from the same menu as everybody else sitting at the same drinking establishment you've stepped into. Nail salons, for example, are distinctly gendered spaces, often catering to specific audiences. Think cheerful pastel florals or oppressive dark wood and steel. At Say No Mo in Kyiv, Ukraine's capital, the enterprises are one and the same. 

Say No Mo is a self-described "social nail bar" boasting the unique feature of a "nail salon, cocktail bar, and café in one." The salon offers a full range of services you might expect to find in any other luxury nail salon or beauty bar: manicures, pedicures, makeovers, facials, eyelashes, and eyebrow shaping. It offers only 10 nail polishes, but the offerings are 100% vegan and nontoxic. And the on-site bar has a menu that pairs manicure designs with complementary-colored cocktails. 

But, that's where the similarities between Say No Mo and most salons end. This bar-plus-beauty lounge features consciously genderless décor. Here's how else this Ukrainian cocktail bar is aiming to redefine what beauty-centric establishments can be.

Say No Mo to gendered design

If you're thirsty for a fun afternoon and a refreshing change, Say No Mo boasts a sleek, modern environment of metallic earth tones with smatterings of white, gray, pale yellow, and gold (via The Cool Hunter). Situated in a historical building, brick walls and concrete structures add an air of sturdiness to the contemporary setting. Not only are decorations chic, but the color scheme is gender-neutral — a unique feature for any nail salon, which usually caters to a specific side of the gender binary scale. At Say No Mo, pinks or blues are nowhere to be found. 

According to Slava Balbek, the salon's lead designer, the style choice was deliberate. "The salon's name is in tune with Balbek Bureau's approach to this project — 'Say No Mo' to the traditional point of view on designing beauty salons, gender distinction, ordinary solutions, and 'yes' to the flight of imagination, creativity, and aesthetics," Balbek told DeZeen

What's on the menu?

The folks at Say No Mo are reimagining every aspect of the salon experience, so it only makes sense that the cocktail bar is equally innovative. The drink menu is avant-garde, with multiple pages of unique cocktails to try. As patrons get their nails buffed, immunity-boosting juice infusions like Hungover Booster and Good Eye Booster can be ordered and added to freshly-squeezed grapefruit juice. The menu presents an entire page of boozy hot chocolate-inspired craft cocktails, like the Triple Sec spiked hot cocoa called Granny's Pick and the nonalcoholic Chococcino (a chocolate cap). The bar's signature cocktails range from the self-titled Say No Mo (a spiced take on the classic Paloma) to the lively Kyiv Mule made with honey whiskey, peach bitters, lime, mint leaves, and ginger ale — a nod to the popular Ukrainian spiced honey-based alcohol medovukha, per Culture Trip.

Thirsty yet? If so, you're in luck. The bar staff at Say No Mo have been trained by acclaimed bartender Alex Petrou, who also aided in building the menu. As the establishment says, "Our bar staff have only one task: to impress and create out-of-the-box cocktails that leave a lasting impression each and every time you take a sip." It's not every day you come across an establishment that holds space for nonbinary and gender nonconforming people that also holds space for happy hour aperitivos and mani-pedis.