Per capita, the area around Shishman Street in Sofia possibly holds the highest number of pubs and bars in the entire city. That's the street that runs from Patriarch Evtimii Boulevard all the way to Radisson Blu Hotel and the Parliament building, an area affectionately known to locals as "The Horse's Rear".
Strolling along Shishman at night, one would be spoiled for choice as dozens of pubs of all sizes and proportions, both decent and dubious, are perched on both sides of the pavement.
Because the area is so overpopulated with watering holes, it would, theoretically at least, seem unfeasible for a proprietor to launch an establishment there amid the massive competition from all sides. Nevertheless, it happened just that a few months ago and two weeks into its existence, it had managed to gather a hard core following of eager customers.
It seems to have weathered the first months well enough, surviving the competition the numerous rivals, even as at least one other establishment folded during that span of time.
"One More Bar" is it exactly what the name suggests – just another watering hall in a tapestry of alcohol. The pub is on 12 Shishman Street, a 100-metre walk from Bilkova and about 60 metres from Radisson Blu Hotel.
A beautiful old Bulgarian house, flanked to the right by another house painted in a pleasant yellow; walk through the courtyard, which during the day offers the opportunity to enjoy the sunshine, a drink outdoors, and the "romantic" sights and sounds of Sofia traffic across the fence.
The pub is posh(ish). Newly decorated, with a sort of abstract interior, complete with sofas, armchairs, tables and stools, two bars and areas allowing for a more secluded drink – should the occasion necessitate.
The walls over the bar are oddly painted. Some would call it stylish and extravagant. I would say whoever owns the pub needs to contact the interior designer and claim their money back sharpish.
Apart from that, the place is decent, clean, comfortable, well-ventilated, the music is pleasant and at a normal level allowing for both enjoyment and a decent conversation. The bathrooms are relatively large, and for the most part, clean.
Visibly a "posher" or "high-class" crowd consisting mostly of young Bulgarians and, generally, the creamier cut of Sofia society. We have also observed that with every passing week, there are more foreigners frequenting the place. Musicians, artists, people working for Boyana films, expats, tourists, and faces you have seen on television – that as well as random walk-ins from the street – is more or less the clientèle.
Being steeper than your average Bulgarian pub, this reviewer's advice would be to pass by Bilkova for a few lagers, get in the mood and then venture to One More Bar. There is a kitchen, offering a wide choice of salads, ranging from seven to 14 leva (350g), about 10 different types of sandwiches – priced between seven and 10 leva (400g), plates with a cheese selection, and a wide assortment of wines: Bulgarian, Portuguese, Greek, as well as draught wide served in large mugs at 20 leva.
Spirits will set you back around six-seven leva, but there are more expensive varieties as well. There is no Bulgarian beer, no draught beer, nor does the place serve "regular"-sized beer, just the 330ml Heineken that makes one wonder what happened to it after two large swigs.
Something to be noted for the beer in particular – if you happen to pay three different prices for the same type of beer in the same night – don't be shocked. Officially, the price is 3.50 leva for a mini Heineken. I have paid 4.00 leva for it. I have paid 4.50 for it. On one occasion I paid 3.00 leva. Most of the time you pay the actual price, however.
Also, there are bowls with bananas and other pieces of fruit positioned strategically along the bar. I always assumed they were free and helped myself couple of times to a fruit. I would simply reach over take a banana and have it on the bar with my beer, in full view of everyone and no one ever gave me any grief. Turns out they cost two leva a piece as a friend discovered the hard way.
Still, the place has good atmosphere and plenty of women, so it is a definite must-try.