Must-see nightlife in Russia

  • All Ready

    Veliky Novgorod

    All Ready is a bright contemporary cafe with pot plants and comfy cushioned booths. Centrally located, it's a handy spot for a coffee or cocktail break…

  • BARak O’mama

    Western European Russia

    If you're into Hard Rock Cafe–style mainstream bars, you'll enjoy this place with sports on the huge screen, international flags dangling, live music most…

  • Poison

    St Petersburg

    This shabby dive bar, one of many crammed into the Dumskaya/Lomonosova block, specialises in rock-and-roll karaoke. Lubricate your vocal chords with cheap…

  • Bar Onegin


    Bar Onegin whips up tasty salads, sushi, pastas and grilled fish dishes (mains R350 to R650), but it mainly serves as a bar. It's a fairly stylish spot,…

  • Mishka Pub

    Sakhalin Island

    In the basement of the Rubin Hotel, this expat haven is popular for its huge Russian business lunch (noon to 3pm, R300). Later on, stop in for pub grub …

  • Sovetskiy Sport

    Western European Russia

    This compact basement bar combines a bit of Soviet-era kitsch and propaganda with a modern-day enthusiasm for televised sports; join the armchair athletes…

  • Blin-House

    Northern European Russia

    Branches of this appealing chain pepper the city. Great for tea, coffee, milkshakes, imaginative cocktails, sweet and savoury bliny (wheat pancakes),…

  • Greensleeves Irish Pub

    Veliky Novgorod

    An Irish bar in the birthplace of Russia may seem a bizarre concept, but they've definitely got the craic down pat here. There are loads of beers on tap…

  • Grey Goose


    Cavernous lounge cafe/bar done up in faux gangsta style with massive red leather seats you can lose yourself in. There's sushi on the menu and imported…

  • Stargorod


    Below the Winter Theatre, this large Czech-run brewery offers great views of the Black Sea alongside its own beers and grilled meats. The fried and…

  • Gavroche


    This friendly cafe on the main pedestrian drag is good for breakfasts, a cup of macchiato and catching up on your social media. (Or if it's after dinner,…

  • Clover Irish Bar

    Golden Ring

    This cosy place has all of the requirements: a large variety of whiskies behind the bar, dark wood-panelled walls and a profusion of orange-and-green…

  • Kalinin Bar

    Western European Russia

    Its walls plastered with Soviet-era newspapers and a Stalin bust behind the bar, this spot is a decent choice for a drink with sports on the TV, DJs and…

  • Ben Hall


    This popular pub hosts local rock bands and pop DJs at weekends, its owner being a well-known musician. Trams 15 and 27 from Operny Teatr or along pr…

  • Nu i Che Art Pub

    The Urals

    Part of the larger 'Monopoly' complex (it includes the restaurant and live venue Lunny Svet at ul Kirova 82), Art Pub is the pub-disco arm attracting a…

  • Clever

    Western Siberia

    This cleverly named Irish pub is a fine place for a pint of Guinness or a round of après-ski shooters. There's another branch in the Ays Club.

  • AnderSon

    Arbat & Khamovniki

    There are a few lunch items on the menu, but this is really a place to come to indulge in rich pastries and sweet drinks. Stuffed animals available to…

  • Nisha Night Club


    A standard-issue Russian dance club drawing an older, more prosperous crowd who can afford the drink prices. Decent DJs and occasional theme nights. There…

  • Chocolate Cafe

    Western European Russia

    Small modern cafe specialising in coffee (from R89), tea and light meals (soups, salads, pasta) with walls adorned in movie and music posters. There’s…

  • Belfast


    Relax in the comfortable green sofas over a beer in this long-standing Irish-themed pub that's popular with locals and expats alike. The upstairs area…

  • Fidel

    St Petersburg

    This long-running dive bar is a sort of musical and alcoholic tribute to the ruler who 'outlived six presidents of America and six leaders of the Soviet…

  • City Pub Crawl


    Four clubs. Four drinks. And one band of very merry Moscow travellers. That's what you get for your money on this weekly pub crawl. Dancing on the bar is…

  • XXXX Club


    Not quite as racy as the name would indicate, the XXXX is a decent place to cut loose and dance till the wee hours to a mix of international pop and…

  • Shokoladnitsa

    Eastern Siberia

    This Europeanly stylish, peaceful oasis of a cafe is good for people-watching from the big windows while sipping coffee or tea and making full use of the…

  • Capital Coffee House


    Apart from making good coffee and serving decent international food, these people promise to fix any cocktail according to your recipe. It has a slightly…

  • Route 66

    Northern European Russia

    American-style diner-bar with orange leather seats and a surprisingly good selection of English beers on top of its palatable own brew. Live bands on…

  • Lock Stock

    Northern European Russia

    Hugely popular English-style pub with authentic local-boozer decor and a hugely comprehensive list of ales, stouts and beers from the UK and elsewhere.

  • Pivnoi Dom

    Western European Russia

    A cooling drink on the terrace of this joint facing the kremlin is perfect on a sunny day. It also does wonderfully fattening, German-style snacks.

  • Belgrad

    St Petersburg

    One of the longer-running operations in a string of virtually interchangable dive bars on Dumskaya ul.

  • Biblio-Café

    Northern European Russia

    Smart and sunny hideaway brewing strong coffees (from R140) behind the Arkhangelsk library.

  • M-Club


    Beyond the bar in this entertainment complex inside the Hotel Meridian, there's billiards, bowling, and large dance floor with music themes changing…

  • Kofeynya Marco Polo


    This cosy coffee house has a touch of Central European character, great desserts, and wi-fi.

  • Tawny Bar

    St Petersburg

    This cozy two-floor Portuguese bar on Fontanka embankment has a very relaxed atmosphere and a large selection of port, cocktails and tapas. If it's warm,…

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