Must-see nightlife in Russia

  • Kofeynya Kultura

    Krasnoyarsk

    As the name suggests, this is a den of coffee nerds who see the dark brew as an agent of cultural revolution and who perpetually experiment with brewing…

  • Parka

    Zamoskvorechie

    'Parka' is a banya (bathhouse) term, hence the sauna-like decor, and just like a proper banya, this is a very relaxing place. The friendly bartenders let…

  • Macondo Coffee & Store

    Ulan-Ude

    A bric-a-brac shop attached to the city museum comes with a hobbit-sized coffee bar that provides a welcome respite from dust, railway slime and instant…

  • Bar Barevich

    Kola Peninsula

    Craft beer in the Arctic Circle! This US-style bar serves a range of limited craft beers (from R250), oysters from the White Sea, and grilled meat. Also…

  • Dead Poets Bar

    St Petersburg

    This very cool place has a sophisticated drinks menu and an almost unbelievable range of spirits stacked along the long bar and served up by a committed…

  • Kvartira 44

    Zamoskvorechie

    Back in the olden days, the best place to go for a drink was your neighbour’s flat, which would be crowded with mismatched furniture and personal…

  • Dictatura Estetica

    Zamoskvorechie

    Aesthetics indeed rule this stylish little bar, but its main appeal lies in the gin cocktails based on secret potions, which its mixologists produce out…

  • Art Lebedev Cafe Studio

    Presnya

    Owned by design guru Artemy Lebedev, this tiny space invites an attractive arty crowd to sip fancy coffee drinks and exotic teas. Regulars love the house…

  • Svoboda

    Moscow

    A flagship of the new converted factory space, Khlebozavod 9, this is a relatively large two-level bar specialising in craft beer. At the end of the week,…

  • Start-Up Cafe

    Murmansk

    This centrally located cafe serves great toasted cheese sandwiches (R150) as well as the usual range of caffeine hits. There are also piles of Russian…

  • Engineria Coffee

    Irkutsk

    These guys are nerdishly serious about the brew and if you share their passion, you can spend half an hour talking about percolate, immersion and…

  • Bisquit

    Ulan-Ude

    A stylish coffee-shop-cum-bar with bare brick walls and leather couches serves as coffee ambassador to Asian tea lands. Food is also available. A giant…

  • Tovarishch

    Krasnoyarsk

    A few dozen brands of Russian and international beers, both draft and bottled, are on offer in this dim-lit bar with crypto-Maoist subtext ciphered in the…

  • Harat's Pub

    Eastern Siberia

    Savour the slightly surreal experience of sipping a pint of Newcastle Brown in an Irish pub in Chita, while pondering just where the owners got all those…

  • Fomin Bar & Shop

    Kazan

    Convivial drinking spot features a daily rotating menu of craft beers on tap as well as a small selection of beer snacks, such as sliced horsemeat sausage…

  • Top Hop

    Kazan

    Popular spot on Kazan's pedestrianised party street serves 39 different types of beer on tap as well as a small menu of beer-friendly foods such as…

  • Kwak Inn

    Irkutsk

    There is a bit of an American-diner feel about this supposedly Belgian place that belongs to Estonians. But crucially, it has a very good vibe, with…

  • Divan

    Kazan

    This tiny coffeehouse, in a ramshackle historic house on the edge of the Old Tatar Settlement, features fresh-roasted coffees as well as vegan and…

  • Cafeletto

    Volga Region

    The ideal, refined spot to nip in for the city's best coffee and cake experience. It also does lunch-type foods, such as salads and quiches.

  • Pinup Pub

    Volga Region

    Rocker bar with 15 craft beers on tap and a short list of decent snacks and light meals, such as salads and burgers (R350).

  • Kaffee Haus

    Northern European Russia

    Widely acclaimed for Petrozavodsk’s best coffee and cakes.

  • Kamchatka

    Moscow

    Kamchatka is a generic term for all things fringe, and this cavernous pub seems to have been designed to prove that beer can go for R80 even in a prime…

  • Zhiguli Beer Hall

    Arbat & Khamovniki

    It’s hard to classify this old-style stolovaya (cafeteria) that happens to brew great beer. The place harks back to the Soviet years, when a popular…

  • Mayak

    Presnya

    Named for the Mayakovsky Theatre downstairs, this is a remake of a much-beloved club that operated in this spot throughout the 1990s. The reincarnated…

  • Pueroport

    Zamoskvorechie

    Don't leave Gorky Park without trying one of the invigorating tea-based drinks at this kiosk-like outlet on the embankment. Here, they mix tea with sweet…

  • Heroes

    Moscow

    Giant murals depicting Russian countercultural icons – Vladimir Vysotsky, Shnur and Sergei Bodrov Jr – observe a merry crowd of hipsters ticking off new…

  • Pitcher Pub

    Zamoskvorechie

    This strategically located little bar is all about craft beer with a couple of dozen ales, stouts and lagers on tap, coming from Russian and European…

  • Coffee Mania

    Presnya

    A longtime popular place for the rich and beautiful to congregate, this friendly, informal cafe is beloved for its homemade soups, freshly squeezed juices…

  • Daiquiri Bar

    St Petersburg

    Escape the Nevsky buzz at the legendary Daiquiri Bar on Konyushennaya square. With literally hundreds of cocktails, it can take half an hour to look…

  • Tea House cafe in St Petersburg's Summer Garden.

    Tea House

    St Petersburg

    The nicest of several cafes located within the Summer Garden, where you can also watch free musical performances on some nights during the summer months.

  • Kvartira 44

    Presnya

    Somebody had the brilliant idea to convert an old Moscow apartment into a crowded, cosy bar, with tables and chairs tucked into every nook and cranny, and…

  • Nikuda Ne Edem

    Presnya

    This split-level gastropub also has a sort of split personality, with cosy living-room decor in one area and a slick back-lit bar in another. The overall…

  • Old Moose Pub

    The Urals

    Owner Illya set out to open a pub that served the best international beers in town. He succeeded and today attracts a diverse crowd with his wide…

  • Sky Bar

    St Petersburg

    The top floor of the Soviet-era Azimut Hotel, one of the city's biggest eyesores, is also home to the Sky Bar, quite simply the best place to get a bird's…

  • Gran

    St Petersburg

    Gran is a great little neighbourhood cafe that prepares excellent cups by your brew method of choice – Aeropress, Chemex or Hario pour-overs. Of course,…

  • Simachyov

    Moscow

    By day it’s a boutique and cafe, owned and operated by the famed fashion designer of the same name; by night, this place becomes a hip-hop-happening…

  • Dyuni

    St Petersburg

    What looks like a small suburban house sits rather incongruously here amid repurposed warehouses in this vast courtyard. There’s a cosy indoor bar and a…

  • Golubaya Ustritsa

    St Petersburg

    Loud, lewd and lots of fun, this is the coolest gay place in town. Take your pick from the main bar, where the uninhibited crowd is often quite literally…

  • Eto Bar

    St Petersburg

    An easygoing newcomer to the nightlife scene, Eto is a cosy, brick-walled space with a wooden bar (recycled from the theatre stage next door) and live…

  • Ziferburg

    St Petersburg

    Tucked inside the Golitsyn Loft, this is one of St Petersburg's loveliest spots to while away an afternoon. Elegant furnishings, huge windows and a piano…

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