During Soviet times, the site of Fabrika Tbilisi was a buzzing nest of activity where dozens of people worked to produce clothes sold across Georgia and beyond. Today, the old factory has become a dynamic hub for art, food, travel and socializing.

The central courtyard serves as a neatly divided nexus, with cafés and restaurants on one side and shops on the other—selling vinyl records, spray paint, ceramics, plants, furniture and more.

Each business was carefully selected for quality, artistic value and community spirit. Since Fabrika opened in 2016, its 22 “residents” have joined forces to establish their home as a popular gathering point for locals and visitors alike.

“We are really small subcultures in one place,” explained Bacha, a street artist who runs the CRU graffiti store.

“If you want to grow, you need to collaborate with not only your scene. We are all thinking together about how to change the flow of the city.”

Bacha and his friends have free reign to decorate the Fabrika façade. Their colorful designs add contrast to the imposing stone wall—with detailed carvings depicting Soviet social virtues—above the main entrance.

It’s a striking welcome. The hostel accommodates 400 guests in rooms that vary from duplex family suites to large dormitories with bunk beds—ideal for travelers on a budget.

An ample breakfast buffet featuring local specialties, such as khachapuri and lobiani breads, in a communal dining area—as well as comfy lounge couches and friendly staff—mean it’s easy to get chatting with someone.

Helping people feel involved in the scene is fundamental to the Fabrika philosophy. “When we travel somewhere else, we want to be part of the local community, not just tourists,” said Gogiko Sakvarelidze, one of the founders and lead architects.

“We wanted to make something mixed, and with this case we hit the goal.”

Article published by Great Big Story – February 18, 2020.

Radio story broadcast on Monocle 24 – August 29, 2019.

Faces of Fabrika

The artisanal secrets
of Georgian winemaking

Featured in The Menu on Monocle 24 – November 8, 2019.