KGB in the News

Denis Woychuk’s Favorite Spots in Ukrainian Village


New York Magazine

Denis Woychuk’s Favorite Spots in Ukrainian Village

When Denis Woychuk was growing up in Flatbush in the late 1950s and ’60s, he often took trips into the city with his father. His dad immigrated to the U.S. from Ukraine in 1929, and in the Ukrainian Village he didn’t even have to try to speak English. Often, they would stop by 85 E. 4th Street, which was then the Ukrainian Labor Home, a kind of socialist social club. The Ukrainian Daily News was headquartered there, Soviet propaganda films were shown, and plenty of vodka was poured at the bar. Woychuk inadvertently had his own first drink here at just 5 years old, after a bartender decided it would be funny to serve him. In 1993, after he was well past the legal drinking age, Woychuk bought the building and opened the Kraine Gallery (that’s short for Ukraine) and KGB Bar.

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Some Russian restaurants in New York City standing with Ukraine amid unrest overseas


Laueren Glassberg

ABC Eyewitness News

NEW YORK (WABC) — The conflict in Ukraine is thousands of miles away, but that isn’t stopping New Yorkers from showing their support at home any way they can.

That includes eating at Ukrainian restaurants and skipping out on meals at Russian-owned businesses.

The vodka, the décor — it all feels Russian, and that’s the idea. It’s meant to be nostalgic for those who fled the Soviet Union.

“We all ran from the same evil,” Vlada von Shats said. >> read more

Coronavirus in NY: KGB Bar is staying alive by telling artists’ stories online


Mackenzie Dawson


As bars and restaurants across NYC struggle with the devastating effect of city-wide shutdowns due to COVID-19, one beloved literary hangout, KGB Bar, is doing its part to help its staff during this tough time.

The bar itself is shuttered, but writers, poets and artists will still be livestreaming literary readings and other events on Zoom that people can watch from the comfort of their own apartments (and hopefully, tip generously with Venmo). >> read more

KGB Bar in NYC Fights to Stay Afloat


Emma Hine

Poets and Writers

The website for KGB Bar, one of the New York City literary world’s most iconic gathering places, currently features a black banner: “In compliance with New York State government orders in response to the COVID-19 pandemic emergency, KGB Bar and The Red Room will be closed till we’re able to gather and work safely.” The bar and event space, which every evening is typically filled with artists and art lovers enjoying a beverage and a performance or reading, has been closed since March 14.

Kellfire Bray leads an audience in the Red Room at KGB Bar through the history of absinthe at a recent event.

“We have had occasional difficulties in the past,” says the bar’s founder and owner, Denis Woychuk, “but nothing on this scale or even close.” In its twenty-six-year history, KGB Bar has only ever closed on Thanksgiving and Christmas because, Woychuk says, “we feel we must be there to serve our community.” >> read more

A Home for Writers & Rebels: Profile of Denis Woychuk


Felicity Luhill

The Inquisitive Eater

85 E 4th Street houses the Kraine Theater, the famous KGB Bar, and, its latest edition, the Red Room. Though there is much discussion about its individual parts, the building as a whole has a long and rich history, much of which is evident. The owner, Denis Woychuk, is one of the wittiest, warmest people I’ve ever met, and is quick to open up.

As we sit and chat in the Red Room, he’s quick to relate everything that’s happened in 85 East 4th: “In 1838 this building was built. Think about this. The Civil War is almost 30 years in the future. Lincoln’s wearing short pants and studying his grammar, he’s… I really don’t know what Lincoln was doing.” >> read more