It’s all about the zig-zagging when it comes to Moscow bars so act like a swan – lots of dives and lots of swish! It’s not a particularly laid back city so get your glad rags on and join the Muscovites at play. You’ll soon discover the dark art of feis kontrol on the door whereby the elitny are protected from the grisly proles with a firm nyet.
It is time to pay homage to a fabulous blog from the halcyon days of clubbing in Moscow. It’s now suspended in time – maybe the raw materials just aren’t available any more – but you can peruse some quality sights here: https://moscowdoesntbelieveintears.blogspot.co.uk The name incidentally, is drawn from a famous 1970s Russian film. But oh boy do those words ring true in contemporary Mockba life…
I pride myself on delivering against any brief – but on this particular night the company requested a beery dive bar. Herorically off brief we fell into Turandot. I do believe this mini-Versailles is still the most lavish fit out in town. Perhaps there aren’t enough of the rare breed oligarchs to go round because we had the run of the place.
Tverskoy Boulevard, д. 26/5, Metro: Tverskaya
Now we’re talking – a long, sleek, dark bar. In this former light bulb factory you’ll be faced with a curtain wall of bottles ready to mix up some killer creative cocktails. It is a little out on a limb so commit to spending the night here – which is certainly no bad thing. The drink list reads well and tastes better – start with a honey & sorrel sharpener.
27 Bolshaya Pirogovskaya Ulitsa, bldg. 1, Metro: Sportivnaya, Frunzenskaya
The original loopy-bling bar. Has just tipped over the cool curve so you’ll be able to muscle in on the diminutive disco floor around the mosaic manga murals.
Stoleshnikov Per., 12 bldg 2, Metro: Kuznetsky Most
Although the restaurant outweighs the bar areas I suspect it might be a more rewarding experience to just enjoy a drink here. It’s a handsome place with lovely period features which are only mildly undermined by the dodgy Egyptian frescos.
18, Tverskoy blvd, Metro: Tverskaya
This old favourite takes some finding. A perfectly laid back bar bearing traces of its industrial past. Cheapish drinks and a great ambience; they have a couple of different rooms so you can pick and choose according to your mood.
A navigation tip – go into the courtyard, past the karaoke bar, second door on the left and up to the 2nd floor. Teatralniyi Proezd, 3, Metro: Lubyanka
The ultimate dive bar that always delivers. With four rooms they can simultaneously cater for those looking for a lost night and those looking for a quiet catch up; or just start at one end and work your way down over the course of an evening. This great den derives its name from the aeroplane wing in the main bar space.
25 Lyublyansky Proezd, Metro: Kitay Gorod
Totally OTT design and pricing but easy on the eye. Just go for drinks: do you really want to shell out £30 on a starter?
Kuznetsk Bridge Str, 6/3, Metro: Kuznetsky Most
O2 at the Ritz Carlton
It’s all about the top floor terrace with its sweeping panorama overlooking Red Square, the Kremlin and St Basil’s Cathedral. You’re in a proper pennies-in-peril zone here so perhaps make it an allocated beer hangout – just stay off the Chablis! Being rather scrupulous about design I’m going to be mean and say it looks rather 90s and dated on the inside.
Tverskaya Street 3, Metro: Okhotnyy
For a pub in Moscow I rather rate this. The flags deaden any din to make this basement seem that bit more cosy. It’s an amenable ex-pat stronghold, which is great if you’re new in town. Btw, the chap who looks a little sub-par in the pic was just a little upset about his team losing. Ice hockey is the national sport in Russia, strange but true.
Tverskaya ul. 5/6 (entry from Nikitsky pereulok), Metro: Okhotny Ryad
AND A SMATTERING OF CLUBS
Located in ArtPlay, a converted factory creative complex, this new cool cats’ club is up in the eaves. Slightly iffy sound system but good for the latest electronica nevertheless. I gather it is a design studio by day and club by night – my how accommodating and enterprising!
10, Nizhnyaya Syromyatnicheskaya St, Metro: Kurskaya
A true gem of a club housed in an old villa with plenty of space to swing a cat and bust a few moves. Room after room with great drinks coming out of the cocktail bar and top music coming out the sound systems. Airy and well designed with a big courtyard out the back to hang out under the stars. Stylish, slightly older crowd.
Solyanka 11/6, bld. 1, Metro: Kitai Gorod
A reliable, thronging club of appealing proportions.
Per. Bolshoi Zlatustinsky 7, Metro: Lubyanka
Genre Crisis is a faintly studenty place with a sunken dancefloor. Good straight after work or at 3am. Find it up a brief alley off the main road.
Ul. Pokrovka 16/16, bldg.1, Metro: Chistye Prudy
The leading industrial club in town. It used to be based in a gas plant which was destroyed in a fire and has now moved a few industrial plants down. I saw the aftermath of the fire: rather curiously there was a plethora of glow sticks amongst the cinders that had survived the devastation in the way that roaches are reputed to be able to survive a nuclear outbreak.
17/5 Nijni Susalni Pereulok, Metro: Kurskaya
Alas I haven’t been because I couldn’t recruit a playmate – but would for the name alone. Doesn’t it look fun? There’s always next time.
Ul. Pokrovka, Metro: Kitai Gorod